Tag Archives: language

Editor’s pick 2015: Jacobu

Whats the point of being chief blogger if you cant be using your veto power and picking best articles? Lol

I really loved this one.

photocredit: bible-people.info
photocredit: bible-people.info

For as long as i can remember, I avoid going for Yoruba service in church. Growing up, i didn’t have much of a choice till i was older, as the family used to go to church together. For me, it was simple, the Yoruba service was always longer than the English service. While English service starts at 8:00am, Yoruba service starts at 10:00am. Naturally, there’s a little pressure to end 8:00am service, but none for 10:00am service.

Another reason was, English was just easier, easier to speak, read, sing and write.  I mean, in primary school, speaking ‘vernacular’ was an offence unless it was during the language period, so it was English all the way.

At home, Yoruba language ruled. In fact, the only times i spoke English to my folks growing up was when i was very upset. I attributed it to being able to think and speak faster in English. Home devotion was either English or Yoruba depending on who was leading. Of course, we, the kids, always opted for English. Dad on the other hand, you have different fingers always went the Yoruba way. I daresay, most of the prayers i can pray in Yoruba today are the ones I’ve heard him pray over the years growing up.

In secondary school, i enjoyed Yoruba as a subject. I mean, i probably never got above a c grade, but i was able to read, write and speak it. If you ask me, i will say i am fluent in Yoruba. I may not be able to match my friend, kk spicy baby, but i can hold my own.

Well that was what i thought, till the last Yoruba service i attended.

The preacher said “eko kika wa la o ri ninu iwe Jacobu, ori…” (read: our bible reading can be found in the book of Jacobu)

I stopped short.


That can’t be right? I mean, i was like


But there is no book of Jacob, is there?

I looked at the Mrs, she was just as lost. I scanned through the Old Testament, looking closely at the minor prophets, thinking perhaps there was one I’d missed during the years of Bible study. I pulled out my tab, I have a Yoruba bible app, searched Old testament again. Still no Jacobu.

By now, he had started reading. I just chilled and listened to what was being read. I was like this is not Old Testament na, this is James!

James is Jacobu in Yoruba! I was slightly amused and embarrassed, because at this point, i remembered i’d been in this Jacobu scenario before.

I have once again committed to attending Yoruba service more.

What really made this experience important for me to pen down, is the fact that many of us are already speaking less of Yoruba (read: mother tongue) and probably not even writing it anymore. Language is a key part of our heritage, a very important one at that. Beyond the beauty of the language(s), are the depths of messages one can convey with them.

There’s so much of our culture and heritage we have lost to being westernized, I won’t even begin to list, but let’s cherish and hold dear what is ours.