An Ethnographic Textual Analysis of Aging and the Elders in South Western Nigeria


  • Ayokunle Olumuyiwa Omobowale University of Ibadan, Nigeria



Aging, Ethnography, Textual Analysis, Nigeria, Yoruba


Among the Yoruba of South-Western Nigeria aging represents a valued process leading to a stage in life when an individual assumes the position of an elder and is accorded reverence and awe. The aged, who are attributed to be elders, are highly valued because of the belief that they are the repository of experience, knowledge and wisdom that are germane to societal survival. Despite the respect accorded them, elders are also, in turn, expected to exhibit noble character as the contextual local culture demands. These expectations are reflected in indigenous social thought and Atari Ajanaku’s Agbalagba and Agba Langba poems. This study analyzed these poems using Akiwowo’s Theory of Sociation. The theory contextually explains the Yoruba social organization and social behaviour noting the concepts of iwa (character), ihuwasi (behavioural pattern), isesi (pattern of doing or simply action) and ajumose (doing in unison) as integral characteristics of the local social structure without which, the local social structure may not be contextually understood. The data for the study were generated from Atari Ajanaku’s poems on the elder and subjected to ethnographic analysis.