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One of the precursors to whom he referred was Dr. J.E.K. Aggrey, his former teacher, the famous African educator and pastor, whose major contribution to the young Africans of his day was perhaps his insistence on self-reliance and self-respect, his conviction that his racial brethren should raise their sights. This he exemplified in his life and in his lectures to African students here and in Africa and places where descendants of Africa live, especially, his celebrated “Parable of the Eagle”:

A certain man went through a forest seeking any bird of interest he might find. He caught a young eagle, brought it home and put it among his fowls and ducks and turkeys, and gave it chicken’s food to eat even though it was an eagle, the King of birds.

Five years later a naturalist came to see him and after passing through his garden, said: “That bird is an eagle, not a chicken”.

“Yes”, said its owner, “but I have trained it to be a chicken. It is no longer an eagle, it is a chicken even though it measures fifteen feet from tip to tip of its wings”

“No”, said the naturalist, “it is an eagle still, it has the heart of an eagle, and I will make it soar high up to the heaven”.

“No”, said the owner, “it is a chicken and it will never fly”.

They agreed to test it. The naturalist picked up the eagle, held it up, and said with great intensity: “Eagle, you are an eagle, you belong to the sky and not to this earth, stretch forth your wings and fly”.

The eagle turned this way and that way and then looking down, saw the chickens eating their food, and down it jumped.

The owner said, “I told you it was a chicken”.

“No”, said the naturalist, “it was an eagle. Give me another chance tomorrow and I will make it fly”.

So the next day he took it to the top of the house and said “ Eagle, you are an eagle, stretch forth your wings and fly”. But again the eagle seeing the chickens feeding, jumped down and fed with them.

The owner said “I told you it was a chicken”.

“No”, said the naturalist, “it is an eagle and I will make it fly tomorrow”.

The next morning, he rose early and took the eagle outside the city, away from the houses, to the foot of a high mountain. The sun was just rising, gliding the top of the mountain with gold and every creature was glistening in the glory of that beautiful morning.

He picked up the eagle and said to it. “Eagle you are an eagle, you belong to the sky and not to this earth, stretch forth your wings and fly !”

The eagle looked around and trembled as if new life were coming to it; but it did not fly. The naturalist then made it look straight at the sun. Suddenly, it stretched out its wings and with the screech of an eagle, mounted higher and higher and never returned.

It was an eagle, though it has been made to think that it was a chicken.

My people of Africa, we were created in the image of God but men have made us think that we are chicken and we still think we are, but we are not. We are eagles. Stretch forth your wings and fly. Do not be content with the food of the chicken.

This story was presented by Kofi Agyapong, President and was read by Carolyn Kennedy, Vice President of SADA. For more information contact us on the above numbers or emial:

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