When Lord Robert Baden-Powell (1857-1941) entered the city of Kumasi, the capital city of the Ashanti (in West Africa), then Colonel Baden-Powell saluted them with his right hand, but the Ashanti chiefs offered their left hands and said, “In our land only the bravest of the brave shake hands with the left hand, because to do so we must drop our shields and our protection.” The Ashantis knew of Baden-Powell’s bravery because they had fought against him and with him, and they were proud to offer the left hand of bravery. James S. Borthwick of http://www.Left-handersInternational.com says, left-handers need to keep this in mind.
It was a sign of both trust and respect. Before a warrior could shake with a left hand, he had to put down his shield. Among his people the left handshake was a secret sign, like an order of chivalry, between the Chief and the bravest and most distinguished generals.
So began the left handshake which is used by millions of Boy Scouts all over the world. (except the American Boy Scouts) West African indigenous tribes consider the shaking of the left hand to be a sign of honour among men of honour.
There is a difference between Boy Scouts in how they greet you. The Canadian Boy Scouts salute right-handed and use the left handshake and the American Boy Scouts salute left-handed and have a right handshake. They meet for International Scout meetings and you can imagine what that is like when greeting each other. It is unclear why the Americans don’t use Baden-Powell’s left handshake, that was the whole point to “the bravest of the brave shakes with the left hand”. (He would turn in his grave … most likely to the left)
The Yoruba tribe in Western Nigeria, call the left handshake, “Owor Ogun”. Ogun is their god of war, warriors and hunters. The Yoruba also have the distinction of having the highest birth rate of twins in the world. Twins are very important for the Yoruba.
The first of the twins to be born is traditionally named Taiyewo or Tayewo, (which means “the first to taste the world”). Kehinde, is the name of the last born twin. Kehinde is sometimes also referred to as Kehindegbegbon which is short for Omokehindegbegbon and means, “the child that came last gets the eldest.” Very left-handed indeed, says Borthwick.
When a tribal ritual in the middle of nowhere can influence the world you’d have to admit that if this isn’t proof that left-handers have a lot to teach the world, then nothing is, Mr. Borthwick concluded.