Nigeria loves the Uncle

Uncle BenOnce you can get past the uncool pronunciation of the word ‘Uncle’ in Nigeria (ironically pronounced ‘Un-cool’) then you’d agree that they’re usually one of the most popular people around. I don’t just mean in the blood relative kinda way; any man who’s senior in age to another non-relative is referred to by the latter as an uncle (this works exactly the same with ‘aunty’ but I choose not to digress). Going by this ‘Nigerian standard’ I’m pretty sure I have in excess of a hundred uncles, 89 (and counting) of which are no blood relations of mine but earned the title for various reasons.

any man who’s senior in age to another non-relative is referred to by the latter as an uncle

brady bunchThere was this one Un-cool of mine who lived next door to my parents’ flat when I was about 5 years old. He was a twenty-something year old bachelor and an adventurous one at that. There was never a dull moment at his place. If my parent’s place was the set of The Brady Bunch then Un-cool Dele’s place was the set for Joey and Chandler’s apartment. I was looking forward to crashing his place; that’s exactly what I must have been doing in my naive state since I’d bump into his numerous girlfriends *cue the cheek-tugging* I saw babes, I saw booze and I saw FUN. Un-cool Dele used to let me take the wheel of his car while I sat in his lap not caring about the clutch, brake or gear – I just loved blaring that horn repeatedly for no good reason and seeing the bewildered faces of motorists we drove past *happy days* …and then he moved out 😦

Un-cool Bayo was a teenager who was the oldest of the kids that lived in a serene residential estate when I was about 9. I think he was 7 years older and he was so tall I had to tilt my head to a 45 degree angle just to look at the base of his chin. During Christmas he was the undisputed King of Fireworks. Yes, Un-cool Bayo was lighting them up like Bob Marley after a studio session. Just when all the kids had exhausted their fireworks he would set the ground ablaze like a mafia shoot-out and the night sky alight with colourful ‘screamers’. Our estate’s kids Christmas parties weren’t the same again once he went to Uni…TRAITOR!

sound of music von trapp childrenBut the Jollof-Uncle relationship wasn’t always a bed of roses. As a matter of fact it was a bed of uprightly-placed toothpicks for one particular Un-cool whom I wasn’t too fond of. He pissed me off a few times and I wanted to exact my revenge. I took a page from the Von trapp children (from Walt Disney’s The Sound of Music) and set a trapp trap of embedded tothpicks in his favorite chair cushion. I was at school when he got a rude awakening. I guess you could say I went biblical on his ass i.e. an eye for an eye, a prick for a Prick, if you gt my drift 😉 I was relieved when he eventually moved out *cue Von Trapp family singers* ‘So long! Farewell! To you I say Adieu!’

Uncles…you’ve just got to love ’em – the ones who gave you money, the ones who told the funniest stories, the ones who lived like playboys, the ones who were filthy rich, the ones who let you take the wheel, the ones who chased your biological aunties, the ones who were your mentors, the ones spoke proudly of you to their friends like you were their child, the ones who put in a good word for you to get that dream job, the ones who gave to the needy hanging around at the traffic lights…I salute y’all! *hand to temple*

Tell me about your ‘Un-cools’ 😀

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8 thoughts on “Nigeria loves the Uncle

  1. For females this un-cool business is another thing o!
    There was this un-cool who wanted me to be the mother of his babies(one boy and a girl) I was in JSS3 then
    How about the un-cool who wanted me to go wait for him in a place that had AC (err hotel) as waiting for him in his shop( the AC less place) was not good enough.

    I have not really had good experiences with most un-cools sha but when I met real and true uncles they were the best ever! Looked out for you and all
    It’s so weird that as I just got off the phone with one (real and true un-cool) and then saw this post!

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    • I was thinking the same thing kinda . . . a girl has roughly 3 types of un-cools:
      – brotherly un-cool
      – uncool un-cool
      – baaaaad un-cool
      some have sugar daddy un-cools too.

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      • If you’re in the banking industry you’ll see enough sugar daddy un-cools. It’s sad when after parents raise their children to show respect to older men by addressing them as Uncles, some of these un-cools take advantage of this false familiarity and impose themselves on you. Should children really address non-relative males as Uncle and assume they are more or less family relatives? Food for thought.

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    • Talk about experiences…the good, the bad and the damn right dodgy, lol. Crazy coincidence you were talking to one – they’re just everywhere! By the way, you must know by now that I am an un-cool too to many…the good specie of course 🙂

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  2. For the girl child and those of us that have female children, the fear of the un-cool is the beginning of wisdom. This “un-cool business” is one of the things I do not like about Yoruba culture which unfortunately has spread to other tribes in Nigeria. In my household, we do not use the term “uncle” except you are related and are really an uncle, we use “Mr” instead.

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