Journal article Open Access

Transculturalism and Culinary Fiesta in Adeola Osunkojo's The Life of a Nigerian Couple

Okpadah, Stephen O; Ogunmekan, D.

When the Canadian Professor, public intellectual and philosopher, Herbert Marshall McLuhan, prophesied
that “the world is fast becoming a global village”, man did not realise how fast this would be.
Multiculturalism, Interculturalism, Transculturalism, Technological advancement and other socio-cultural
processes and innovations have made this possible. In Nigeria, the multiplicity of cultures has culminated
into an influx of traditional values, and norms. These norms and values include the culinary traditions. The
culinary tradition is an aesthetic experience that is pleasing to the senses and also in the transnational
space. Transculturality stems from the convergence of various cultures. It is not a rarity to witness a
marriage of foods from different cultural backgrounds. Varieties of foods are fully captured in culinary
fiestas in ceremonies such as weddings, burials, birthday parties, among others. The Amiedi, Owho-evwri,
and Usi of the Urhobo people of the Niger Delta, the Amala, Ewedu and Gbegiri of the Yoruba people, and
the Tuwo Shinkafa in Northern Nigeria do not only portray the multiplicity of foods in Nigeria, they also
mirror the complex nature of determining one’s taste, especially in homes where couples are from
different cultural backgrounds. Consequently, this paper advocates transculturality in the Nigerian culinary
traditions. It uses content analysis methodological investigative approach to examine polemic(s) of
preference of food among couples in Adeola Osunkojo’s short film, The Life of a Nigerian Couple. The
paper is anchored upon Fernando Ortiz’s 1947 theory of Transculturalism, the phenomenon of merging
and converging cultures. This research reveals that food is an art and as such can only be evaluated within
the context of the culture from which it emanates. We conclude that the advocacy for a transcultural
Nigerian society will not only facilitate peaceful coexistence, it will also serve as machinery that would
improve culinary processes in Nigeria and beyond.

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