Saturday, 23 January 2016 16:54

The Igbos and Kola Nut

Written by 

I watched them break the kola nuts

It wqs tooby-tooby here and wolly-wolly there

The Ndiigbo in a town the size of Uwani

With Igbo Kwenu here and Igbo Kwenu there

They swear Kedukwanu greetings at their fellows

And then turn Osadebe music deafeningly high

I ask the man in charge: “Are these men pregnant?”

He gives a laugh and says “Yes indeed

Just common Omenala  to eat kola nuts and goat meat

We drink Heinekens hard till crack of dawn

The stomach you see takes years to grow

And the dollar buying this drink comes from Naija”

Men’s fronts na calabash, women’s rears na hippopotamus

Where Kola Nut no de Ndiigbo no de  


I thought to myself as I swung to Osadebe highlife

Oh, my people with tooby-tooby and wolly-wolly

These people are happy and I see no wrong in that

They’ve been through Biafra and coping the best they can

Then, I asked bar tender Okechukwu:“Are these people crazy?

They’re happy-go-lucky while boko destroys like craze”

Okechukwu licks beer off his lips and says “Yes, indeed

What’s the point fighting Boko and die defending what?

It’s better to enjoy as we do with tough meat

Better to drink bitter Heinekens and let the belly grow

Content with the thought you aren’t having kwasiokor”

What would you rather have kwasiokor or kwarikwatar

Women swing prominent wolly-wolly in silence

There aren’t Ndiigbo without the Kola Nut 


I watched saucers of kola nuts being passed around

And trays of goat meat and cold Heinekens in rapid succession

Five or six hefty women stand behind hills of yellow osikapa

They ladle hard meat with osikapa to men in a queue

I ask Mama Ekwutosi: “Are these men okay?”

She smiles, swinging massive wolly-wolly from side to side

In response to Osadebe’s People’s Club of Nigeria

“Yes, they are okay,” she says,  prominent hips stand high  

“How then would a woman satisfy Chief Okwuosa

If her wolly-wolly isn’t a sack of fermented cassava?”

Mama Ekwutosi swings hippopotamus wrapped in purple lace

As she oscillates between sociability and sullen shyness  

There isn’t Kola Nut without Ndiigbo


Men with ‘Oke afo’ waddle around with ‘afo nnekwu’

I watched three men hover over a huge calabash of palm wine

Emeka dances half drunk and half dazed with both hands in air

He gesticulates obscenely as Osadebe sinks in and dulls the senses

Charlie floats effortlessly in air, belly protruding like calabash

He portrays the image of a cbief mulling over alusi

I ask Charlie: “Nwokem, Chief, you’re okay?”

“Yes, I’m okay; thank God, but I don’t like Buhari, do you?”

Third man Mike nauseated from Heinekens drunk last night

Clutches brandy with one hand and his head with the other

“What?” I ask, and Mike says: “You don’t know I’m sick?”

The only word to escape my tightening lips was “Fuck!”  

Men dance tooby-tooby, women swing wolly-wolly

I watch Ndiigbos break kola nuts in Uwani town

Where Kola Nut no de Ndiigbo no de



Biafra = Igbo homeland

Kola Nut = Bitter nut known as oji

Kedukwanu = How are you?

Igbo Kwenu – Igbos in agreement

Kwasiorkor or Kwashiokor = Famine; severe protein deficiency; malnutrition

Kwarikwata = Disease-carrying bug common in unhygienic Hausa environments

Osikapa = Rice

Oke afo = Big belly

Afo nnekwu = same as Oke Afo

Omenala = Igbo customs and traditions

Osadebe = popular Igbo musisian

Nwokem = My friend

Uwani = City in Enugu, Enugu State


Prepared by James C. Agazie, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Read 631 times
James Agazie Ed D

A retired college Professor  with educational backgrounds in law (JD) education (Ed.D, MA) counseling,( MS) and and mathematics.  Write on topics dealing with Nigerian families, marriages, education, and employment.