Category Archives: Igbo boys

Igbo speakers, can you help?

I got this comment from Vivi Wei, a PhD student of Lingustics in Fudan University, Shanghai. She needs native Igbo speakers to help out in her research. See the original comment and link to her survey below.

Please tweet this, Facebook it and email it to your Igbo-speaking friends and family. Thank you.


Hey, This is Vivi Wei from China. I am doing a PhD program in linguistics. I really need some native Igbo speakers to help me to finish a survey on Igbo resultatives, which is a sentence expressing an action-result concept. It is an intuition test which basically only requires you to translate some English sentences into Igbo and check the acceptability of some Igbo sentences. It only takes 10-15 minutes for you to finish the survey online. Your participation would be very helpful for my PhD dissertation and it means a lot to me! Thank you very much.

The link to the survey is here:

A few words about my talk at this year’s SOAS Igbo Conference.

I often have to force myself to go to bed at night because it is at this time that my brain seems to want to be awake. This time, it is preoccupied with clarifications.

At the end of my talk titled ‘Different but Equal’ yesterday evening, a very nice professor from UNILAG approached me with her concerns. For one, she thought I was being general when I said that our culture is preoccupied with marriage, especially that of females and that women were often complicit in the mild coercion of other women in this vein.

“I never pushed any of my daughters to get married,” she said.

Later during a panel discussing Adichie’s ‘We Should All Be Feminists’ speech, she took the opportunity to reiterate her point, adding that she was ‘shocked at some of the things which people are saying here today’.

I take her point. I did say during my talk that it was a certain kind  of Igbo person, woman or man that I was referring to. Being in that lecture hall, at that conference, many of us already declared our interest in equality of the sexes. I was among my people. Perhaps, that did not come across clearly.

My own mother is very much like this professor. I was in my twenties when I married, armed with two degrees and a post-graduate diploma and my mother when I told her I was engaged said “But why do you need to marry now? What about your PhD?” or words to that effect.

However, this is my mother. This is the kind of person she is; a woman who believes that all women should aim to achieve their full potential before marriage – if they desire to get married, of course. And she is this way because her parents were the same. But this is not everyone’s reality, not in this generation or in our mothers’. This has certainly not been my reality with our Nigerian society in general and to assume that everyone is like my mother or like the aforementioned professor, would be very narrow-minded indeed.

Just because the truth makes us uncomfortable, does not make it any less true.

Secondly, I mentioned I had not – prior to my recent Nigeria trip – been home in six years. A friend, in jest, told me I should be ashamed of myself. Ha ha. I had my reasons, including a cancelled trip in 2012 due to ‘extenuating circumstances’ (ha ha again. There’s a show on telly right now). I would not have thought more of it if the lovely, worried, professor did not pick that up during her comment at panel as proof that I was out of touch with the times. “You need to ask us what we at home are doing,” she said.

Again, agreed. I hate to think that I implied that there was nothing being done by women at home with regards to feminism, womanism or whatever other ‘ism’ out there is being used to describe the movement for equality among the sexes.

But this is not the 1970s or 80s. Being away from home these days, no longer entails waiting weeks or months for a letter or sitting by the phone at an appointed time for a 3-minute phone call down a crackly line. no. Now, when we are not at home, we take home with us; a look on social media will reveal to you the general thought processes of people regarding anything you want to know. Social media is good like that. It cuts across all groups; gender, age and literacy. My entire family – bar one sister and I – still live and work in Nigeria. One is never more than a Whatsapp message away from what is happening. Anyone still in doubt of the power and effectiveness of social media in and amongst Nigerians, need only consider its impact on this year’s presidential elections.

Then of course, there are friends and family who travel to and from Nigeria frequently, of which my husband is one. This year alone, he’s been to Nigeria three times. It is pretty difficult to be as far removed as once was, from simply not being ‘on the ground’ in Nigeria. Not unless one is plagued by technophobia or is some sort of Luddite.

The number one topic at any gathering of the diaspora here? Nigeria.

Finally, I would hate if my talk came across as an attack on men and manhood. That was not my intention. I will reiterate: there are certain men who would give their right arm to uphold the status quo. You know them. They are the ‘This is not the done thing’ men or the ‘It is against our culture’ men or the men who try to use religion to justify their perceived superiority. Then, there are the ignorant ones, who have never really thought about it. They’ve never had to put themselves in the shoes of women because it just has not occurred to them at all. Out of this group you might eventually get resistance, understanding and change or just plain indifference.

Then there are the men, who are already getting it right. Those men were all at Igbo Conference yesterday and will be today. To those men, I say ‘Deeme’, you are on the right track.

I hope I have resolved any misunderstandings. Now my good people, you have the knife and the yam; you may cut it into whatever size is easy for you to digest.



Photo highlights of our Nigeria trip.

Hello everyone,

We were in Nigeria for three weeks and two days and boy do I have a lot to tell you. It was Tot’s first time and my first time in six years, so it was really special. I enjoyed seeing the world through Tot’s eyes, his delight and lizards and geckos the dusty, dusty roads in Awka (Willie was working!). The rest of Anambra’s roads were like glass so I am inclined to believe the slogan.

Here are some highlights from our trip.  Will update the blog with more stories and photos soon. As soon as I get my speech for SOAS’ Igbo Conference out of the way. (Oy. I am trembling. I have 40 minutes to speak. FORTY MINUTES!! Why me, lord?)

Pretending to have a beard with his travel pillow. En route to Awka from Abuja by car. A whopping 7-hour drive!
Playing shadows at his grandma’s house in Lagos. It was not even noon yet.


This used to be the site for Polo Park when I was growing up. It’s one big mall right now which broke my heart but the park had been run-down for years with no support so…Oh look. They kept one ride.
Campaign posters were EVE-RY-WHERE in Awka (and Nigeria in general)! A visual riot. And so much littering. I took the photo because of the guy in the barrister garb opening his eyes. His slogan was ‘Shine your eyes’. LOL!
One of my mother’s ‘customers’ in Nnewi. Her hair is made from strands of rubber thread. Highly flammable but also very exquisite. I saw so many differently styled isi-owu’s made with the same shiny rubber thread. Much more intricate styling to when I lived there.
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She was kind enough to turn and let me take a back view. I took both with her permission.


Macjew table water! MACJEW! HAHAHAHOHOHOHEHEHE! *Dead* My people will not kill me. Taken en route to Awka from Abuja. #Theheightofsophistication #Scottish #Jewish




The Hero Series: ‘Why do Igbo men want you to get pregnant first before marriage’?

Number of times searched – 1

Related queries (last 7 days):

Does Igbo men have feelings love? – 2 times

What does it mean when your Igbo boyfriend wants to take you to Nigeria to meet his family? – 1 time

What is it about Igbo men? – 1 time

I’m sorry, but as my grandmother would say, this question di nkilinka. Why should a man not want his future wife to be pregnant before marriage biko nu?

Bia, let me tell you sontin. You are mistaken in comparing  your Igbo man, that prince among men, to any others. He is unlike no man you’ve ever known (yes, I see it too). An Igbo man is special as are his circumstances and should be treated as such.

First of all, congratulations! An Igbo man who wants to give you the gift of his seed has only the highest esteem for you. Do you think it is every woman who is entrusted with the task of bearing strong Igbo sons? This is the way that an Igbo men shows you he loves you. All those flowers-and-perfume things, he did them just for you, to get your friends to envy you and agree for him (that way, if you are foolish enough to have another boyfriend they will tell him). He demands the bouquet of  your womb in return because and if you truly love and trust him, you will comply.

Igbo men does have feelings love. They just have a different way of showing them.  I’m not sure why anyone would doubt enough to type this query twice.

An Igbo man is ever pragmatic. Is he to continue in love nwantinti that childlessness shall abound?

God forbid.

What is he supposed to do with a woman who cannot bear children? The main purpose of Igbo relationships is to bear progeny. Not to do loving. Your man has just told you the most romantic thing any Igbo man can ever tell a woman. And you still want to know why? I don’t understand some women.

Okay, imagine your favourite proposal scenario: he is down on one knee, there are candles everywhere. And a white horse. A few white horses. A huge ring. You’re in a tight, flattering dress because you knew this was coming because you always look your best anyway. Ditto all your friends and family and their cameras and phones and tablets. And maybe one of those wedding bloggers to report on the whole thing. Your man says the magic words: “Will you marry me?”

Do you tell him, “Wait. Let me consult Nwunye to ask her why you want to marry me”? Because that is exactly what you’re doing right now. Don’t be ridiculous. Hopefully, you haven’t ruined it all. Go over to wherever he is, kneel down and beg him. Then lie back and pray that his seed finds you worthy enough to take root. Remember, I said lie down. If you stand up at this point, any child you have nine months later will be crazy. Ask anybody.

And before you buy your ticket for Nigeria with your Igbo boyfriend, I suggest you learn how to cook and enjoy onugbu soup. 

‘What is it about Igbo men’? Girl, I can’t answer that one. I still have no clue. Let me know when you figure it out.

(Found in draft folder. First written March 13, 2013)

Ogoli nuo di n’abo, omara nke ka nma – A story in Igbo (with English translation)


So I have been practising my storytelling in Igbo for a long while now – mostly it’s Tot who is the beneficiary of my stories as you all know. However I thought I should share my latest efforts with you guys ; not only do you get to read one, but listen to it as well. I’ve uploaded a sound cloud file below.  It took about 6 takes and it’s still not perfect; I had to pause to read what I had written.

(I can speak Igbo well and write it too but reading it takes a bit of effort. Reading it aloud can be tough.)

I have also included the English language version which has taken A LOT LESS TIME to write (about 10 minutes). The Igbo version took me 25 minutes for just 700+ words. I have a long way to go in  the speed of my written Igbo, obviously!

Stories below.




Anwu chara Adaku n’isi mere ka osuso wee dabaa ya n’ime anya. Oji azu aka ya fichaa ya n’ihi na obere akwa ojiri ehicha okpofu ruru inyi. Adaku tara ikikere eze wee chee uche ojoo n’ebe enyi ya nwoke bu Ikem no.

“Moto onweghi, credit nwa, onaghi enye mmadu. Anwu anoro ebea n’acho ichagbu m. Kedu ka osiri buru so so mu na ndi ibe m n’ile bu onye na ata odiri afufu a?” Ka o na ekwu otua, were aka ya n’ehicha anya, owere lote na otere ihe n’anya. O nenere azu aka ya were fu na umu ihe n’ile ojiri cho nma n’ututu ahu etesasigo ya n’azu aka.

“Oo! Kedu kwanu odiri ahuhu di ihe a?” O wee maa nnukwu osu. O kwusiri n’akuku uzo, meghe akpa ya, choo ugegbe aka ya, ka o wee hu ma iru ya ajoro njo. Ihe ohuru mere ka o maa osu, were mkpisi aka ya detu ire ya, wee jiri aso mmiri dozibe ihe okara mebiri emebi.

Ka okwu ebe ahu, otu ugbo ala n’egbuke egbuke jiri oso gafee, gbasa ya apiti. Adaku nere anya n’efe ya odere ede n’ututu ahu wee tie mkpu akwa. Odi ya ka o ya gbuo onwe ya.


Adaku wenyiri anya ya  hu na ugbo ala gbara ya doti nachighataru azu.

“Baby gini? Maka gini ka ijii gbaa m mmiri doti?”

“Nne, ndo amaghi m uma. Odi m osiso. Ahuro m gi.”

Adaku wee si ya “Kedu ka iga esi hu mu? Ebe ina agba ka onwere ihe n’achu gi? Oburu na ikuturu m, okwa otua ka nke m kara isi wee ga?”

“Chukwu aju, nne oma m,” nwoke no n’ime moto were yipu ugegbe anya ojiri dochie anya. “Nne iwe gi adina oku. Omalicha nwata nwanyi di ka gi ekwesiro idi na ewe iwe otu a, inugo?”

Adaku mara osu ozo. “Zuzupuo m n’iru biko! Onye bu nne gi nwanu? Kitaa aga m eje letu na lecture m. Onye kwanu nwee ike inachigha azu kitaa?”

“Ngwa bata na moto, ka m buga gi n’ulo akwukwo gi. Ngwa bata bata, inugo? Mgbe emesiri anyi ejee na butiki gote akwa ozo. Nke obula ichoro, aga m egotere gi ya. Ka m nye gi number mu.”

Mgbe okwuru okwu otua, Adaku gee nti obere.

“Enweghi m credit nji akpo gi. Biko ejego m late.”

“Bia ka m buje gi. Bata na moto. Anwu a ekwesiro icha udi mmadu gi.”

Adaku runetara isi, nee anya n’ime moto ahu. “Kedu aha gi?”

“Aha m bu Chuma. Mana ndi enyi m n’akpo m Chu ma obu Chu-Boy.”

“Aha m bu Adaku. Anaghi m aba na moto onye m n’amaghi. Mana idi ka ezigbo mmadu.”

Chu-Boy riputara na moto, gazite n’ebe Adaku no. Adaku lere ya anya, hu na otoro ogologo nke ukwu, gbaa akpu obi. Ohuru n’ahu ya di ocha ka okpa waawa. Ngwere bido gbaghariba ya n’ime afo n’ihi na Chu-Boy di ya uto n’obi.

“Nne, imaka o. Odikwa m ka m buru gi laa be m kitaa kitaa, ka nje gosi mama m nwunye m.”

Adaku siri ya. “Koghelibe ebe ahu.” Mana isi bia buo ya n’ihe Chu-Boy kwuru.

Chu-Boy meghere Adaku uzo owere ba n’ime moto. Ahu ya n’ile bia dabaa n’ime oche moto ka o no n’afo nne ya, ma obu n’ime nri ji. Adaku bia kudaa, negheria anya n’ime ugbo ala ahu. Ihe n’ile di n’ime ya n’egbuke, di ohuru. Tupu Chu-Boy wee bata n’ime moto, Adaku atugharigo ya n’uche ya na o ga arapu enyi ya nwoke nke ozo sorozie Chu-Boy.

“Biko tinye seat belt nne, n’uzo ajoka. Aga m akpochi uzo n’obu otu nsiri anya moto, maka ndi ori imeghe uzo na go-slow.”

Adaku mere otu osiri kwu. Chu-Boy gbanyere ikuku n’ime moto ahu, owe kuo Adaku, aru ya wee juo oyi. Adaku chiri ochi, gosi eze ya n’ile n’ihi na obi n’eme ya polina polina.

“So, Adaku. Kedu ihe I na agu na mahadum?”

Mana gbe Adaku meghere onu iza ya, ochoputa na ohiara aru tupu orote ihe o na agu.

“Em…ana m agu Sociology.”

Chu-Boy nesiri ya anya ike. “Ya bu na irozobeghi ihe ina agu?” Owee gbanyesie ikuku oyi n’eku na moto ya ike. O juru Adaku ozo, “Kedu aha gi?”

“Aha…aha…aha m…bu…bu…” Ura bucharu Adaku.

Chu-Boy chiri obere ochi, gbanite egwu n’akpo na moto wee gbasie ike, gafee iru mahadum, ebe ndi enyi nwanyi Adaku n’eche ya ka obia ulo akwukwo.


ENGLISH (very literal translation).


The sun shone down on Adaku with such heat that a bead of sweat dropped into her eye. She rubbed the sweat away with the back of her hand as her handkerchief was already dirty. She gnashed her teeth and thought bad thoughts about her boyfriend, Ikem.

“He doesn’t have a car. He doesn’t give me phone credit. Why am I the only one out of all my friends to keep suffering like this?” As she thought these thoughts and rubbed at her eyes, she remembered too late that she had make-up on her eyes. She looked at the back of her hand and discovered it was smudged.

“Oh! What the hell kind of suffering is this?” And she hissed.

Adaku stopped by the side of the road and pulled out her mirror from her bag to examine the damage. What she saw caused her to hiss again. She dabbed a bit of spittle on her finger to wipe away and correct the lines she had draw around her eyes.

As she stood there, a flashy car sped past, splashing mud on her. She looked at her dress, the dress she had so painstakingly ironed that morning was speckled with mud. She wanted to die.

“Hey baby,” said a voice.

Adaku looked up. The car had reversed, stopping in front of her.

“What do you mean, ‘Baby’? Why did you splash mud on me?”

“Sorry, girl. I didn’t mean to. I was in a hurry and didn’t see you.”

“How would you have seen me, speeding like something was chasing you? If you had hit me down, is this now how I would have died this morning?”

“God forbid, beautiful creature!” The man took of his sunglasses and looked her up and down. “A lovely thing like you should not be prone to such anger. ”

Adaku hissed again. “Get away from me. Beautiful creature my arse! Now I’m going to be late for my lectures. Who has the time to go home and change?”

“Come in, I’ll take you to school okay? I can get your dress replaced later. We could go to a boutique…I’ll buy you whatever you want. Here’s my number.”

Adaku simmered down a bit at the thought of shopping. “Whatever, man. I don’t have the credit to call you. Excuse me, I’m very late.” And she pretended to walk away.

“Com’on, I’ll take you. The sun is too hot for a beautiful girl such as you.”

Adaku leaned on the passenger-side window. “What’s your name?” she asked.

“My name is Chuma. But my friends call me Chu or Chu-Boy. ”

“My name is Adaku and I wouldn’t normally take rides with strangers. But you seem normal enough.”

Chu-Boy climbed out of the car and came around to open the door for Adaku. She saw that he was very tall and broad-chested, his skin was fair like okpa waawa. Adaku felt as if lizards were scrambling about inside her belly. Chu-Boy’s looks pleased her greatly.

“Girl, you are fine,” said Chu-Boy smiling. “I feel like taking you to my house right now and introducing you to my mother as my wife.”

“Quit talking rubbish,” said Adaku, but she was secretly pleased at what he said.

Chu-Boy opened the door for her and she sank into the car seat. It cradled her as surely as if she was in her mother’s womb. It was like sinking into fufu. Adaku sighed and looked around. Everything in the car was brand new and smelled of wealth. Before Chu-Boy had even come round to the driver’s side, Adaku had decided she was going to leave Ikem and make a play for Chu-Boy instead.

“Fasten your seatbelt. I’m gonna lock the door okay? It’s how I drive. You know, I’d hate to stop and get robbed in a traffic jam.”

Adaku did as he asked. Chu-Boy switched on the air-conditioner and it cooled Adaku’s spirits. She gave a little laugh because she was suddenly very giddy with possibility.

“So, Adaku, what it it you’re studying?” asked Chu-Boy pulling away. But when Adaku tried to reply, she found out that she had difficulty remembering her course.

“Erm…erm…I’m studying Sociology….yes”

There was silence. Chu-Boy looked her in the face, hard. “I see you still remember what it is you’re studying eh?” He popped a tablet in his mouth and turned up the air conditioner.

“What did you say your name was?” He asked her again.

“My name…my name…my name is….” Adaku fell asleep.

Chu-Boy looked at her. He laughed and sped up, past the gates of the university campus where Adaku’s friends were waiting for her.