The Twisted Yoruba Mind

Accept it or not, the Nigerian Yoruba’s can be pretty condescending to other cultures. I am Yoruba, so you bet I know what I am talking about. They generally believe that their culture is the best. They are prejudiced towards other Nigerians; their own country men, let alone to “oyinbo”. They have strong, but very baseless opinions about everyone. They think Hausa’s are dirty. They think Igbos have no regard for elders. They think oyinbo’s are lazy and rude. As long as you are Edo, Bayelsa, Cross River region, they don’t care, all of you are Omo Nna.

They don’t see any other way a man could genuinely ask for a woman’s hand in marriage except of course he comes to do the ritual of dobaleing in short really begging for the wife from the parents. They say it is so that they can hold on to that action if for instance he starts to misbehave later. (Never mind that statistics show that among other Nigerian cultures, they have the highest divorce rates). They think they are the most educated in Nigeria (Perhaps they are). They think if Nigeria split up today they would benefit the most. I’m here wondering what they’ll eat though when the Hausa’s leave with their succulent red tomatoes and pepper, huge watermelons, yam tubers etc. What would become of the famous obe ata? They can’t be caught farming. Its too low ranking a job. LoL. They’ll rather be mechanics, so they can tell blatant lies to customers about how they were studying Engineering and had to drop out of school due to lack of funds or because an aunty from the village padlocked their progress in life. They talk so much they think it’s a sign of intelligence.

Yes, Yoruba’s are full of themselves like that. You can’t compete with them on anything. Well except of course you are British, in which case the two cultures can conveniently hold the title of BEST TALKER, if theres anything like that. The British, very much like the Yoruba’s talk wayyyyy too much. Little difference is that Yoruba’s talk whether you listen or not, and very loudly too. They talk and talk so much – you fall asleep, and they ask if you are sleeping. I’m like what the heck? Can you not see? The British on the other hand can tone it down a bit if they see the disgust on your face. They never shout either. Yoruba’s talk in the market, in the plane, in the elevator, on the bus, on an ATM queue, like they own the place. Both cultures are very sarcastic. Never in a nice way. Its that condescending nature recurring again.

You enter into Bodija market in Ibadan Nigeria, ask for the price of fish, and then beat the price down to what your mom says is a fair and realistic price, and then the old witchy looking lady says oya wa mu meaning ok take it. You attempt to pick the fish and she gives you the most disgusting head to toe look you have ever received… Like, my friend would you disappear from before me. Tell a British man you would see him at 8;15. You arrive at 8;22 because its raining and theres light traffic. He looks at you and says oh I see its 8;15 aye? You unknowingly smile and start to explain- Oh there was some traffic… he continues by saying hmnn tell me about it. You are there thinking he wants to hear the details of what happened, not knowing he just wants you to shut up and keep your explanation in your pocket.
What’s amazing is the far away distance between these two cultures. You wonder where the similarities came from, if there was any moment of co-habitation back in the day. We can’t possibly suggest that the colonial era was co-habitation enough for these similarities to become such strong characteristics. You can research and tell me about it. Ain’t going down that history lane.

Anyway I love being Yoruba, and this post has nothing to do with Yoruba bashing, this is from my stand point as a Yoruba girl. I think that general air or sense of false pride needs to be burst very quickly. It puts people on a pedestal that they are not even on or anywhere close to…
At the risk of diverting from the main crux of this post, I’ll just refer you to how even in the music industry, until recently, most singers thought they had to add a spice of Yoruba just so they could sell their music in Lagos. Thankfully that ideology has been thrashed now. To a very significant level. Think Nabania, in Flavour’s words.
Point I am trying to make is that the reason why such a thing as diversity exists is because we’ve been different, right from day one. Diversity doesn’t exist because someone has taken a ruler and divided what they can and what others cannot do.

Now, in the light of all this niceness, who wants to make me a solid bowl of afang soup? 🙂

4 Comments Add yours

  1. Femi Obidare says:

    I think the ethnocentrism exhibited by the Yorubas isn’t peculiar to them, neither can they be termed masters at it. The Ibos are no different; what with the “Ngbati ngbati” label they give to the Yorubas? You only need to attempt marrying an Ibo man’s daughter to experience such opposition that Rambo himself will doff his hat to. And just how many Ibo girls have stifled a promising relationship on account of tribal differences, for fear of their parents (I speak from experience *winks). What of our brothers up North? Kai! “Yamiri” is their special label for the Ibos. And in their eyes, who else is worthy to consistently hold the seat of political power other than their noble selfs? Bottomline is, ethnocentrism is pervasive of all cultures and it does takes some conscious effort to unlearn cultural bias and learn cultural accommodation. Sadly, not many are willing to.

    Good piece by the way.

  2. oriola kofoworola says:

    Tope. Where and when do u want d Afang soup? Cos i’m presently in Calabar and wld b leaving any time soon.

  3. Ed says:

    As much as we might not like it…this is true….you see this behavior on the streets outside Nigeria. It isn’t peculiar to us but that doesn’t make it any more acceptable. But as the writer said it makes us who we are: a beautiful uncouth set of peoples.

  4. Nedoux says:


    Very honest and funny.

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