Love Profession And Flattery Among Nigerians
Written by Di MadWriter
I always say that if and when I travel to the US, I’d be sure to visit two places before returning— a black church and a black club. There’s this special energy in these places that you probably won’t find anywhere else.
When I watch how the choirs sing and how the pastors preach in black churches, as well as the music and dancing in the clubs, I just know these are things I’d love to experience at least once in my lifetime.
Seeing that the world is such a big and diverse universe, it’s safe to think that virtually everyone feels this way about some place. There’s definitely something you want to see or hear or feel, even if just once.
Nigerians are great in many different ways. But one of my favourite things about Nigerians is that we know how to woo our lovers. You may find this odd, but I am a words person, an artist; I find beauty in strange things.
I’ll just pick a few lines from Adekunle Gold, a Nigerian singer, to illustrate.
Baby mi o / sugar sugar / you de shack me o / I love you / let me love you, baby
Translation: My baby / sugar sugar / you mesmerize me / I love you / let me love you, baby
I hope say my head no go burst / because you de blow my mind o
Translation: I hope my head doesn’t burst open / because you blow my mind
Now, this is just a tip of the iceberg. It gets better. There’s a whole new beauty to it when we say these things in our local languages. Most times, when translated to English, the words lose their weight. Almost like they’re watered down.
Like when a Yoruba man calls his lover olówó orí mi, which means ‘owner of my head’.
Or a woman calls his man ayọ mi, which means ‘my joy’.
When an Igbo man calls his lover akwa-ùgò which means ‘egg of an eagle’.
These things do not carry the same weight when said in English as they do in the native languages.
Accent is also an important factor here. Being learned or fluent in English comes in handy during presentations and when discussing business with other corporate people. But when it comes to love, some of us prefer to fall back and speak the way our fathers did when they flattered our mothers in English.
So, instead of saying:
“Baby, I deal in electronics and textiles. In fact, I’ve got my hands on a lot of things. Investments in agriculture, …”
I’d rather say:
“Baby, I yam into importing and exporting. My containers land evely week flom China and Dubai. Let me take ‘kiaruf’ you. How much is Porsche? Fellali (Ferrari) nko? Baby, there is money. Come and eat money…” (The misspellings are to give you a clue on what the thick Igbo businessman accent sounds like.)
Another interesting fact is that culture passed some badass lines down to us. Like in books and stories, if a girl is beautiful, the Igbos describe her as ‘enenebe eje ọrụ’. This means, if you keep staring at this girl, you won’t go to work.
One of my personal favourites is ‘enewe ukwu egbuo ewu’— if we keep staring at this waist, we’ll kill goats. The translation doesn’t really do it justice, so I’ll paint a quick picture for you.
(whistles) What am I seeing? Is this a river goddess? Who gave birth to this girl? (calls out) Baby! Nwa (baby)! Bia bia bia (come come come). (to himself) My eyes have seen my ears.
Nwa, where are you from? Who gave birth to you? Don’t you know you shouldn’t be walking with your two legs under this hot sun? You’re too pretty for that. Sit down first.
(calls out) Alloy, ask Oko to kill that fat ram and prepare nkwobi; we’re celebrating today! Ah! God can create o. Eeehe.
Baby, do you have any problems? They are over. All your problems are over. Hehehe. I’m the one they call chief omeego (moneymaker). Do you like suya? Your own is just to eat and be fresh, eeh? (lady nods, smiling) Yes, don’t worry about anything. Inugo (you hear)?
If I weren’t Nigerian, this would be that one thing I’d love to witness up-front. I find it very artistic and beautiful.
Previous post: There Is Time For Everything