The Love of a Nigerian Analysis

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Chinua Achebe once retorted in one of his books: “A man who calls his kinsmen to a feast does not do so to save them from starving. They all have food in their homes. When we gather together in the moonlit village grounds, it is not because of the moon. We came together because it is good for kinsmen to do so”

The above statement depicts the kindness, co-operativeness, hospitality and tolerance that Nigerians exhibit towards one another and humanity in general. In all, hospitality to fellow countrymen and non-countrymen is a hallmark of Africa and by extension Nigerian culture, traversing almost all cultural groups on the continent.

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These values are very much different in form from the ones held unto in many other continents of the world like North America and Europe. Before the advent of Western civilization in Africa, the sense of brotherhood and hospitality were some of the most important values of an indigenous African man. This is still mostly the case despite external influence and pressure of globalization (Uzukwe 1998:158). Africans easily welcome strangers into their midst, sometimes giving them lands to settle. Some cultures go as far as gifting such a stranger a new wife (if he's unmarried). All these are done to the visitors to showcase that the latter is welcomed and safe. According to (Onwubiko 1991:23): “Among the Igbo, the basis of hospitality is the general accepted principle that a guest must not harm his host and when he departs he should not develop a hunch back on the way home”. Unlike the West, no prior appointment or special invitation/occasion are needed for one to visit a neighbor or distant relative. Upon arrival, once there is food, the visitor is invited to eat. He is treated so very kindly, just as one would wish to be treated when visiting another's home. Africans have symbolic ways of expressing welcome in varying forms e.g presentation of kola nuts, cohise chalk, coconut, traditional gin etc. in various communities.

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