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Relationships in the family
Personal success among the Yoruba ultimately was defined in terms of family relations. According to Babatunde (1992, 236-237):
The successful "good person" was cautious, respectful of elders and committed to and persistent in hard work. He (she) took family responsibilities seriously and understood that obligations to the family included those to the extended family. In behavior to and treatment of relations he operationalized the communitarian principle of shared responsibility inherent in the concept of classificatory kinship terms. He was loyal to relations, accountable to the members of the kinship group, and a good father and husband. Whatever his success in life, it was subordinated to how he proved himself as the head of his extended family. If he behaved in an exclusivist manner, treating his children with preference to those other children of the extended family, he was regarded as mean and unworthy of the responsibilities of success. If he accumulated resources and used them on himself and his immediate compound family, he forfeited having the group of dependents which was part of the consequences of success.
Yoruba tradition stresses that the parents are the first teachers of their children, instructing them in the `'proper" way of relating to their elders and people of the same age group. In the communal atmosphere of the traditional family, parents of children who behave in approved ways are approved as successful; parents whose children misbehave are shamed and advised to "put their houses in order" (Babatunde 1992, 8-10).
According to traditional Yoruba religion, it is the duty of parents to bring up their children ethically and in the knowledge of God (Adewale 1986). From the beginning, children are made to believe in reward and punishment and, accordingly, in the potency of blessings and the efficacy of curses of spiritual beings. Parents' role in training is reflected in the verse from the Ifa divinatory corpus (Odu):
If one trains one's children,
They will be perfectly wise
As Ire, the daughter of Olokun.
If one does not train one's children,
They will be stupid and foolish
Like Ibawini, the son of Otu Ife.
Parents also must love their children and not be harsh to them or selfish. The lesson of generosity towards children is expressed in the following verses:
An elder who consumes everything without leaving a remnant will himself carry his calabash home.
The dove eats and leaves a remnant for the pigeon.
The green wild pigeon eats and leaves a remnant for the mocking bird.
I will leave a remnant for my children when I eat.
These verses pertaining to child training and to child feeding and care have divergent implications for teaching the modern concepts of child stimulation and nutrition. While perception of the need for the special training of children is rooted in traditional culture, the fact that children need special feeding to promote their development - rather than mere "remnants" from the adult meal - is a new concept.
From the start of training, as early as the age of two years (but often later), the child destined to become a priest was given the honorary status of an elder, so that all information and explanations could be made available to him or her. A rule of training was that the apprentice's questions were answered truthfully in full. One chief illustrated this point with the story of his own eightyear-old son who had been apprenticed to the Ifa from early childhood. The boy approached the headmaster of his elementary school and informed him that he was a babalawo, or Ifa priest, and that therefore the teachers had to answer all his questions and treat him with respect. The headmaster's response was to send round to the house to find out if this were true, and then to inform the teachers that they must accord the boy the seniority he requested.
This seniority status accorded to child apprentices to the priesthood was not extended to food distribution. As stated by the father of the boy in the previous story, "We don't spoil them with food." The frequent animal sacrifices to the Ifa, however, assured a meat supply to priestly households. Some ceremonies for child apprentices also required them to eat the flesh of the animals whose powers they were to incorporate by ritual means.
A major way in which parents teach their children is by sending them on errands (Akinware et al. 1992), and their performance of errands was found by Lloyd (1970) to be the most valued. The two-year-olds in our sample already had been taught to bring or deliver needed items or information to the mother, or from the mother to another destination. Two-year-olds observed in the ethnography often were given small amounts of money and sent to purchase items. Errands school the child in following sequential instructions, carrying objects, and finding neighbourhood locations, and also teach the social skills needed for verbal and commercial transactions (Timyan 1988). Other caregivers are less likely than the mother to create and reward errands for preschool children (Akinware 1992).
Children are taught to report to their parents any kind gestures of others and to show them any gifts received, and must gradually learn how to be honest without being a tattle-tale (Babatunde 1992, 95).
PHYSICAL DISCIPLINE. Early cross-cultural comparisons (LeVine 1963; Doob 1965) characterized African parenting practices as emphasizing obedience and responsibility (Doob 1965, cited by Lloyd 1970, 83) and obedience and corporal punishment (LeVine 1963, as cited in Lloyd 1970, 83). According to Babatunde (1992, 91), when Yoruba children fail they are often flogged. The flogging is seen as an act of kindness aimed at preventing the child from becoming a difficult person, or at protecting them from true danger. This attitude is expressed in the proverb, "When the child behaves foolishly, one prays that he may not die; what kills more quickly than foolishness?"
Our study of two-year-olds found that parents used mild forms of physical punishment, such as flicking the fingertips against the child's arm, more often than the Caldwell HOME inventory provided for. The HOME item Il.15: "No more than one instance of physical punishment during the past week," was modified as follows with the bracketed response rates, "Child needs spanking: never (20%); more than once a week but less than daily (75%); many times a week, can't remember exactly (8%)." Focus groups disclosed a "Spare the rod and spoil the child" attitude, and mothers in one group expressed the opinion that spanking was acceptable, but that ignoring or refusing to speak to the child was an inhumanely cruel form of discipline. Anecdotal reports of children's experiences at school (e.g. Awolowo's autobiography [Awolowo 1960]), leave no doubt of the value attached to physical punishment.
DIFFERENCES IN THE MOTHER'S AND FATHER'S PARENTING ROLES. Proverbs quoted by Babatunde (1992, 8-12) regarding the differences between the mother's and the father's relationship to the child include the following: "The mother is gold, the father is glass," which means that the affection of the mother is as durable as fine gold, whereas the father's affection, like glass, can be splintered, never to be restored; "No matter how terrible the mouth is, the owner will always lick it," refers to the mother's unending love for her child; "When the child is good it belongs to the father; if it is bad, it is the mother's," reflects the patrilineal point of view according to which the normal, well-behaved child belongs to the father, whereas the abnormal or poorly behaved child is left to its mother.
After the early period of indulgence, the father must be a keen disciplinarian and keep a cool formal relationship with the child. Dignity must be maintained by seniors to preserve their moral authority. The mother provides a gentle refuge from the father's firm discipline. One proverb, "When we use the right hand to flog the child, we use the left hand to draw him back to ourselves (make him comfortable)," expresses the two divergent parental roles.
LeVine, Klein, and Owen (1967, 239) reported that fathers in a lowincome compound in Ibadan did not participate directly in childbirth or infant care, and that they ate separately from their wives and children. By contrast, Úlite fathers believed a man should be present at the delivery of his child, had participated in infant care, and believed that eating together as a family was important.
Our own research did not inquire into childbirth. We did, however, find a greater tendency for educated fathers in low-income neighbourhoods to eat together with their wives and children and to be listed as their two-year-olds' primary caretaker than was true for lesseducated fathers. The percentages of two-year-olds eating together with their fathers and mothers three or more times a week were 45 per cent in rural areas, 53 per cent in semi-rural, and 61 per cent in urban areas. Percentages of two-year-olds having an adult male as primary caretaker were 5 per cent in rural areas, 12 per cent in semirural, and 18 per cent in urban areas. Almost all two-year-olds (95, 88, and 94 per cent for the three subgroups), however, played daily with their father or another adult male relative. There also was a close traditional style of father-child interaction around food: although the young child officially was served by his mother and ate separately, he would then join the father during the father's meal, during which time the father would indulge him with meat or other delicacies. Mothers verbally stated their disapproval, but also appeared proud of this "spoiling" of their children.
Relationship with other relatives and household members
In traditional compounds, the compound head had wide disciplinary responsibilities (Fadipe 1970, 108-109). Disrespect to elders, theft, disturbing the peace, or sexual impropriety usually were punished by flogging and warnings against recurrence. Repeat misbehaviour brought red pepper rubbed into flogging wounds or knife slashes on the back of the hand. In describing traditional Yoruba life, Fadipe (1970, 312-313) writes:
It is chiefly within the extended family - that is, from members of his compound that a child obtains the bulk of his education as a member of society. Since the child cannot be continuously under the eyes of his parents and elder brothers and sisters, various members of the extended family take a hand in his education at one time or another.
But the indirect education the child receives in the compound is almost as important as the direct. In the extended family the child is afforded frequent opportunities of various experiences not only of the practical effects of many items of the social code but also of the unpleasant consequences attending their infraction. The handling and punishment of such offenses as theft or incest which occur within the household and the opinion of members on such crimes are all impressive object lessons to him.
Now, because extended families do not live together in the city, the family and community play a smaller role in training of children. Beyond the boundaries of the small urban household, 46 per cent of Olusanya's EbuteMetta sample and only 25 per cent of his Úlite Suru-Lere sample said that they regularly entrusted their children to their co-tenants/neighbours (Olusanya 1981).
Our child-care findings clearly indicate trends with urbanization away from community and extended family care towards nuclear family and commercialized care, with more reliance on adult males and female friends for regular care in the urban sample, as shown in table 7.1. Mothers were read the list of caretakers in the table and asked if the child was "not left with," "usually left with," or "sometimes left with" each category. Mothers gave multiple responses; therefore, the percentages of mothers mentioning each caregiver in each category add to more than 100, and this total is an indicator of the amount of care available and used. The rural mothers mention more than onethird more persons with whom they sometimes leave their two-year-old than do the urban or semi-urban mothers, but fewer persons with whom they usually leave him/her. Greater casualness - and, perhaps, greater safety - of rural life is indicated by the fact that 15 per cent of rural mothers claim that their two-year-old is usually his own caretaker, compared with 3 per cent for each of the other groups. Almost twice as many rural as urban mothers sometimes leave their children with non-family (community or lineage) members, but only one-third as many rely on non-family members for usual care.
Table 7.1 Sources of child care by rural-urban location
|(a) Percentages of mothers mentioning each caregiver|
|Caretaker||Frequency of caretaking||Rural
(n = 20)
(n = 74)
(n = 86)
|Child is own caretaker||Sometimes||15||3||3|
|Lessons or daycare||Sometimes||0||0||8|
|(b) Frequency of caretaking according to relationship of caregivers and location of mothers|
|Mothers ( % )|
|Frequency of caretaking||Relationship||Rural||Semi-urban||Urban|
|Total nuclear familya||140||118||114|
|Total nuclear family||30||28||51|
a. Siblings and adult males. Most adult male caretakers were fathers. Although some undoubtedly were grandfathers and other relatives, this information is not available.
The child's more intensive reliance on fewer individuals may tend to forge the more intimate bonds expected in the urban family. Further analysis of both our child-care data and our ethnography found that children who were developing well were, indeed, in closely bonded, highly interactive families, whereas those who were developing poorly had mothers who appeared to rely on community care structures that were no longer functional in the city.
According to Fadipe (1970, 316), at least among Christians, a form of compensation for the loss of extended family structures occurs in the extension of kinship titles and principles to church members and other close friends, ranking them closely as parents and older siblings, and thereby restoring some community control.
Brothers and sisters have traditionally regarded each others' children as their own. A sister's children, who belong to another lineage or patrician, are made welcome by their mother's brother should they wish to resettle with him (Babatunde 1992, 12). The relationship between the child and its grandparents is one of overpampering; nevertheless, it is traditional that Yoruba grandparents raise some of their grandchildren. The proverb, "the child of the elderly one is as spoiled as the left hand" (Babatunde 1992, 11), refers both to grandparent care and to the care by the mother of her last-born child.
Fostering of less well-to-do and rural children with wealthier and more urban relatives in exchange for child care and housework, has become common. Olusanya (1981) claims that this practice had mixed origins in the traditional pawning of children to work off debts as servants in the creditor's house, and in sending a young girl of the family to accompany and help a new bride at her husband's house. Commonly, the young relative both attends school and works for the family. The distinction between such a relative and a hired nursemaid, who also may be a distant lineage member, may be blurred.
In Olusanya's Suru-Lere sample, 31 per cent had housemaids, compared with 8 per cent in Ebute-Metta. In addition, young female relatives not attending school were present in 10 per cent of Suru-Lere and 11 per cent of Ebute-Metta families. The mean age of maids was 14.1 years in Suru-Lere, compared with 10.5 years for maids in EbuteMetta (Olusanya 1981). Of our urban, semi-rural, and rural two-yearolds, 9 per cent, 11 per cent, and 30 per cent, respectively, were sometimes in the care of a housemaid, although only 5 per cent in each group "usually" were left with a housemaid. The average age of the eight housemaids with whom the mothers "usually" left the children was 12.3 years, compared with 11.6 years for housemaids overall. The average age of older siblings with whom the mother "usually" left the child was 10.5 years, compared with 8.8 years for siblings who sometimes cared for the child.
In our low-income sample, increased formal employment appeared to lead to greater use of paid outside day care or lessons rather than to more maids. The maids apparently served the mother more in trading and other activities than in child care, since their presence appeared highest among the rural mothers who were engaged in relatively large trading operations.
Olusanya (1981) documents that the women in his two samples who engaged in formal employment requiring separation from their children had low fertility and a high frequency of severe family stress. Much of this stress centred around the nursemaid, who was considered unreliable and a source of family conflict. Rates of formal employment away from home were 58 per cent in his Suru-Lere sample and 14 per cent in Ebute-Metta. Although different questions were asked in our study, about 20 per cent of mothers had employment to which they did not take the child, and reported leaving the child for more than six hours per day. Women who worked as skilled labourers, clerks, shopkeepers, professionals, and other higher occupational categories had higher rates of leaving the child for more than six (53 per cent) or more than eight (39 per cent) hours per day, compared with traders and vendors, for whom these figures were 28 per cent and 15 per cent. Given the much higher numbers of traders and vendors, however, the majority of children left for six or more hours belonged to these mothers.
Transitions of childhood and characteristic child-care practices
Traditionally, a woman's own mother might spend as long as a month caring for her after the birth of a baby (Fadipe 1970,128). Divination on the third day after birth commonly set the elders' perceptions of, and expectations of, a child. While this practice has declined, divinatory revelations regarding the child's nature and destiny are not uncommon.
Frequent contact with the mother or another caretaker, often from riding on the back, diminishes as the child learns to walk. Traditionally, this close adult supervision ended at about the age of two years, when the child was weaned from the breast and joined a group of siblings for much of the day. From this time on, the child in the old-style compound was in the direct care of senior siblings, as well as adults, and in the indirect care of the entire adult community.
High priority was placed on the infant's motor development, and traditional stimulation activities promoted early attainment of motor milestones. Focus groups with Yoruba mothers and grandmothers found a preference for babies who were wiry and agile - children who learned to walk early without long remaining a burden to be carried. Walking was a major indicator of development. Folk wisdom relates that girls and later-born children walk earlier than boys and the firstborn, and that spoiled children and children who are carried walk later. It was a disciplinary imperative for the child to begin to walk. The child was coaxed to start walking and was rewarded with singing and clapping. He might be given objects to hold so that he did not realize he was walking without support.
Heavy staple foods, such as cassava meal and pounded yam, tended to be withheld until the Yoruba child could walk, out of fear that he would become wuwo, a word applied to immobile older infants. This folk diagnosis of the "heavy or clumsy child" applied both to fat but normally nourished lazy babies and to malnourished starch-fed babies with enlarged stomachs and swelling from kwashiorkor.
Caretakers also promoted early standing, sitting, and crawling. Babies were encouraged to stiffen their legs to support their weight from birth. From birth, infants also were carried upright on the back, usually supported by a cloth that was not firmly fastened but that needed to be frequently retucked (like a bath towel), entailing repeated moments during which the caretaker and infant coordinated their alignment and during which the infant was momentarily exposed to the free-fall sensations of gravity. From the age of three months for girls and five months for boys, babies were propped in a sitting position in a hole in the ground or with cushions. The reason for the later age for boys was fear of crushing the testicles.
Agiobu-Kemmer (1984) observed that the Yoruba mothers trained their infants to crawl by repeatedly placing objects just beyond their reach, while Scottish mothers in her comparison study did not do so. Yet, in response to interview questions, the Yoruba mothers claimed they had done nothing special to train their children. The Yoruba parents engaged their infants in social play and motor training for a greater percentage of the time, while the Scottish mothers spent more time involving their infants in technical play.
Whiten and Milner (1984) analysed information from the same children as Agiobu-Kemmer and observed that the Yoruba infants spent about twice as much time as the British in physical contact with a caretaker. The British infants, however, were more frequently handled and positioned in a manner that enabled them to pay attention to the technical flexible manipulation of objects. British mothers scored three times higher than the Yoruba on a scale that measured the amount of time the caretaker spent structuring the infant's immediate posture and environment so that the child could manipulate and explore the uses and properties of objects.
In a preliterate society, as Nigeria used to be, memory was a prized form of intelligence. For brainpower, children were given a powdered concoction called isoye, which was believed to supplement the intelligence and ensure a good memory. The isoye ordered by one of the authors to improve the memory of her eight-year-old son came as eight paper-wrapped doses of black powder to be taken at periodic intervals. The boy was to dip his finger first in highest-grade red palm oil, then into the powder, which he should lick from his finger, continuing this process until the powder from the packet was finished.
Focus group discussions on the definition of the child revealed that Yoruba parents in Lagos most commonly defined childhood in relation to the selfreliance and autonomy of the growing person. According to some of those interviewed, once a child could talk, walk, dress him- or herself, and do certain other things around the house, he or she was no longer referred to as a child. Others defined childhood as the period prior to puberty. Childhood was further defined in terms of economic independence: once a person began to earn a living, he or she ceased to be called a child. The common element expressed in these definitions of childhood was dependency on others for care, protection, and development, as a result of age.
Relationships among siblings
The bond between siblings of the same mother is closer than between halfsiblings of the same father only, although good fathers and good co-wives consciously minimize these differences by scrupulous fairness and equal displays of affection. In the previous century, the only form of inheritance was between full siblings, a custom that has long since changed to inheritance passing from parents to children (Fadipe 1970, 140-146), with half-siblings inheriting from the same father but only from their own mothers.
Ranked by seniority in age, more than by gender, older siblings supervise and care for younger ones. According to Fadipe(1970, 130ff.), a child in a strictly regulated family had to obey the orders of older siblings as soon as he was past the infancy stage. Families who were lax in this respect were reproached by relatives and neighbours if a younger child asserted himself against his older brother or sister. The practice of handing a whip to the older child and instructing him to use it on his junior whenever the latter first became offensive and insubordinate towards him was very commonly used to instil respect and obedience in a rebellious junior. Even the most tolerant families could not permit insubordination of a child towards another who was six years his senior, as a difference of six years was the basis for exclusion from membership in a traditional age-set system that has fallen into disuse.
Social network and family support system
Lineage membership guarantees an extended social welfare system not provided by the state. In fact, loyalty to one's kinship group rather than to the state is viewed as a major problem for development (Babatunde 1992).
Yoruba concept of life
The cultural context
Family goals as well as parenting practices are shaped by cultural concepts of the good life. Although Yoruba cultural ideals are in transition, it is important to understand the world view in which they are anchored. Traditionally, the good life is realized materially in this world as part of the eternal revolving cycle, from the living, to the ancestors, to the unborn. Earthly success is a main feature of traditional religion; death and diseases must be defeated, and virility and fertility must be supported. According to Hallgren (1991, 120-122), the key statement from the Yoruba religious tradition regarding the nature of the good life is, "Wealth, wives, and children will keep us from obscurity." The person who leads a good life attains wealth and transfers this to the next generation in a virtuous manner. Money is needed to obtain wives, and wives are necessary for the birth of children. Children are most important of all, as they are the forwardflowing stream of immortality.
Traditionally, in a manner consistent with the fact that the family acted as both a production and a consumption unit, prestige was not tied to individual occupational categories - the prestige of the individual was not a function of his occupation as it is in the West (Aronson 1980, 94-96). In colloquial Yoruba, occupations were classed together in two categories - "clerk" and "trader" - neither with status implications. Now, however, these views appear to be changing, as parents have strong opinions about the high-status occupations they desire for their children.
"Children, money, and health/prosperity/authority ... I want it so" is possibly a more modern proverbial formulation of traditional values, quoted by Aronson (1980, 156-257). In Yoruba, this quotation uses the word alafia, which comes from the Arabic word for health, and which perhaps replaces the Yoruba words for wealth and for honour (both pronounced "ola" but with different tonal accents). According to Aronson (156-157), alafia is a word for well-being that combines physical health, peace of mind, material prosperity, harmonious relationships, and a reputation for wisdom. The goal of achieving alafia has implications for the lifestyle of the self-actualized individual, according to this ideal.
Lloyd (1966, 332) has described traditional Yoruba society as one in which wealthy and powerful men did not stand apart as a separate class, but were at the "apices of groups consisting of kin and followers." Lloyd (1972) has also noted that the demands of such leadership roles diverted successful older men away from further accumulation of wealth through businesses, the management of which they would then delegate to others. At the apex of a large compound and a wide group of followers, the successful leader led a life of relative leisure and sedentariness (Aronson 1980, 159), holding court to supervise household management, mediate problems, and advise on business activities, and participating in day-to-day politics in the offices of more powerful patrons. This pattern may be compared to the pre-industrial use of capital in Europe (Dizard and Gadlin 1990, 27), whereby the upper classes spent their surplus in sumptuous leisure, viewing work as a curse rather than a virtue.
This role provides for those who become revered ancestors to continue as the most senior members in the social structure of the lineage after death, as the dead continue their earthly roles as long as they remain in the memory of their descendants (Hallgren 1991, 68). According to traditional religious beliefs, however, those who lead bad or childless lives and die without funeral rites are like broken crockery and at death are thrown onto the rubbish heap of the "heaven of potsherds," where they cease their participation in the eternal cycle of rebirth, or may be reborn as animals.
Ethics and values
While most of the Yoruba now are Christian or Muslim (in our sample, 40 per cent were Muslim, 58 per cent Christian, and 2 per cent traditional), the similarity between the value systems of the world religions and those of Yoruba traditional religion must have facilitated conversion. Adewale (1986) reviews traditional Yoruba religious values as embodied in the extensive oral texts (Odu) of Ifa divination. He claims, "There are only two questions for Yoruba moralists: what conduct do the gods command and what conduct do the gods forbid? Why the gods sanction or disapprove one or another line of conduct does not matter much." The core values expressed in Ifa are first of all respect, loyalty, and devotion to one's parents. The ethical person must not tell lies, be a talebearer, or break contractual agreements. Faithfulness and loyalty are also due to one's lineage members, to one's government, and to one's friends.
Traditional Yoruba values presented by Babatunde (1992, 83-115) include kindness/goodness/moral power for effecting good, bravery, respect for seniority, truthfulness, reliability, diplomacy, and the art of dissembling for the greater good of the whole. The Yoruba word for "kindness/goodness" literally means a good "inside" (stomach and heart, or the totality of the physical substance within the person). A cruel person has a bitter inner self, and someone so kind as to ignore his own needs has a distorted stomach or inner self. A kind person redistributes wealth to others, but not at his own expense. Acts of kindness should begin at home in the immediate and extended family.
Bravery is viewed in terms of physical, metaphysical, medicinal, and moral power, and is an essential attribute for both males and females. Use of wisdom is superior to use of physical strength, and foolhardiness is not permissible. Women are praised for showing courage in childbirth. The Yoruba word for "kindness/goodness" noted above also implies moral courage. Endurance also is associated with bravery.
The moral obligation to tell the truth is tempered by the fact that "the truth is bitter," and must be spoken with regard to context and consequences, as reflected in the proverb, "It is not all that the eye sees that the mouth speaks." Moreover, "obligations of seniority institutionalize telling lies in order to give the impression that the system works" (Babatunde 1992, 114). This statement refers to contingencies when neither the junior nor the senior person can live up to the expectations of the seniority system - when it works better to maintain appearances by lying than to expose discrepancies. Verbal contracts, however, must be kept, and failure to do so reliably may be punished by Ogun, the divinity of iron and patron of firstborn sons.
Diplomacy includes the gift for communication through gesture and innuendo, combining wisdom with a capacity to be devious and to keep the inner self hidden in the interests of the whole. Quoting Lienhardt (1980, 71, as cited by Babatunde 1992):
... from childhood the Yoruba are not only supposed to have an idea of a hidden, private self (an inner "activity" or thought process) ... but to understand that it may ultimately be more important than the outer activity, the persona, or mask ... presented to others.
Linked to skills of diplomacy is the overarching value of protecting the survival and unity of the social group, by dissembling as necessary. A leader is expected to put the good of the group above the expression of lesser values, and is expected to be his or her own judge of occasions on which such dissembling is needed.
TEACHING MANNERS AND VALUES. According to Adewale (1986), there are no separate teachers of moral education. All adults inculcate moral values in children to ensure a healthy and disciplined society.
SOCIAL EXPRESSIONS OF THE YORUBA VALUE SYSTEM. The man of principle" (Bascom 1969) is gentlemanly, fearless, socially responsible, and generous. Social responsibility is elaborately articulated through the etiquette of greetings and exchange of resources. As noted earlier, the Yoruba language has a salutation for every conceivable occasion, situation, and human relationship - while sitting or standing; when overtaking another on the road, at work, or at play; while carrying a load; in cold or in warm weather; for relatives, friends, and strangers. On the first meeting of the day for people from different compounds, general and specific inquiries must be made about all close relatives (Fadipe 1970, 301302). An extension of the greeting code is the obligation to offer condolences or sympathy to anyone who is bereaved, ill, injured, or even momentarily indisposed. Hospitality is emphasized, with older and wealthier persons expected regularly to express their generosity through giving. Warmth, a spirit of fun, cooperation, trust, and mutual help are core values expressed through these practices. Unsympathetic and covetous attitudes breed distrust and could lead to suspicion of witchcraft.
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