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Trail Africa: 5 Things You Can’t Stop Loving About Nigeria

Trail Africa: 5 Things You Can’t Stop Loving About Nigeria


Nigeria, the most populous black nation on earth, is commonly known as the Giant of Africa. Nigerians will tell you that in spite of their many problems, they can still hold their own in certain areas. One might expect to meet a challenge when attempting to pinpoint what to love about a country as large and complex as Nigeria. But that’s not the case. With such size and diversity, Nigeria boasts more than enough things that make it special. Here is a selection of amazing things that Nigerians (and non-Nigerians) can’t stop loving about this culturally rich and gifted African nation.

What is special about Nigeria? Check out 5 areas where the Giant of Africa shines…

#1. Home of Afrobeats

Photo: @937rhythmfm/Instagram

It’s hard to keep count of the hit songs and new artistes that fill the current musical landscape in Nigeria. Musical giants such as 2baba, Wizkid, Davido, Tiwa Savage, and Burna Boy are household names in Nigeria and many parts of the world. But so are the newer names: Tems, Fireboy DML, Joeboy, Rema, Ayra Starr, and lots more. The Nigerian music industry has no signs of hitting the breaks on thrilling the world with Afrobeats, a genre that fuses other genres such as hip-hop, dancehall, juju music, highlife, and R&B.

The rest of the world is gradually giving Afrobeats the recognition it deserves, with Burna Boy’s album Twice as Tall winning Best World Music Album at the 63rd Grammy Awards. Nigerian artistes are feted everywhere, performing at sold-out concerts all over the world.

#2. A globally-recognized movie industry

Photo: @naijaonnetflix/Instagram

Nollywood has become the darling of not only Nigerian moviegoers but also people across Africa and the world at large. Proudly made in Nigeria, Nollywood has extended its influence, becoming the world’s second-largest film industry, after India’s Bollywood. Nigerians will concede that the perfection of Nollywood is yet to come, but it is what Nigerians can call their own, a tool with which to tell their own stories better than any other industry in the world.

With a wide catalog of veterans, including Pete Edochie, Joke Silva, Patience Ozokwo, Richard Mofe Damijo, Genevieve Nnaji, and others, and an even larger catalog of new generation stars like Nancy Isime, Daniel Etim Effiong, Nse Ikpe-Etim, and Tobi Bakre, the industry is known for its back-to-back blockbusters. Streaming platforms such as Netflix and Amazon Prime now have a growing appetite for Nollywood movies and have consequently invested millions of dollars into it. Millions across the world enjoy these productions, and Nigerians are proud of that.

#3. A robust literary space

Photo: @opencountrymag/Instagram

Nigerian literature has become the go-to for many readers. Around the world, a huge interest in Nigerian and African literature followed the publication of Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart in 1958. The African Writers Series helped feed this huge interest in literary creativity. Perhaps as proof that literary talent abounds in Nigeria, the first-ever Nobel Prize in Literature by a black African was won by the Nigerian poet and playwright, Wole Soyinka in 1986. Another Nigerian, Ben Okri, won the 1991 Booker Prize for his novel The Famished Road, becoming the first Nigerian ever to win the prize. Of course, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, who published novels such as Purple Hibiscus and Half of a Yellow Sun to massive international acclaim, is also Nigerian.

Nigerian writers have continued to treat readers across the planet to more spellbinding fiction, profound poetry, thrilling plays, and engaging nonfiction. Other notable writers of Nigerian origin include Christopher Okigbo, Niyi Osundare, Bernadine Evaristo, Sefi Atta, Nnedi Okorafor, Tomi Adeyemi, Uwem Akpan, Teju Cole, Abubakar Adam Ibrahim, and Romeo Oriogun.

#4. The ever-intriguing Nigerian Pidgin English

Photo: @tomioyafemiphotography/Instagram

It is spoken on the streets. It’s proudly sampled in Nigerian hit songs. English is Nigeria’s official language, but Pidgin English is the language of the common person. Nigerians fashioned a means of expression that has served the country well over the ages since the Portuguese and the English began interacting with people of this part of West Africa. It evolved, adapting words from Portuguese, English, and the indigenous languages in Nigeria and West Africa.

“How you dey?” is a common greeting in Nigeria for “How are you?” “Wetin be your name?” is another, and translates to “What is your name?” When a Nigerian tells you, “I no sabi,” they are saying, “I don’t know.” When they’ve had a good laugh, they’ll say, “Laugh wan kill me die,” which is the equivalent of “Dead wid laugh” in Jamaican patois. Who wouldn’t love Nigerian pidgin? Little wonder why in 2017, the BBC World Service launched the BBC News Pidgin.

 #5. The confidence of the Nigerian people

Photo: @omastylebridetw/Instagram

It is often said that you can easily spot a Nigerian in a mixed lot. You can tell from their swagger and laughter. It’s like a stamp on their character. It’s like sunlight that cannot hide its brilliance. It’s like the saxophone pouring out its strident improvisations. It’s in almost every sentence a Nigerian makes. When a Nigerian says, “Naija no de carry last,it’s a valiant claim to triumph against all odds. Some say Nigerians are loud and defiant. Nigerians have a word for that – gra-gra.

The Nigerian lays claim to the joy of life and the pursuit of happiness sometimes in very dramatic ways. It’s evident in their catchy Afrobeats sounds. You see it in their cheeky dance moves. You see it in their unbelievably-hardworking nature. You spot it in their “aso ebi” outfits. Have you been to Nigerian weddings? Or parties? Or even funerals? Nigerians don’t like dull moments. They can put their gra-gra to good effect in the face of bullying or discrimination. They’ll protest, sometimes loudly, and with a good dose of drama. All a Nigerian is trying to say is: “I deserve as much as you do. Anything less than that – you and I will stick our legs in one pair of trousers!” They are confident, determined, and hardworking, with an easy-to-spot persona.

Featured image: @burnaboygram/Instagram 

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