Saturday, September 01, 2007

The dinner party

Foreigners visiting or living in Nigeria are often puzzled by a commonly experienced phenomenon: they never get invited to the houses of the Nigerians they meet or work with. No matter how many times the Nigerian colleague is invited to the expat's house, there is no reciprocal invitation. No one can ever quite work out why. "Is it because Nigerians are unfriendly?" "Is it because they are embarrassed about their homes?" "Is it because they worry about what to cook?" "Is it because they don't really like us?" Expats sit around and discuss this issue, scratch their heads and do not come to any solid conclusions..

At a dinner party last night, I think we came close to uncovering the reason why the return invite never comes. In my experience, it is simply not part of the culture here to associate eating food with a social gathering occasion in the form of a dinner party. Eating food is not seen as necessarily a communal event - it is often framed quite functionally in terms of satisfying need. Food is not contextualised as cuisine in Nigeria - with the inevitable association of preparation, display and hosting that that word imports. One sees this in the food itself, which is not presented with aesthetics in mind - in contrast say with Japanese food, which is almost aesthetically charged. Again, the idea of combining the act of eating food with conversation is alien to the culture - as I found out during an unfortunate incident in Ibadan (but that's another blog post). Associating a dinner party with sociality is therefore by and large outside the parameters of the culture. Westerners, ingrained in the idea of breaking bread and the Last Supper etched indelibly into their sub-conscious, cannot see beyond the projection of their own expectations onto other cultural patterns.

There is quite a lot of opportunity for comedy in this cultural difference - I write little theatre pieces in my head imagining different scenarios. Friends tell stories of the time they were finally invited to a Nigerian friend's house, and being sat on a chair and given food, while the hosts carry on with their business. They recount their silent confusion - "why are we not all sitting down together?" Then, the inevitable photo album is brought out. When Nigerians play host they want you to see their photos, it seems.

At other times, some expats have actually been invited to a dinner party, but there's tension, as if the hosts do not quite know what to do. I went to one such party (one of the few times we have been invited to dinner by Nigerians in the time we have spent here). The couple were slightly older - in their forties. It was like a scene from Abigail's Party transposed across time and space - tension threatening to break the silent surface, but not quite ever managing to. The conversation was stilted - even though we knew our hosts quite well, and another couple we were friends with were also there. A buffet had been set up - we had to walk to a table to serve ourselves. It was all rather awkward - as if we were celebrating a special occasion - without anyone knowing what the occasion was. You can imagine the sound of cutlery striking china..

Before anyone jumps on my head with abuse - I am not dissing the Nigerian way here - just noticing a form of cultural difference that goes unnoticed and yet is the cause of much comedic confusion..


Anonymous,  12:02 pm  


After reading this post I am wondering which Nigerian you are living in?? Nigerians not inviting you to their house for dinner?? Nigerians not making conversation??

Maybe the term "dinner party" is not quite apt in its traditional western style but in my experience as an Englishman living in Lagos is that most Nigerians can't wait to get you over to eat at their homes. They want to show of their local cusine and see if you can cope with pepper, shaki and amala!

"eating food is not seen as a communal event"??? Can you explain why almost anytime you meet someone eating they will tell you to "wa jeune....come and eat" In my experience people and food are two things that go totally hand in simply can't go to someones house without being given food, drinks.

As far as the aesthetics of the food goes I'm sure you're average Nigerian male will find the sight of his two balls of eon, stew and meat the most aesthetically pleasing food in the world!

Anonymous,  12:04 pm  


After reading this post I am wondering which Nigerian you are living in?? Nigerians not inviting you to their house for dinner?? Nigerians not making conversation??

Maybe the term "dinner party" is not quite apt in its traditional western style but in my experience as an Englishman living in Lagos is that most Nigerians can't wait to get you over to eat at their homes. They want to show of their local cusine and see if you can cope with pepper, shaki and amala!

"eating food is not seen as a communal event"??? Can you explain why almost anytime you meet someone eating they will tell you to "wa jeune....come and eat" In my experience people and food are two things that go totally hand in simply can't go to someones house without being given food, drinks.

As far as the aesthetics of the food goes I'm sure you're average Nigerian male will find the sight of his two balls of eon, stew and meat the most aesthetically pleasing food in the world!

Kola,  12:22 pm is a big deal, a social and communal event Jeremy

Its probably more the awkwardness of having some expat around who cannot understand or appreciate the finer points of the delicious food they've been given.... Or who cannot see beautiful food for what it is because its not cut into little pieces and arranged like a plea to an anorexic patient on a plate....our food is beautiful, it's communal, and i think you should start again...make new friends even...

Kayode 12:27 pm  

I don't think anonymous live in Nigeria. It is not a cultural norm, for Nigerians to invite their colleagues or friends to their homes for dinner. Except of course there is an occasion, which is not even based on an invite.

Nigerians just visit each other to eat, during Christmas or the Muslim Festivities and they do not seat on the dinning table.

You would realize also that visitors usually seat on a couch in the sitting room and eat whatever they are served whilst either watching tv or chit chatting with their host.

I first experienced the concept of social dinners overseas and I have got quiet accustomed to it.

I even adapted it and always invite friends over when I cook something special, which is once in a month or so.

Besides that i hang out with friends to checkout different food outlets be it Japanese or Korean or Western, and it has actually become a form of socializing.

Nigerians socialize by throwing house parties or hitting clubs, not by inviting friends over for dinner .

When you visit someone and you are served a meal, they are just entertaining you as a guest, supposedly, so forgive them if they choose to do other things rather than seat in a proper table setting and eat with you, as the guest.

Its not a norm anonymous :) They inviting you to eat as you mentioned, is just a courtesy, not that they actually want you to join or it is a custom :)

Kayode 12:42 pm  

Kola, I am guessing you are in Nigeria, hence you do not see where Jeremy is coming from.

Well let me help you. You see in some countries overseas, people actually invite you for dinner with their family. Your family for example actually get to meet the other family and you get to talk over the table etc. Like the movies, if you do watch America movies :)

Tell me its accustom to Nigerians? :) to have such settings, where you actually invite friends to meet up, or perhaps you wanna hook up a friend, you actually invite both over for a dinner. Something like that. Does that happen in Nigeria?

Anonymous,  1:03 pm  

I just say you just dont have the right friends ,homey.
I cook excellent meals. I go to/send to lagos for special ingredients. Get excited when i find really good garlic. ANd then the wine..i plan the menu the music the company..(we even have a term for friends who work well, one on one, but not at dinner parties we say they "dont translate well into polite society", and then we DONT invite them. i light candles, for incense and ambience- scour the land for good napkins, i buy flowers.i looove to give dinner parties.But guess what- you're right, I never invite my expat pals. We do coffee, we meet at different places, we share stories,-secrets even. We go to their dinners, but you're right, we dont reciprocate the invite. We might take them to a restaurant ( by the way J, i hope you notice that i've changed my tune. Began this piece intending to clobber you over the head, but then in the middle of it, it occured to me, by God, he's right)- but not to our dinner parties. Perhaps THEY dont translate into polite society? I think its because when i'm with them at one of their functions, i feel abit like a show dog..there's a kind of "look at my cool Nigerian friend" buzz , and while generally we bring our best selves t social gatherings (at least before the 3rd glass), after awhile, you do get tired of performing!

ijebuman 1:09 pm  

"I am guessing you are in Nigeria, hence you do not see where Jeremy is coming from"

please give us a break and get out of naijablog's ass.
i feel sick already...

Wordsbody 2:19 pm  


I have lived in England since donkey's years, as you know. And no English colleague of mine has ever invited me to dinner at their homes. Ever.

Food is not a 'communal' event? Of which Nigeria do you speak?


phumla,  2:25 pm  

Hi Jeremy, I have just discovered your blog. It is great. I am a South African in Nigeria. I have been here for 3years and in all those years, I cannot say I know what the inside of a Nigerian house looks like except through home movies. We have had several dinners where we have invited Nigerians and this has not been reciprocated. Of course, it has become a topic of conversation amongst expats (white and black). We can't explain why this is the case. I just think it is rude for people not to invite you back, especially people you consider good friends. They invite you to big parties, but not to their houses. I guess maybe the culture is just not there. Even back home, the culture of having people round for dinner among black people is only just beginning to happen, so perhaps we Africans have a different relationship to food and socialising. But it would be nice to be invited to your friends house to hang out, even if it is just for a drink. But when I hear my Nigerian colleagues talk about going to each other's house, I do feel a bit left out, especially when they all know the inside of my house. In any case, I have stopped inviting them round to ours.

Anonymous,  2:44 pm  

AM getting SUCH a sense of satisfaction knowing i have something the expats want and cant take by force! An Invite To My Abode... There IS a God!

Phumla,  3:39 pm  

MW, of course no English colleague of yours will invite you home if you haven't developed such a relationship with them. In my case, I have developed really strong bond with two of my Nigerian colleagues, where we share so many intimate secrets that I don't share with my other South African colleagues. I understand if a few of my fellow South Africans don't invite me back to their homes. Why should they? But for the Nigerians with whom we have shared so much, who have stayed with my family in Cape town and we have even shared rooms in hotels while traveling, I don't get them not inviting me to their house. Perhaps, I have a different sense of the relationship.

To Anon, I don't think Nigerians necessarily have something that expats want, but I think it is only human to ask yourself why people never invite you to their home when you do. One just ponder about these things thats all.

Chude! 3:46 pm  

LMAO @ anon 2:44!

dee,  4:03 pm  

Jeremy, some bits of this post may be true but I guess you're using the English concept of 'dinner' and 'socialising' to measure the 'Nigerian' culture. And that bit about food not being a communal event is so untrue. I actually think you should make new friends. Maybe my brother. He's one Nigerian who can so host people (in the typical manner you consider English), it's almost a weekly tradition.

Phumla, pleeeaseeeee... I'm sure your Nigerian friends have a much better attitude to you as a foreigner than black South Africans would if you were a foreigner. Rarely would you be invited to their houses. Good God, they would stop you in the loo to accuse you of taking their jobs (kwerekwere or what's it called?)! I'm sorry for the angst. Just a moment of going back in recent time...

mypenmypaper 4:07 pm  


All these Nigerians not inviting to their house, not talking...all that one na lie o. If you see where Nigerians gather and talk, you might want to run away. Worse, when you see a mixture of locals and foreigners having a good time.

"I don't think Nigerians necessarily have something that expats want, but I think it is only human to ask yourself why people never invite you to their home when you do. One just ponder about these things thats all."

Thanks, You said it right. I think this is the question expats and non-expats need to ask themselves. That you have invited me to your house for dinner or whateva doesn't mean I should reciprocate. Perhaps, I didn't enjoy the experience, thats why I'm holding back. Perhaps, I could have one reason or the other.

And besides, I won't invite to my house anyone that will come and be asking for spaghetti or macaroni etc. That one doesn't qualify as original food. I have many expat friends who are well adapted to the Nigerian locale, that 'house/dinner invitation is not an issue'. Even if you don't invite them, they'll invite themselves and ask: what is cooking. In the Nigerian culture, this is more rampant and appreciated than the official: may I invite you for dinner.

Honestly, Jeremy, why not try out such on one of your Nigerian friends. Dress up, catch them in their house on Saturday afternoon or dinnertime and ask: what is cooking. Im sure they will appreciate it.

Anonymous,  4:10 pm  

Jeremy, maybe you need new friends. Or maybe it's just your conceited attitude. They don't want you to come and later analyze how their food looks like whatever, or how they have to pray before eating and such like. Met you once and was actually shocked at how critical (negatively) you were of someone's work. You think I'll invite you into my 'humble abode' after that? Oga, abeg.

Anonymous,  4:36 pm  

Mypenmypaper, you said it right! Just SHOW UP. It's the preponderant 'Nigerian' culture.

Anonymous,  4:52 pm  

Kayode, you're ignorant. And you should use 'sit', not 'seat', in the context.

Chxta 5:16 pm  


Wants to comment...

Looks at the vitriol...

Decides against commenting.

Chude! 5:52 pm  

ure very wise my friend. Your ancestors are awake! lol

Gbemi's Piece 5:58 pm  

Is this post for real? My parents worked and still work with tons of expats and I feel that we were forever hosting dinners and even having people stay at our home to save them the expense of staying at hotels. This can't be for real. Nigerians are generally quite hospitable people. There must be a good reason why you and your friends haven't been invited over.

oguro,  7:11 pm  


you really have gone and done it!!! you really have pissed off our brothers and sisters ..ha ha this hilarious .. more controversial stuff please.

Wordsbody 7:23 pm  

To Phumla:

I would prefer if you didn't presume to know what kind of relationship I have or have not developed with my English work colleagues.

catwalq 11:19 pm  

I could have predicted the responses even before I read them.
Poor Jeremy.
I agree with you and then not entirely.

Anonymous,  11:51 pm  

Jeremy. God bless you for this post ojare! I disagree with most of it, yet I find myself agreeing with most of it at the same time.

1) My father had many white business partners when I was growing up, and he never invited them over to our house. The reason: A white man is not expected to understand or appreciate a steaming ball of amala, nor is he expected to have an idea what to do with it.

And as for ewedu, ila or the draw soups, he wouldn't have a clue where to begin.

However, Nigerians themselves invite themselves over all the time. In fact, I never got invited over to any of my friends' houses: simply show up, and the house maid kills a chicken and makes you amala and okro soup. Simple.

Another difference. Some Westerners like opening a bottle of wine, sitting around the table, eating by candle light. Knowing the electricity situation in Nigeria, I'm sure you'll understand that many Nigerians think this is sheer insanity, and would run screaming from such an idea.

Finally, the conversation in Nigeria is always fabulous. Many expats cannot understand half of what you're talking about: not the Super Eagles (favorite conversation with guys), or Nigerian politics or African politics, etc. In the US, the conversation is invariably "Great weather, eh?" "It's beautiful out today, eh?" or "The sun's really up today, right?"

Nigerians not inviting candle-loving expatriates over?!!!!! There are many reasons!

Anonymous,  11:56 pm  

OK, I have read the comments on this blog, and may I just say to the expats who are wondering why they have never been invited over:

Nigerians generally DROP BY. No INVITATION required. So, my expat pals, abeg, just show up one day in your friends' house or your colleagues house, and watch them scramble to make you a good pot of jollof rice, kill their best chicken and scramble to buy you "minerals" from the backdoor.

Nigerians don't ring one another saying: "Love, would you like to come over to my house, and I'll make you amala and gbegiri?"

Simply show up, and the maid, cook or daughters or wives will make you food. It is unthinkable (at least in Yorubaland) to have a guest over and not give them food. So, it is not an anti-expat thing: just show up. It's the Nigerian way. We just pop by people's homes!!

pamelastitch 12:06 am  

The only times that i know that people are "officially" invited over are for special occasions - birthday parties, religious holidays etc. If you want to eat at a Nigerian's house, just show up. Show some interest in the cuisine and the culture. Ensure that they know that you are interested in learning about the culture. Loose the conceited attitude. Compared to a lot of different groups of people that i have met - Nigerians are one of the most hospitable but if you decide to view Nigerians and their culture with an air of ridicule and condenscension - trust me, you will prolly never get invited over. Even if you stay a million years!!!


Bloody Civilian,  1:35 am  

I have noticed a few things about Nigerians, which I might as well share here.

One is that Nigerians don't eat. Have you ever seen a Nigerian eat? I haven't. They don't eat. Now Nigerians are fond of boasting, and if you meet one, he'll probably boast that he eats, and that he in fact loves food. He will go on to recite a litany of his favorite dishes. Lies. Watch out especially for mentions of pepper soup. A sure sign of dissembling.

The other thing is that they don't have homes. Why do you think the traffic is always so congested? Because no one has a home to go to. Nigerians don't live in houses, and they don't sleep on beds. God only knows how they fill in the hours after work, but the sure thing is that, as much as possible, they hang around the office, or at parties they haven't been invited to.

One final thing I've noticed: they reproduce asexually. Yes. Asexually. It's hard to believe, but it's the truth. I wouldn't have believed it if I hadn't seen it myself: a baby budding out of a man's leg. Just like that. It was freaky at first, until you think, well, some plants do it. In fact, put in context, it's a rather beautiful process, no unlike the formation of crystals under a microscope. Have you ever seen genital organs on a Nigerian? Didn't think so. Ever stop to wonder why that is? Well, now you know.

All in all, they are very interesting people with a fascinating culture. At this point, they are surely worthy of further study.

Anonymous,  3:15 am  

Please, excuse me. Let me laugh: hahahahahaahhaahahhahha!

"Or who cannot see beautiful food for what it is because its not cut into little pieces and arranged like a plea to an anorexic patient on a plate"

Kola, where did you get this quote. I must use it soon. Hehehehehehehehe!

Kayode 6:14 am  

Then go see the doctor. I am sure your insurance would cover the symptom of your disgust. :)

Why do we find it hard to either accept our cultural norms or even listen to "Nigeria from an expatriates perspective"?

I find it quiet annoying that people think its rational to battle or disagree with other peoples narrated experience.

Its either you are so insecure by your culture, or you think it (the culture) should present all that other cultures have to offer. A supposed flawless culture.

There is no perfect culture in this world that has it all pre-packaged to comfort every bodies expectations.

The differences are not a flaws, thats why its called a culture. People are different , and we should always celebrate our differences not try to argue that there aren't differences.

I am quiet certain that the intent of this post is not to bash the Nigerian culture in regards to the particular subject but to relate the excitement it propels around those that encounter the differences.

I taught Jeremy actually wanted answers as to why it is like it is? Except of course Jeremy has other intentions.

Don't disagree for disagreement sake, be positive and don't insult me because I think otherwise, in this case in support of the poster, because you are the same person that would preach freedom of speech and expression when it applies.

foxybrown,  8:54 am  

I have lived and worked here in the UK for 5 years. No caucasian has ever invited me to dinner/lunch/breakfast in their home.
I can assure you I look quite presentable...

In my head and around me 12:52 pm  

LOL! LOL! LOL!! I have read through the comments section and I am ROFLMAO.

I have to agree with anon that says that you should just show up at their houses and watch them scramble to cook jollof rice and buy "minerals".

Only once have I been to a house where we were expected for lunch. It was no-one's birthday or anniversary. No child was getting named or christened. We were not remembering anyone's dead father or mother. It was just lunch and conversation. In Lagos, Nigeria.

Anonymous,  1:15 pm  

Kayode, you really should go and learn English, o jare! Upon all your understanding of English dinner party, you fail to understand the language.

You wrote: "I taught Jeremy actually wanted answers.." It should be "THOUGHT".

Upon all your being abroad, English hard you to speak? Bros, go find job...

Kayode 1:37 pm  

Staying overseas does not mean I reside in an English speaking country nor does it indicate that English is my mother tongue. I make mistakes and thanks for pointing them out. I stand corrected. My bad.

I made a typo error, and its quiet amazing that you were actually looking for flaws in my English, rather than the weight of my argument that did or did not stand validity. :)

Perhaps you need to go read up on Fallacy and a get a little re-education on languages spoken outside Nigeria.

I hereby rest.

Anonymous,  1:42 pm  

I am sorry to all those people who say you should just show up. I totally disagree. You only show up in people's houses when you know them already. When I show up at people's houses, it is because there is a prior relationship. A dinner party in the Western sense, is a kind of prelude to this showing up.

My people lets stop deluding ourselves, how many of us actually just show up at the houses of minor acquintences? We don't do it. We show up people we are in some form of relationship with. In this regard, it is no different from Westerners.

Also, we Nigerians tend to delude ourselves about our hospitality and socialablity. If you attend any social gathering in Nigeria, unless you know people already or somebody casually introduce you, the chances of making new friends is remote. In fact the chances of anyone speaking to you is also small. I will never ever ever just go to a naija event if I cannot guarantee that I will know people there. But in London, I don't feel the same way. I can always go up t o people and introduce myself without fear that they will snob me. In Nigeria, the fear that someone will look me up and down before deciding whether to talk to me or not is a enough to make me not go up to people the way I do when I am outside Nigeria or Nigerian space.

Having lived in over 10 very different countries I have come to the conclusion that we are not as hospitable and friendly as we like to think, especially to the stranger. I think other societies i.e. Senegal, Ghana, Italians, Spanish, Swedes, Malians do a better job than we do.

Yemi R

Anonymous,  2:08 pm  

'English is not my mother tongue'

Pele, 'mother tongue' t'emi ni. This coming from a person who dissed Kola and tried to educate him on 'abroad'.

There's no point deciphering the logic in your comments if I can't understand the grammar. It's English, not Mathematics. The grammatical construction is the primary means of understanding the logic in any statement.

Anonymous,  4:22 pm  

Colonial mentality is alive o!

The man talk say English no be him moda tongue, still people dey attack the guy.

Frais,  4:56 pm  

lol, at all the commments too good! I do somewhat agree with jeremy, i live abroad, in an european country not london, and we are akways having dinner parties at home or at a resto. Now this concept does not translate to Nigeria, sure if you turn up at someones house, they ll offer you food, that my dear friends does not qualify as a dinner party. The dinner party concept is at best experienced only at special occasions and not as a social gathering.

Try it, conduct an experiment, i did invited a few friends for dinner, and see what happens!

trust me nigerians wont know what do with themselves, some will make conversation, some will just stare, some will show up with their own food.

it just not Nigerian! so jeremy if your after a nigerian dinner party forget it! if this is just abt seeing the inside of their home, then just SHOW UP, and yes, they will serve u food as well.


Dam.i,  2:11 am  

lol@ commnents naija people like to fiiiight

erm if you want to "just show up" please call about 20mins in advance so oga can tell iyawo and helper to clean the house for visitor fast fast,making the food in 20 mins is not a problem but impressing oyinbo is a must!

AbujaBabe 2:16 am  


I live in Abuja when in Naija and when i am in town i will invite you to my parents house for some fresh ponded yam! or anything you want haba! I can not have you having this impression of Nigerians at all!..:)

My family love nothing better than to entertain! And are always doing soo.. wether it be a dinner party or hosting different guests.

I am from Benue and food is not a big deal with us it is a Massive deal! we love nothing better than to cook and invite people to eat!.

My Father has alot of Brittish, Greek and Japanese freinds/ associates and anytime they are in town on business or what so ever my dad can not wait to get them round his house and show off the delights coming from his kitchen and also see if they can handle the pepper!

On a level i really do not know why you have not been invited round, maybe some are ashamed of their homes or maybe they think they dont know how to entertain you.... i but i really do have to say you are wrong by saying eating food is not seen as a communal event!

The thing i always yearn for about Nigeria is being with friends and family eating cooking and hanging out together! Food is an integral part of our community good food and shayo! waht else does one need in

You need to come to my house! Seriously when i am in Nigeria you are more than welcome!.


Anonymous,  3:13 am  

I am sick of expatriates who still have a colonialist view of affairs. We don't normally hold dinner parties in Nigeria.

Is there someone somewhere asking why Spanish people don't have owambes?

Or why there is no Ariya party in Japan?


Anonymous,  11:15 am  

Lovely anon. Have always wondered how to spell "Mschewwwwww"! I've never been satisfied with my "pscheeeeughw". Thanks, really. Such an excellent example of our Nigerianness. Looove it, love us. Can the expats do it, i wonder... perhaps they listen covetously while we do it? Mschewwwwwww

negresse adoree,  6:35 pm  

The fear that the likes of Jeremy could come round to dinner and then probably roundly diss my decor, my food and perhaps even my family members in his patronising commentaries would be enough for me to ban him forever from darkening my doorstep.

Anonymous,  7:43 pm  

I think an outsider reading some of the comments on naijablog will think that we Nigerians have a short fuse and we are over sensitive to the smallest critique. This is not even a critique, it is an observation by an outsider looking in on our culture and society. how many of us go to UK and US and do nothing but slag of the way they do things? I guess the difference here is that colonialism has rendered the relationship unequal so that anytime a white person says something about our society whether true or not, we jump to attack or defend as the case maybe.

Mr Jeremy, the kind of critical issues you raise on your blog is sometimes too much for our fragile ego. I beg carry yourself and your blog elsewhere.

Even though you are married to a Nigerian, does she feel the same as you?

Anonymous,  10:36 pm  

What has what his wife feels got to do with the man? Great women sometimes fall in love with nicompoos.

obinna izeogu 5:41 am  

Perhaps the issue has to do with ceremony: politeness and/or etiquette. The traditional breaking of kola nut is our form of ceremony. Your not expected to care for the aesthetics of kola nut: it's the taste and ritual that matters. In contrast, the japanese pay particular attention to the delicate subtleties of visual elegance. Our people do not care for such things. It is not our tradition. The lives of Japanese people is governed by proportion (the golden section, for example). Emptiness for them is full. Tell that to a Nigerian and they say "abeg commot, which kind ting be dat".
Correct me if I am wrong, the English do not care so much for its aesthetic presentation but see it almost in an aristocratic way: a polite society reminscent of the salon. You invited people over not only for 3'o clock tea; but to partake in a little music, reading, discussion and gossip. This is not part of the Nigerian experience. It is something that survives in most petit-bourgeois english homes in watered down fashion.

Anonymous,  10:18 am  

nicely put Obinna. This is the kind of clarity and intervention that I am sure naijablog wants.

pamelastitch 2:04 pm  

Dang, is this still on!!!

Waffarian 7:09 pm  

Jeremy, I understand what you mean. Yes it is true, you will not be invited "formally", infact, nobody will ever really invite you over for dinner. For example, nobody will say " How about dinner next sunday by 6"? Nobody is going to set a table with table cloth, candles, cutlery, wine, etc. It will not happen. So, yes, you are right, if that is what you mean by a "dinner invitation". On the other hand, if you are in a Nigerian's home, it is unheard of you to leave the place without eating or at the very least, drinking something. Food is very much a part of our culture and Nigerians love to entertain. Honestly, I am surprised that people are not falling over themselves to invite you to their homes.I have been "forced" to eat in many homes anytime I am in Nigeria, infact, I now have an "emergency plan" anytime I travel back, on how to escape my neighbours and "area" people.

Now Jeremy, I am formally inviting you over for dinner the next time I land in Nigeria. This has to be fixed. You must try banga soup and starch, plus ogogoro. Na because of dat yeye Abuja, abeg come our side, we go show you better. I know say we no get all those better things wey una get for Abuja, but worst comes to worst, we go chop okporokpo. Na invitation be this oh!

Jeremy 1:05 pm  

waffarian. I gladly accept your kind offer. Three things:

1. will i be safe?
2. Is there a version of banga soup which is vegan?
3. How much ogogoro are we drinking?

Waffarian 7:07 pm  

Ah, Jeremy, why you dey talk like this na? no worry at all, no shaking. Dem no fit touch you, na the original waffy you dey yarn with, na we get dat side.Na vegetarian banga soup u wan chop? shebi u dey chop periwinkle? we get am plenty for our side. If u no dey chop dat one, we go pack plenty "vegetable" full am, dat one, we fit solve. As for the ogogoro, i no fit garantee ya safety for dat matter, dat one na every man for im own oh!

Emz 12:48 am  

I usually agree with your posts, but here I have to politely disagree, although your opinion is your opinion, so I can respect that.

Cra Cra,  1:55 am  

I think Jeremy enjoys putting up these controversial topics, so that he can relax and watch the comments rolling in, while he sits at his computer and laugh at us all....

Anyway to the post: I agree with some things that Jeremy said: Nigerians don't do "formal" dinner parties like the English. In fact our culture has only just started to absorb the concept of formal invites. Back in the day when we still lived in villages, anyone can just drop by a neighbour's house and they are guaranteed a meal and a drink. So if an expat goes to Nigeria and is waiting for a formal dinner invite, they will wait for a very long time. That said, if they endevour to get to know their colleagues on a personal level, they are free to drop by their homes and I'm sure they will be fed and entertained.

There is no need to criticise another person's culture though, just because it is different from yours or it doesn't meet your expectations. That is just not "ON".

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