Tuesday, 27 December 2011 07:30

I Sabi Am: A Parable

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For those of you who like to Facebook, Twit, blog or Youtube what you did, what you said, read, smelled, saw, OR heard, let me tell you now – I didn’t tell you what I am about to not tell you.

There I was, a cockroach on the wall of Bandy Enterprises, when…

Every morning a cleaning crew from Shiny Cleaning Service will come in, dust the shelves, wipe the tables, and sweep the floors.  They left nothing uncleaned, not even the wall.  If not that I use camouflage, I would have been history.

And I wasn’t the only one watching them.  Madam Sabi was admiring their green uniforms, their efficiency, and their work patterns.  She watched them do their work all week then on Friday, she saw their boss come to collect money.  So she thought to herself, “ah, ah, what does it take to put people together and make them work for you?  They do the work, you collect the money.  Even sef, I sabi am.  The following Monday, she had a plan.

“Good morning, my good people,” she addressed the cleaners.

“Good Morning, Madam,” they responded.

“I have been watching you work like slaves and I must say, I think you deserve to be treated better?” she continued.

“Better?!” they questioned, “what do you mean?”

“Do you like your dirty green uniforms?” she inquired.

“No, Ma” one worker replied, “we told the boss it attracts dirt too much.”

“Of course,” Madam Sabi agreed, “How much does she pay you sef?”

“N15,000 per month, Ma,” they responded.

“Only N15,000?! For all the work you do?  What a shame,” she sympathized.  Then she continued, “why do you people have to follow one another around to clean?

“Oh, we must work in pairs to check on each other or we will get sacked,” they informed her.

“ My people, let me cut a long story short.  I have started my own cleaning company, “Madam Sabi’s Cleaners.  If you join me, you will get blue uniforms not dirty green ones, I will pay you N16,000 per month.  And forget about rules, you are all adults and you shouldn’t be ordered around like children,” she paused and added, “But first, don’t come to work tomorrow.”

And so, the next morning, the cleaning crew didn’t show up.  So Madam Sabi went to the office of the company manager.

“Mr. Bandy Enterprises, did I not tell you that that yeye Shiny Service madam was useless?  Her cleaners didn’t even show up and she didn’t even call, text, Facebook, or blog you.  Is that the way to run a business?  Sack her and get a better cleaner,” Madam Sabi advised.  Mr. Bandy Enterprises thought this was sound advice and so he hired Madam Sabi’s Cleaners.

The very next day, Madam Sabi’s Cleaners went into action.  When Mr. Bandy and his workers came to work, the whole place was spotless.  They had not only cleaned the place, they had cleaned it out!  Even me, if not for my camouflage, they would have taken me too.

When Mr. Bandy Enterprises arrived at his business and saw what had happened, he called the Popo who carried Madam Sabi to prison.

You see, what the workers hadn’t told Madam Sabi was that the Shiny Cleaners rule they hated most was #5 – Do not take anything from the office you clean.  But like I said, I don’t know what you heard but I didn’t tell you what you read o.

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Abi Adegboye Ph.D

Abi Adegboye began writing as a young girl growing in western Nigeria.  In a culture that reveres boys, she was born the second of three girls.  Certain she had to be her family's 'boy,' she climbed trees to harvest fruit, dressed chickens for dinner, caught mice, and whatever else required male-handling.  She also loved to read, write, and draw.  Her initial efforts yielded publications in local newspapers and newsletters.  However, she was advised to get a day job which turned out to be as a professor of political science.  This opened to her, a different avenue for publication in her areas of research including African women and development, women migrants, and the impact of public policy on women’s political economy.

On her 40th birthday, she rekindled her creative writing with the publication of Butterfly, a picture book and Reflections on Nigerian Christianity, a social commentary.  Since then, she’s co-authored Owanbe! Yoruba Celebrations of Life (2010), a cultural anthology and published Wanna B Prez? 10 Life Strategies from President Barack Obama’s Journey to the White House (2012), a YA motivational YA book, and Renike comes to America (2016), a novella.  

Abi writes multicultural fiction and nonfiction for children and young adults.  She shares her writing through speaking engagements, performances, storytelling, and classroom visits. 

For more information about Ms. Adegboye’s publications, or to connect with her, visit her

Website at www.abiadegboye.com

Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/abiadegboyeauthor

Blog at http://www.abiadegboye.com/blog

And Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/abiadegboye



Website: www.afrileads.com