Sawubona ✋,

Sometime back, I gave my aunt some money, and she refused to take it.

What did I do? What's wrong with her? Is my cash dirty or old? Does she think it's fake? These are some of the questions that immediately crossed my mind.

I stared at her, confused. That's when it dawned on her how naive I was.

"Which hand are you using to give me money?" She barked.

I was holding the cash in my left hand. Shocked, I asked her why it was wrong.

That day, I learnt the hard way that giving money using the left hand is disrespectful in my community.

Lefthandedness has so many taboos in most African cultures. Using the left hand to eat, drink, give or receive money, or for handshakes is considered very rude.

In Islamic communities (45% of Africa's population), the left hand is viewed as "dirty". Muslims use water and their left hand to clean when visiting the toilet. So, eating or doing stuff with it is deemed cringy.

Some Christians also associate the left with the devil. In many scenarios in the Bible, the right is associated with good things, while the left with the bad. For example, in Matthew 25:31-46, Jesus will persecute those on the left and spare the righteous on his right-hand side. How is a layman supposed to interpret this?

Among the Yoruba people of Western Nigeria, when a child starts using the left hand, It is a sign that the mother was stressed during pregnancy.

Some people also relate it to evil acts. The kid is usually forced to use the right hand.

In Malawi, the left hand is perceived as less powerful and less skilled than the right one. Due to this, most left-handed people are forced to switch to be more successful in life. This is crazy as many successful people use the left and are experts in their fields.

When visiting Ghana, you better be careful, as using the left hand in almost anything you do is taboo. If you forget, you are expected to say "sorry for left".

In some communities in Uganda, the left hand was once considered satanic. A lefthanded person would be called a witch and most likely get their left hand burnt. Imagine going through pain for something out of your control.

Daily items such as scissors, study desks and game controllers should be made to suit this group of people.

A left-handed using regular scissors finds cutting just a piece of paper challenging.

Why? The blades are aligned to suit right-handed people.

Are you right-handed? Try cutting a piece of paper/cloth with your left hand and see for yourself.

The stigmatization and discrimination faced by the left-handed people in our society are distasteful. How can this happen in the 21st century?

Some parents even force their left-handed kids to switch to the right-hand to abide by the "societal rules". Being left-handed is not a disability!

They go through all this for something that's a natural phenomenon. It is beyond their control, and we must learn to accept them as they are.

I think it is a unique way of doing things and what matters most is that they get the work done.

Fun Fact  

Left-handed people use the right side of the brain most.

The brain is wired such that the right side controls the left side of the body and vice versa. I guess the saying only "left-handed people are in their right minds" is true.

Special Mentions

📌 13 Things Only Left-Handed People Understand. - Armchair Investigator   

📌 International Left-Handers Day- NDTV

Special thanks to Stephanie for writing today's issue.

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