By Ekre Christian
The chairman of Idoma National Forum, Bar Amali Amali has explained why some men pound yam for their wives in Idoma community.
According to him, most families don’t want to allow the wife go through stress, especially expectant mothers, hence the reason men are allowed to do the pounding.
“There’s something we must understand about this. The only time a husband is allowed to pound the yam for his wife is when there’s no younger male child in the family. It is not that it is the duty of the father of the house only.
"The truth is that, we love and value our wives so much and we believe it is the duty of any available young man to do the pounding. In the absence of any young man, that is when the husband is allowed to do so,” he said while speaking at the IDOMA DAY in UNILAG, Lagos.
Yams tubers are produced in large quantities in Benue state and the major ethnic groups of Tiv, Idoma and Igede love to treat their guests to pounded yam served with tasty native soups peculiar to their domains.
When the women peel, slice into pieces boil the yams, they then look for men to do the pounding. Strong young men are called upon to take pestle and pound the cooked pieces of yams dropped into the mortar by the women.
Where young, unmarried men are not available the husbands themselves take up the duty. The husbands especially carry out the task with relish hoping that the servitude will endear them more to their wives.
The male folk of Idoma land so cherish their wives, that they consider them too fragile to do the hard, tedious act of pounding which often leaves the palms coarse. It is then expected that, by so doing, the women preserve their supple beautiful bodies for their husbands.
On his part, the traditional Head of Otukpo, Och’Otukpo, John Eimonye stated that the job of pounding yam is one of the masculine chores when considered from hygienic, social and cultural viewpoints.
“I tried to investigate this issue in my formative years and my father told me that there were several reasons why men pound yam. Firstly, pounding yam is a masculine chore.
“Secondly, you don’t talk or sing when pounding yam to prevent spit from entering the food and you know women will like to do all of these. There are so many other things involved which we take for granted.
“Also, men do the pounding of yam to prevent sweat from entering the food. A woman will not be able to do this quickly as the man would do to avoid contaminating the food”, the royal father added.