“How much is this shoe?”
“Aunty na first grade be this one o, check the leather.”
“Wetin you go talk before, oga abeg how much?”
“See, I fit bend am, and nothing go do am.”
“E be like original sha.”
“Aunty you too don see am, strong shoe and e no dey select cloth.”
“You get my size?”
“Aunty any size at all, e dey.”
“Wait o, oga how much be this shoe?”
“Ahhh which kain na, for wetin?”
“Aunty you ma see na original I give you.”
“Oga which tribe you be, you too like money.”
“Good afternoon sir.”
“Miss Lydia, please sit down.”
“Can you tell us about yourself.”
“My name is Lydia Jones, a first-class graduate of Economics. I have gained experience and expertise over the last ten years. Having worked with two renowned banks, I have gained knowledge of basic accounting and mid-level management. I am very passionate, and level headed, a good mix for the role.”
“Hmmm…Lydia Jones, you say.”
“Two English names, what tribe are you?”
“Mike, I don’t know what you were thinking. This is why I should never have let you do your Nigerian youth service in that state. How can you decide to marry one of them? That woman will frustrate you to an early grave. Don’t you know their women are very feisty?”
“Ah ahn, mummy! She is a Christian na.”
“Common shut up! Even goat looks like sheep.”
“Mum, I have dated this lady for two years, her attitude is like no other. She is very humble, and she is God-fearing, she is too extroverted to have been pretending all these years.”
“See this boy o, so she is a Christian, yet she is extroverted.”
“Is her being extroverted a sin now?”
“If you raise your voice at me again I will throw this slippers on you. Are you okay? Because of a woman, you are shouting on me. My husband! Please come, Mike wants to beat me because of a woman.”
“Mum I will never beat you, I can never disrespect you like that, you raised me well.”
“Then show it oo, show it! Look at Mary; she is a good girl from our side, she will take care of you and cook food that won’t poison you, she will…”
“Really mum, that girl that is very pretentious is the one you want me to marry?”
“So I am now a liar; since when have I ever lied to you?”
“Wow, please let’s just have this conversation another day.”
“Can you imagine, because of a woman, I can’t talk to my son again. Don’t marry from that state; I won’t come to your wedding.”
Can one’s tribe determine one’s attitude and way of life? These stories above where written in a Nigerian setting. How much of this is true and how much of this is valid. Is my tribe capable of defining who I am?
Let’s go back to our definition of culture; it is a way of life of a people. The particular pattern a person decides to live his life. Now this person may actively or passively choose to live his life in a specific way. One may actively make this decision when they give themselves certain values and principles by which they will live their lives. One may passively decide when the circumstances they find themselves in begin to dictate their life choices for them. So this means the different stages of life they go through would influence their value system.
So whether actively or passively, we create our culture by ourselves. You might not be aware the day you decided to be rude, it may have been your reaction to being bullied, but that was a decision that you made. Comments like “everyone in my family has a nasty temper”, are founded on certain events. The first people to display anger in that family did it in reaction to something external. Every other person decided to believe that “I am an angry man because my I am the son of my Father”. This belief births certain emotions within that person that may even cause irrational anger reactions. There are situations when one person in that family makes a conscious decision to break the jinx. What happened is this; that person decided to condition his mind to a belief system that doesn’t involve anger.
So if certain people from a tribe behave in a particular way, it is because they have accepted to believe that is how they have been wired to behave. The moment one person decides to break off and consciously creates a new belief system for himself, he automatically has a new culture-the one he created.
In Nigeria today, there is a lot of prejudice concerning different tribes. There are labels and tags given to the people from these tribes. Funny enough a state can have up to 10 different tribes, and those ten may have some level of opposition to the one another causing unnecessary divisions. Conversations are started with “what tribe are you?” “what state do you come from?” A person can be from your state but have a belief system that is very adverse to yours.
When you meet a person tomorrow, if you are eager to know how they will behave, ask them what their value system is, that is what makes up their culture.