Weekly insights into our crazy world.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015



Last Sunday's episode of  THE SIMPSONS sparked a lot of debate at the DUNER BLOG headquarters. See, the plot involved a Nigerian Princess who comes to Springfield to negotiate a deal with the nuclear power plant. We won't spoil the surprise ending, but the TV show raised the obvious question: Does Nigeria really have Royal Houses with Kings and Princess?

You bet! The region known today as NIGERIA has always been a bustling center of human activity. Thousands of years ago, it was the core region in the famed Bantu Migration. During this epoch, people began migrating south and eastward...eventually settling everywhere. With superior iron weaponry and persistence, Bantu-speaking people overran most of the sub-Saharan part of Africa. Today, the Niger-Congo language family boasts 400 million speakers.

How was the accomplished? With organized KINGDOMS...that's how! By the time outsiders arrived in Nigeria in the 1800's, they found these formidable city-states. While Islamic armies managed to convert the Sokoto and Kano Kingdoms into Caliphates, they still remained independent entities. Likewise, the British forced the Yoruba and Igbo Kings to sign treaties, but the native monarchs remained on the throne. After independence in 1960, the Nigerian Government granted semi-autonomous status to 82 monarchs. They are all still active today.

Look at it this way: On an international level, King Alaafin of Oyo isn't very powerful, but on a regional level, the "Obo" is the ultimate authority. British, Islamic and Nigerian armies have all come and gone, but the local monarchy remains constant. In the case of the Oyo, King Alaafin can trace his ancestry back five centuries. Across Nigeria, these royal houses have a palaces, complete with throne rooms. They still serve as courts, and oversee marriages, disputes and the policing of the population.

Yoruba Women are the BEST!
Back to Princess Kami, the character on the Simpsons. While at first, the people of Springfield laughed at her. However...by the end of the show...our beloved characters respect her royalty. Even Montgomery Burns bowed in her presence! Unfortunately, these are just cartoon characters. Hopefully...someday...Americans can begin to see Nigerians as something other than just e-mail scam artists. Nigeria is a fascinating and unique place draped in human history and culture!

No comments:

Post a Comment