African proverb

Leadership is like an egg held in fingers: ‘The Paradox of Power’

The strong hand with fingers firmly, yet gently holding an egg, is at the root of an African proverb that speaks to how chiefs or those in authority are reminded on how to treat human life.

This fine gift was given to me via a relative from a Haitian visitor to the United States. He provided our family with the wood carving and offered his native interpretation:

  • Notice the perch of the egg — it is angled upward to receive the universe’s blessings.
  • It is held firmly in the fingers to symbolize the steadiness and yet its hold being just right. That is to ensure that the egg will not shatter at the hand of its holder.
  • The egg, therefore, requires attention. It cannot be ignored.

In 2006, U.S. President Barack Obama visited his ancestral home in Kenya and acquired the symbol of the man’s hand holding the egg, or the “Paradox of Power” wooden desk statue. It is believed that this monkey wood carved feature symbolized President’s Obama’s presidency.

What does my Haitian sculpture symbolize in your life?

A future blog will highlight the importance of the “OneEgg” program that feeds schoolchildren in Musanze, Rwanda. 

 

 

 

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