Life Lessons from an Owambe

If you’ve never been to Nigeria, you need to make it your top priority to attend an “Owambe” when you get here.

If you’re a Nigerian and you’ve never attended one, shame on you!. How’s that even possible? What are you waiting for?

What’s an Owambe?

So Swali Africa has the best definition: Owambe is a lavish and flamboyant party thrown by Nigerians which is usually characterized by a show of luxury, lavish spending, color, extravaganza, paparazzi, lots of food, music, dance, and networking.

Swali Africa and The Kush Chronicles dissect the gist of these parties.

Lesson 1: There’s no such thing as “Being Overdressed”

Many people love saving their clothes for special occasions. Yes, there are clothes fit for different occasions but have you seen people dressed at an Owambe?.  The Slay Mamas, Fashionistas, and show-offs. Everyone dressed their best not caring what people will say because they feel good in their outfits.

Now, I’m all about “Looking good is good business”. The whole idea of reserving your clothes just because you think it’s not fit for a certain occasion is funny. As long as you feel comfortable, by all means, dress away.  Just don’t go wearing a dinner dress to work on Monday and blame it on me.

Lesson 2: Give and it shall be given unto you

Good measures pressed down shaken together and running over will you get in return. This is my favorite part of Owambe; the Orishirishi (a variety of different things) food that’s made available. My goodness!, Yoruba people know how to keep you hungry. There’s always food in excess and the best part is it’s usually buffet service. Chop till you drop.

Honestly, I have absolutely no idea why people hoard not just their food but everything else that belongs to them (money, talent, skill, opportunity,  advice, etc). The reason they were given to you in the first place was so you can bless other people’s lives not just for yourself.

My mouth is always filled with praises and prayers for the cook of the delicious meals at an owambe.

Lesson 3: Just do it

Ah! Have you seen them dancing? Like they have no care in the world. There’s no wrong or right move, they just move to the beats as their body permits. Sometimes you can’t help but join them, other times you just sit and admire them.

Many times, we over think situations. Trying to figure out the difference between the right and wrong decisions. Most times, it stops us from taking action and you end up wishing you did something. Sometimes all you need is to start from where you are, you’ll figure it out as you go.

Lesson 4: Learn to understand and appreciate people’s differences

You know there’s a party going down somewhere on a Saturday. There could be 5 different owambes on one street. As much as it may get annoying to those at home because of the loud music and unending banter, it’s more annoying when you’re trying to sleep and there’s just noise everywhere.

Hey, it’s not always about you. It’s unfortunate that their celebration is disturbing you but that’s not their intention. Everyone’s not like you, don’t expect them to act in the same way you would.

Lesson 5: Don’t underestimate the value of Your Family and Your Network

These parties are the best places for family reunions, meeting new people, creating new networks. Those cousins you’ve never met or seen in a while,  that guy you just met that’s a good conversationalist or the man in agbada (a four-piece male attire found among the Yoruba of southwestern Nigeria and the Republic of Benin, West Africa.) that is a gold merchant and will be a nice addition to your network.

Man wasn’t created to exist alone. Relationships exist to connect us with each other for personal or professional purposes. Don’t play with them.

Lesson 6: Always find a reason to be thankful

It’s almost always like Yoruba people find an excuse to throw a party. They throw parties for what we consider the littlest things. You ask the question “Is it necessary? ” Well,  yes it is.

While you’re still trying to figure out if it’s worth celebrating or not, a Yoruba person has thrown a party for it. You may consider it “show off ” or the usual “noisy display” of Yoruba people. Ever considered it to be their way of being thankful for whatever happened?.

I choose to see it as their way of expressing gratitude.

Next time you’re at an owambe, remember to pick up a  lesson or two.

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