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HUMOUR COLUMN: The One About The Yorubas

Of all the ethnic tribes in Nigeria, of which I know only four: Igbo, Yoruba, Hausa and Delta Igbo (my Social Studies teacher back then assured me there are many more tribes in Nigeria; I still think he lied), my favorite tribe is the Yoruba. You have to love the attitude of the Yorubas toward life. After spending a lot of time in Lagos, which is known for having quite a large population of Yoruba people and also known for having a lagoon, which instills fear in the hearts of the Igbo people, I have come to love the average Yoruba man.

For example, you are walking down the streets of Lagos, and this Yoruba man steps on this Igbo man. (You can tell he is Igbo from the way he keeps saying the magic word ‘container’ into his mobile phone) So, the Igbo man turns around, with a scowl on his face, ready to brawl, and you hear the Yoruba man say clearly “Lagoon”, which promptly causes the Igbo man to turn and walk away.

The entire philosophy of the Yoruba man’s life is summed up in one proverb, which when loosely translated to English means: “When a big problem gets you down, smaller problems will mount you.” This means that for the Yoruba people, it’s all about getting mounted. Once a daughter in a Yoruba household turns fifteen, the parents start looking around for a suitable young male, whom they will then force to marry her. You could be walking on the street one minute in a Yoruba community, and the next minute, you are married to a Yoruba girl, who will then proceed to feed you a soup made entirely out of palm oil.

And speaking about that, the Yoruba people, apart from inventing the tricky art of fighting with only your vocal cords, also invented the palm oil rule, which states that ‘It cannot technically be called a meal if there isn’t at least a liter of palm oil in it.’ If a meal is prepared by a Yoruba woman, then you could get palm oil stains on your body, just by looking at it. Yet the stews are quite tasty too; all you need are a pair of overalls and you are good to go.

Now the streets of a proper Yoruba community are one of the safest places you could ever move about in. Igbo people fight first and quarrel later. All the Yoruba people do is quarrel with their shirts off; one minute, two young men are placidly walking down the street, trying to avoid parents who are hunting for suitors to impregnate and then marry their daughters, and the next minute, their clothes are off and they are practicing the ancient fighting form perfected by their kin, which involves a long range of screams and shouts, with wide open mouths. Occasionally, bottles are broken, but only for their sound, the winner is decided by decibels.

I have run out of space here this week, so what do you say, next week? Oh, and I’ve got a take-home assignment for you. Visit a Yoruba restaurant today.

Written by Chika Jones, tweets at @chika_jones


About shakespeareanwalter

Walt Shakes(@Walt_Shakes) is an award-winning Nigerian writer, poet and veteran blogger. He is a lover of the written word. the faint whiff of nature, the flashing vista of movies, the warmth of companionship and the happy sound of laughter.

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17 comments

  1. Oooochim.
    **runs out of the bathroom…towel drops to the floor… continues running naked…falls on the floor and sarts rolling **

    Hahahahahhahahahahahahahahahahahahahahah

  2. You really need to run cos some people are coming after you real bad.

    • And Chika Jones, wherever you’re running to, just know that those people Edmund is talking about that’ll come for you won’t settle with just throwing you inside a lagoon. Shebi you be Igbo man living in Lagos. Ok. Lol.

  3. hehehe, I am a Yoruba lady and I love to cook but sincerely I also don’t get the too much palm oil my kinswomen put in their soup. still chatised someone recently sef. Inbetween, at least you acknowledged that their soups are tasty so matter don finish jare! lolzzzz

  4. Chika Jones…I’m coming for you!

  5. Lol… Cracked me up real good. Especially the food part. Don’t let mummy see this oh, Chika. And seeing as how u have some Yoruba blood, I’m sure you’ve practiced that ancient art your kinsmen have. In fact, I can still remember a few tips you gave us in your first two articles or so. Keep up the good work.

  6. *smashes bottle*

    Mr Shiiiiika,u haff die Walahi

  7. See ehn, shebi you are abusing mummy’s relatives abi? And these days we don’t only shout, we jump also. The palm oil beans remains the best ever sha.

  8. “…you could get palm oil stains on your body, just by looking at it” Chai…ayaf died! The fighting with vocal chords though, I agree with that more and more everyday I wake up in Lagos. They keep yelling, “Ah…Woh…Ah…”
    Ahn ahn…even if na stammer!

  9. The interesting thing is that if they mistakenly get into a brawl with an Eastern or south south brother who prefers to use his fists, they set their own fists for a fight and start shifting back stylishly saying “mi o sa fun e, mo kun sun se yin ni” meaning “i am not running from you, i am just shifting back”.

  10. LWKMD!!! Chika Jones is officially CRAZY.. I don die here o.

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