Ọnye ije ka ọnye isi awọ, ama ihe

(A traveler is more knowledgeable than a white haired elder)

In the  Igbo society  white hair  is equated to wisdom and reverence, because they society believed  that they more you age, the more wiser you become and most times old comes with living a worthy and upright life devoid of abominations to the earth and betrayals to fellow kinsmen. This attract a lot of respect for white haired elders in the community; as the Igbo society believed they are versed with so much knowledge of both the ancient and modern times.

This high  regard for white haired elders also corroborated  in another proverb ‘Ọnye  sọpuru Ọkenye, Ọkenye eruo ya aka’.- meaning ‘’He who respect the elders will definitely become an elder.’’ That’s the climax of respect and important position these white haired elders are accorded in the Igbo society.

But most of the times; the wisdom and experiences they have are basically due to the events and circumstances that have taken place during their times. Meaning, they cannot all be knowledgeable to things and events which they have not experienced or had about. So in this case a young lad who is widely travelled with so many experiences on the course of his journey to foreign lands will be more knowledgeable in the things he had experienced and witnessed more than a white haired elder who only reside in the hinterland without modern gadgets to keep tracks of daily happenings around the world.

This proverb can be applied when it comes to an issue where competence, world experience, and exposures are highly needed. This means that age plays no role in such situation rather result and competence. When a younger chap is promoted or recommended for more brain sapping task at the expense of the older personnel who might have stayed in the organization for a period of up to ten years.  Against ivy graduate who might probably be the age of their sons at home. When such elderly personnel show  their grievances.

An  Igbo person within the establishment will kindly calm down their nerves with this proverb ‘onye ije ka onye isi wao ihe ama’ to calm down their nerves and let them realize that what is paramount is just to get the result at the stipulated timeline and not to bickering over age issues.

Moral lesson: it does not matter how many years one lived rather it is the impact he made while still alive. Moreover, in this present era of modern technology and ICT driven economy; what counts most now is competence and results not age.


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