Many years ago, a powerful king invited the most popular musician in his village to come to serenade him with some good music at his palace.

On receiving the king’s call, the musician immediately started to prepare for the visit to the palace.

Playing for the king had been one of the highlights of his career. No one had played more times for the king than this man.

But this new invitation was even more special – it promised to be the biggest invitation he had ever received from the king – he was focussed on making the best of it.

Since he was a one-man band, planning was easy.

He immediately started to prepare for the trip.

This musician was particularly renowned for his musical skills with the Shekere (a traditional musical instrument made from vine gourds and beads – common amongst the Yorubas).

Legends had it that when this musician played his Shekere, the gods are aroused.

The fame of his mastery of the Shekere went ahead of him like lightning ahead thunder.

Before cockcrow on D-Day, he carefully packed his Shekere in his specially designed dried leather skin bag and set out for the journey to the palace.

However, to get to the palace, he needed to cross a stream.

He had almost crossed to the other side of the stream when he slipped and his feet bored into the muddy shores of the retreating waterline.

He slipped and landed on the floor, flat on his face.

As he managed to get up and wipe his muddled face, he noticed his Shekere was broken.

Seeing his broken Shekere, the man broke down in tears.

Since he was alone at that time, no one saw his tears and no one was there to comfort him.

Why would my shekere break on one of the most important days of my life?

Knowing going back was not an option, in his broken state, the musician packed his broken Shekere and continued his journey to the palace.

Once he reached the palace, he was brought before the king to perform.

He brought out his broken shekere and began to play.

Since the Shekere was broken, he needed more energy to produce the sound he wanted. He poured all his energy into that performance.


People at the palace heard the sound of the broken shekere but thought it was a new musical instrument.

As he sang and beat the Shekere, the palace erupted in dance.

The king soon stood up to join the party. In his happiness, the king performed the legendary dance of the warriors.

Everyone thoroughly enjoyed themselves, save the man whose Shekere was broken.

His heart bleed as he performed – everyone was happy, no one saw his tears. No one noticed that his Shekere was broken.

“That was the best music ever”, the king said to him. “Thank you, Your Majesty”, he replied.

Broken people still give themselves to others.

Some people go out of their way to serve others, to make others happy, but they do this, not because they have everything together, but because they realize their broken shekere sometimes plays good music.

Yes, yes, broken Shekeres sometimes produce the best music.

When you are hurting is one of the best times to serve others. That’s one of the best times you get to draw from your inner strength to attempt things you would have ordinarily walked away from.

There are tears people cry when they are alone that no one sees.

With the way some people work, serve others, despite their secret tears, people may hardly notice anything is wrong.

But still, they serve.

You may be broken, but in your brokenness, you can serve you can still help others.

Or do you think it is a coincidence that some of the biggest food banks were founded by people who once went to bed hungry?

Some of the biggest marriage counsellors were people who once struggled or failed in their marriages.

Some of the best writers were people who once struggled to write a correct sentence.

Some Shekeres might be broken, but still, they go out of their way to help broken people heal.

Don’t let what is not working keep you from being nice to others.

Yes, broken Shekeres still produce the best music

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