Contemplations of a Streetsmart Bookworm

Owanmbe Part 1 : Why Agbada is needed

Written by Ope Ashiru

So today was my cousin’s engagement party and boy! did it rock! like a typical Ijebu party in Lagos. Apart from all the party paparazzi and efizi, it was nice seeing friends and family, bear hugging and air kissing, joking and gisting, wining and dining. Overall I had a nice time, I was having a really nice time until something happened.

At some point, me, my brother and my dad were talking at the entrance, my dad was about to leave the party and my brother was just arriving. I noticed a photographer taking our  pictures  their pictures, he had taken almost enough to make an album (no jokes) but he hadn’t taken a shot of me despite the fact that it was three of us together, not even a single shot! What will I upload on Instagram? I began to wonder what was wrong, didn’t he see the familial resemblance? same hair, same nose, same voice. I even had the aso-ebi cap on (my brother didn’t have his on) so why was this guy ignoring me? Why this discrimination? Then I noticed, my dad and brother were wearing ‘agbada’ and I wasn’t. My brother was looking like a Boss and my dad was looking like an Old Gee.






Anyway I went back inside to rock on, *I cannot come and go and let one silly photographer come and  spoil my ginger*. After a while my brother decided to leave so I followed him to his car, then it happened again! From the drummers at the entrance to the car park touts everybody was ignoring me but hailing my brother…Eleniya! Baba won! Alaye mi na you get mouth, Chairman mi na you run town, Oga you too much………Won kere si number…….

When I got back to the party I started thinking, what’s all this hype about agbada self?, kini big deal? If you know please drop a hint in the comment section. As I was leaving the party the photographer started running after me, at first I ignored him ‘******’, but then he caught up with me.

‘ Bros I get picture for you O wey that big bros?’

‘hehehe! that big bros don comot tehteh!  Him and my papa!  Ntoyin!!! You dey take dem picture you no take my picture abi? Oya follow dem go collect your money nau’

‘Bros no be so O oya epp me buy’

He shows me all the pictures not once did I feature!

At this point I was still so pissed off with the guy I was going to ignore him but then I decided to rub it in and teach him a lesson. You don’t treat people like that.

‘oya how much?’

‘Because you no dey there one thousand naira for all this picture, abeg epp me’

I had two notes in my pocket, one thousand naira and one hundred naira.

‘ For what??? Oya take one hundred naira’

Mehn! The guy was weak! He did the math in his head, ate the humble pie and accepted the offer. Sweet revenge! ( I usually patronise those photographers whenever they take my shots BTW)


In the Yoruba culture when a young man comes of age and decides to take a bride, after fulfilling all righteousness and cultural requirements, at the engagement ceremony he shows up with his friends to literarily ‘carry his wife’ in a rite called  ‘igbeyawo’ . He and his friends prostrate for the  bride’s parents and humbly asks for her hand in marriage. It is the opportunity for the bride’s father to carry out his final assessment of the groom – an assessment of his company of friends, before he gives daughter’s hand in marriage.



The above pictures are from my friend Dreeee1’s traditional engagement. After passing all the tests Dreeee1 finally showed up with his friends (in sharp agbadas) to ask for the princess’s hand in marriage. When the bride’s father did his final assessment, what do you think his answer was?


By The Way:

Dreeee1 happens to be the owner and Creative Director of TDA-Couture (IG: @tdacouture ) an outfit that makes fantastic agbada outfits, the best in lagos.

I have two weddings this Saturday and I have made up my mind. I AM WEARING AGBADA!

Also I got a picture to upload on Instagram, thank God for camera phones!





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