We recently posted about Nigeria, noting the uniquely delicious cuisine, and the beautiful and quite plentiful attractions that make it a destination worth visiting. The other thing though is that over the years Nigeria has begun to leave it’s a mark on Africa and the world, with great intent. Through culture, books, music, and entertainment Nigerian references have become household names. So what makes this land so different and interesting? I went to the horse’s mouth and asked my beautiful Nigerian friend Chisom Osuagwu, from the Igbo tribe in Emo State to expound more on the history and impact of Nigerian culture today.
Chisom Osuagwu explains
Nigeria is an assortment of cultures with several different tribes. Just like Kenya, each tribe has its own unique culture. The main tribes are the Igbos, Yorubas, and Hausas. One thing that is shared though, amongst all Nigerians, is the love of music and dance, it is a part of who we are and the love of it is passed down from one generation to the next in the form of stories.
Back in the day bed time stories would be told sitting by the fire with a song playing in the background that explains the story. The children would listen in anticipation to the beautiful melody and it would also be a trigger to let them retain the wisdom passed through stories.
With such a love of dance it’s not a surprise that Nigerians are party people. One tribe that is especially known as the wild child is the Yoruba tribe. If you were to visit Nigeria and wanted a good time, the Yoruba would be the perfect hosts. They love a good beat to dance to and even have the famous talking drums. They are lively, and their music will get you up and jumping around and about.
The nightlife in Nigeria is extremely popular. There are several clubs for both the older and the younger generation. Although on more than a few occasions you will find everyone partying together, regardless of age. Lagos, especially, is known as the mother city for social entertainment and night life. There is a varied assortment of clubs. I would suggest going with a Nigerian local because they know the ins and the outs of the city and will get you into all the best spots.
For a cultural opportunity you might make it in time for the Osun Oshogbo festival or the Lagos eyo festival. The festivals are incredible experiences where Nigerians in and out of Nigeria come together to celebrate their cultures. To see more traditional events and artifacts that you cannot find anywhere else try visiting any abhors palace in Western Nigeria.
For a day of fun before the night raves begin the beaches in Lagos are definitely worth a visit. I personally also love the Obudu cattle ranch, as it is breathtakingly beautiful. For those with a heart for photography this is the perfect place to get a few shots. Also those who just want a day away with your loved one it is the perfect romantic spot.
Somehow Nigerians have made an impact in the literature world over the years. One major influential author is Chinua Achebe who wrote the book, “Things Fall Apart.” He is a mastermind of literature. In Nigerian Primary and high school his books are used as textbooks and as a child I would personally read his books for fun, his writing was never boring. He won the Nobel Peace Prize and was well deserving of it.
One beautiful soul who has written words that captivate your thoughts and take you to another era is Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Three of her most amazing books which have been internationally acclaimed are:
She started a movement with her writing. Her earlier works were devoid of her ideologies but recently she has shown more and more in her writing and campaigns her feminist mindset. She has a brilliant mind and is actually a protégé of Chinua Achebe.
Wole Soyinka is another great mind who captivates through words in the form of poetry. He writes cultural pieces in English. A piece of his I greatly recommend is one named “Abiku.”
When it comes to music in Nigeria it is almost like everybody has talent. It seems to be something Nigerian ancestors past down to the generations after them. For this reason you can’t claim that Nigerian music focuses on only one style, type, or genre. The music industry is vast and diverse! Some Nigerian musicians who are doing brilliant things are Onyeka, Asa *who is famous for her song, “Jailer”* Phyno, Olamide, and the late Fila who played the saxophone and toured internationally. There are other famous older musicians like Fela Kuti and Seal.
P Square seem to have set the stage internationally for Nigerian artists. They were among the first to travel so vastly, entertaining the world with their music. Dbanj, Don Jazzy, Tiwa Savage, and the Mavins Record were other trend setters. These original artists set the standard for those who were to follow in the industry. The truth is that with Nigerian music no matter where you are from or what you like, you will find yourself drawn to at least a few local Nigerian hits once in a while.
Finally Chisom shared one beautiful statement that is true not only about Nigerian music but about Nigerian literature and culture as well was,
“One thing to note about Nigerian music is that it has soul. There is a passion that comes from Nigerian music that is its driving force. Regardless of whether the song is in English or in the local dialect, you can hear it. I believe that is what has caused it to spread so rapidly across Africa and the globe.”
Shingai is an upcoming writer with a passion for words and expression through writing. She lived in Zimbabwe as a child and has traveled to over ten countries. She craves adventure and hopes to be an inspirational writer. She is currently pursuing a degree in English Literature with a minor in Psychology at Daystar University.