Respect for the conservative Yoruba man is key to everything in life, but I think we need a rethink just as we need to rethink many of the Yoruba proverbs; they are now obsolete and no longer relevant.
Many prevailing circumstances have defied their postulations; and I make bold to say that they weren’t after all sacrosanct; they were postulated by men given their levels of exposure; hence circumstantial.
This is however not to underscore their importance from the historical view and not to mention the fact that some may be universal lasting truths. 

However, one cherished tradition is in focus today: prostrating.
I am a bit intrigued that it has an English word #chuckles. A Yoruba male is expected to lie face down to greet an elderly (like the pushup position). While some insists that the belly touches the ground, many variants of the greeting style have emerged given civilization. I want to consider this style of greetings in the light of its health implication.

On the floor, unkempt, untidy, and I am expected to use my hands first so as to be able to stretch my whole body to greet someone; that looks like a burden to me, but what about the many germs that can be contracted? I may not win this argument, due to the staunch views of conservatives who insist it is tradition and should be adhered to, but I want to bring to your notice that we risk a health hazard when we insist on the original variant of prostrating as a sign of respect.

One prominent adage in Yoruba posits, idobale kin se iwa loosely translating to prostrating is not a sign of good character. The fact that I give you a full stretch of myself to greet you does not infer respect at all; I may even resent you but out of respect for tradition, prostrate for you.
I think there is a need to rethink the circumstances that warrant prostrating, while not losing the old tradition of the Yoruba Kingdom too.

Femi loves writing and can be reached at: @Desirevioni and


Ololade is a passionate writer, Loyal Nigerian and Creative Director of Loladeville .

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  1. I do agree that somethings need to change, yet though the ground maybe untidy (which is should not be in a Nigerian household/building) this instills a certain respect. Unfortunately a lot of children in the US have zero respect, reasons why things are mess up today.