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Isio Knows Better: Look! She’s Wearing a Bikini on the Beach… Call the Culture Police!



Isio 1It happened one day that I was browsing online, reading articles, when I came upon an argument between commenters. It was a fine day, indeed, where a celebrity had dared to post a picture of herself in a bikini. The picture of her “hot bod” was posted online, and the vitriol came pouring in. A few were indifferent, some were offended and blamed her for promoting nudity and decadence – citing that, it was unAfrican and against our culture and tradition. The rest were exasperated with the culture-police and tried to educate them about freedom of choice; that in fact – nudity was not alien to our ancestors who walked around almost naked or barely-clad.

The online fight got very bitter.

Somehow FEMINISM got dragged into the argument – eh, that’s how you pipu wee be doin feminist upandan, exposing yasef! Kontinu, you will soon be 40 and bitter. She for kuku show us all her breast na. As she wan swim. TUFIAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!

Somehow, RAPE got dragged into the argument – See as she is showing us all her wan-tin-tin. After she go say make man no touch am. If dem rape this wan, who go pity am?

Somehow, ROLE MODELISM got dragged into the argument – I am sorry, but this is just disgusting. All these celebrities be spoiling the African youths and children. Leave the Oyinbo people to be exposing their breasts and laps, it is not “us”. It is not African.

Akpalamkpam! (Actually, this is a coined word. It is typical Isio gist-speak. It means, “Chaiiiiii! Chaiiiiii-iiii! My people. Bhet why are we like this na? Bhet Lord, where is the HOPE for my people?! Chaiiii-yi”)

A lot has been said about what is African. A lot more has been said about what is African by Africans. But wait o. Exactly what is African kpaakpaa? Who can say exactly what our culture and tradition permits and what it does not? Can we not forget to remember that there are 250 ethnic groups in Nigeria alone? That Africa has 3000 distinct ethnic groups and 2000 languages? FACT- Culture and tradition differs from place to place. FACT – We are beginning to pick and choose and select, just as many pick-and-choose from our sacred religious texts, say, like the Bible.

Perhaps we just confuse our religious beliefs, our personal moral code with what we think is African. The flip of this coin is that we also excuse the inexcusable, excuse and tolerate injustice, because well… We are African, our culture and tradition demands so, so and so.

And so, I wrote a list (in my opinion) about what we confuse, excuse and/or justify in the name of culture, tradition and religion. It’s a long list, with each one a topic on its own, and with my word limit, I hope we can – for our collective good and education- share experiences, discuss the problems/solutions and debate on these issues in the comment section.

But who no know say, from the days of the cave-man, until the days of Kunta Kinte, many our African ancestors dey flex with raffia, animal skins, banana-leaf and [in some cases] calabash to cover the coverables. Abeg, na dash dem dash us cotton pant sef. Even the Ankara wey we dey call African fabric was originally made by Dutch for the Indonesians. At least we have Aso-Oke. 10 gbosa for Affffff-ri-ka!

Child marriage/ paedophilia
Let’s not tiptoe around this issue abeg. Whether or not this was how our ancestors did it, this is wrong. This should stop. Don’t make a still-developing child a mother. Marrying a child does not make you less a paedophile. It saddens me greatly that we [Nigerians] have legislators who defend this ugliness. It is even sadder that it is the people who are unscarred by this injustice who call for it the loudest, never minding the cost to their victims who are often scarred and abandoned as social outcasts once they develop VVF. Nigeria has the highest VVF cases in the world. You all should be ashamed of yourselves.

Gender inequality (boys over girls)
This one, I don’t even know where to start from. All children are gifts from God shikena. The lengths some of our people go to to have a male child is alarming. And the things we excuse in the name of, eh, she couldn’t give him a son is Akpalamkpam! So many of our issues today can be directly traced to our celebration of gender inequality, and the change has to start from every family unit.

Marital Rape
I think married folks need to speak up on this issue. Does our culture permit/excuse any-time/anyhow knacking? Many people don’t believe that married women can get raped by their husbands. Many will get laughed at their faces should they try and seek help/counselling. Something about, you are married now, your body belongs to him/her… Okay na.  Akpalamkpam!

Many defend polygamy as being a part of our culture. This is true. But citing polygamy as the only polyamorous relationship existing in Africa is False. So is Monogamy, and Polyandry. I personally prefer monogamy, but have no problems with any adult who chooses to be in a polyamorous relationship as long as all parties ARE WILLING and ARE HAPPY to share themselves RESPECTFULLY with each other. No stories that touch please. Don’t excuse polygamy and condemn monogamy and polyandry.

This has nothing to do with culture or tradition. Some people quite simply do not want kids. I have met 5 of such people. 4 are Nigerians.

Domestic Violence
Please, Domestic Violence is wrong. But it is still something many excuse. Something about it being the African woman’s duty to stay home and submit – to be seen and not heard. Something about it being the African man’s duty to provide and be a man. Evfy body just dey vex. Abuse here, slap there… Na wa.

Female Genital Mutilation
TAHHHHHHHHHHHH! What do you mean you want to cut her Garden of Eden? I rebuke you in Jesus name. Wrong, wrong, wrong! Inexcusable. Please leave this practice behind in the Dinosaur era.

Cruelty in the name of discipline
This is the excuse many school teachers, use to beat other people’s children half-to-death. This was the case in my boarding house. It was also known as Obey before Complain. They say it is rude to talk back to your elders, so if your teacher said you did something, you need to submit to the punishment before you can even defend yourself. Discipline is good, cruelty is bad.

That being said, things we should really condemn:
Ritual killings – Sad but true, people killing people for occultic rituals, using of human parts for rituals like money-making, fertility or extended-life. There are other regions where the practice of Abobaku and other similar, are still being practiced in the name of culture and tradition. 

Widow de-humanizing and cruelty – The things many widows are forced to do, wear or say because they had the misfortune of out-living their husbands can make evil Satan cry and say, “I no dey there o! These human beings, their wickedness na Apalamkpam!

Child labour and Slavery – Yes, we are community oriented, and it is customary for a wealthier family member to help raise other kids from the family/community. But some people use this as access to free and cheap labour. Turning these people to their very own modern-day slaves. But how can you import someone from the village and promise to send them to school only to turn them to slaves in your home? Some take them abroad and seize their passport. The victims would be lucky to see the sun sef. Forget moonlight. That one na luxury. Ask them, “Hello, waaz today’s date, and they will just be looking at you like lucozade boost.

That was how a church member asked my family’s house keeper to help her get someone to be her housekeeper, groundskeeper, nanny, cook, personal assistant and laundry girl. Plus, she wanted the girl NOT to live in her house, but to come daily to the mainland from Ajah.

The slavery, for N8,000 a month.
My people, please let’s be our own Culture Police. What exactly is the African culture? What are we doing/excusing that needs to go? And most importantly, what are we losing that we need to preserve? I’d say, our languages and our art. I wish we could preserve those.

Isio De-laVega Wanogho is a Nigerian supermodel, a multi-award winning media personality and an interior architect who is a creative-expressionist at her core. She uses words, wit and her paintings to tell stories that entertain, yet convey a deeper meaning. Follow her on Instagram @isiodelavega and visit her website: to see her professional body of work.


  1. Hotspice_yimu

    March 8, 2016 at 10:11 am

    Educated Slavery: esp. in Lasgidi. Oyinbo say 9-5 but naija its 8am till WhenTheMoonComesOut even at then you should feel guilty leaving the office and ontop how much oh!
    Thing is we all select what favours us at the time. So define your life the way your religion dictates and for those without…well the way you think right but please remember not to force your belief on your neighbour cos that one na “Akpalamkpam”.

    • kwinray

      August 17, 2016 at 10:51 am

      8am till the moon comes out…hehehehehe

  2. seyi

    March 8, 2016 at 10:34 am

    Hmm.deep. Lol..

  3. Niola

    March 8, 2016 at 10:41 am

    and Isio to that I will add our history….., no need knowing about the Norman conquest and not knowing about King jaja of opobo….. My standards are not African or religious they are God’s standards and my holy spirit sef is advanced and wont substitute submission to mean docility or being judgmental to claim moral lordship….

  4. NenyeJ

    March 8, 2016 at 10:51 am

    Haaaa! Isio where have u been?

  5. Tega

    March 8, 2016 at 10:51 am

    Great piece. Real hard truths!! Akpalamkpam!

  6. anny

    March 8, 2016 at 10:53 am

    Thanks for this Isio, speaking of nudity please people do we know of any hotel/resort in lag where i can go to stay with hubby and use the pool with my bikini without people looking at me funny. Like if their pool is not too open to the public, maybe only for those staying at the hotel? PS: Husband doesn’t mind me swimming in bikinis but I can’t stand people staring at me funny

    • pep

      March 8, 2016 at 9:37 pm

      @ aany Check out Triedent Suites, Ikeja if you are on the mainland

    • cos I say so

      March 9, 2016 at 4:06 pm

      depends on your budget and what you want
      Soujourners in GRA Ikeja is classy and private
      The name of the hotel is not even on the building
      its on akinjobi

  7. gyaks

    March 8, 2016 at 10:53 am

    Hotspice you are correct! Educated slavery indeed, even after working till wen the moon comes out, some will now owe you salary for months, den look for how to deduct from it wen it comes and still behave like they’re doing you a favor.

  8. larz

    March 8, 2016 at 11:19 am

    Well done Isio! We sabi pick and choose or maybe na amnesia; whether na religious argument or cultural one. Just to add a little more to what you said…

    Nudity / Clothing
    I remember seeing an old picture of my aunty (based on her age, it was before 1993) in a school drama. She was wearing cultural outfit from another Nigerian culture. The top was like a cropped boob tube and the bottom was a short skirt with beads. In Yoruba and Igbo traditional movies, young maidens typically wrap cloth around their chest to mid-thigh or knee length. Abeg tell me, how is that different from our off shoulder mini dresses or skirt. Also, my aunt’s outfit covers only a little more than your average swimwear.

    Gender inequality (boys over girls)
    In older Yoruba culture (I cant speak of other Nigerian cultures), there were women gods, priestesses as well as men. So women can be (spiritual) leaders so where exactly did gender inequality culture come from self?

    Polygamy / child bearing
    We need to be more accepting of other people’s views in life even if it is not our cup of tea. If spiritual leaders (Christians, muslims, priest(ess)) can choose to be celibate and not have children, others can too.

    Domestic Violence/ cruelty
    Some people are just abusive. From beating their wives to little kids or servants (I mean employees). A lot of people dey do gra gra ontop money wey no dey there self.

    Ritual killings
    I remember a story I read as a child of a king who holds a pagent every year and the winner is sacrificed but villagers were lied about what happens to the winners. One day, the king’s beloved princess sneaked out and pertook in the event and won. So she was required to be sacrificed. The king did not want his child used and after several back and forth, they found an alternative to appease the gods and lived happily ever after. Moral of the story is, if we cared enough, we will find alternative solutions that doesn’t require human sacrifice.

    Child labour and Slavery
    Naa men! Especially people that make little kids work. It really is not that deep. Life is too short. Can people actually imagine what life will be like if their children were to be subject to the same fate due to unforeseen circumstances

  9. Tolu

    March 8, 2016 at 11:40 am

    Nice points although this is the worst I’ve read from Isio.

  10. St.Yves

    March 8, 2016 at 12:23 pm

    Please make that word “Educated Slavery” a hot topic. Someone would say ‘but you can choose to resign now’.. No! That’s not an option. My offer/appointment letter states resumption time but would be deliberately silent on closing time. It’s fraudulent and that’s what we see in the banking industry. You are made to feel guilty when you leave by 6pm. In fact, some bosses with marital issues will not go home and they expect you to stay in the office until they are ready to leave. Why don’t we see this as unafrican? After all slavery is largely condemned in Africa.

  11. Anonymous today

    March 8, 2016 at 1:53 pm

    My husband raped me after we had a fight a few years back. I didn’t struggle or resist he’s my husband after all. He probably doesn’t even know he raped me because again he is my husband and he’s never really had to seek consent. I”m not entirely pained by it because he wasn’t a stranger and I can’t say I went through what a man or woman would have experienced if they were raped in a car park by a violent criminal, but the mind (brain) is a very tricky organ. Its my truth and whenever I remember I feel betrayed.

    Funny thing is asides that one incident he’s a very good husband very caring loving and as thoughtful as he can be. That’s why I can never tell anyone. The few people who do not think I am crazy will immediately label him a bad person. But, I feel we are messed up by culture and religion because “Our bodies belong to our husbands” that’s why even in developed countries it is very hard to prove spousal rape.

    I asked him casually a while back why he did what he did, he told me it was make up sex.

    Huge sigh.

    • Jcsgrl

      March 8, 2016 at 4:36 pm

      Oh my sis, your story breaks my heart. Was this a one off incident? If he’s not done it again, pls forgive him. He saw it as makeup sex which a lot of men do….doesn’t justify it. I still think you should let him know how its affected you cos it seems your mind is playing tricks on you. Pls dont call him a rapist or accuse him of rape. Just tell him you do not feel comfortable with the act and it should not repeat itself. B4 you confront, make sure you have healed and forgiven him. Hugs

    • Oluwatoyin

      March 8, 2016 at 6:28 pm

      Wow! I’m so sorry this happened to you.

  12. Oge.A

    March 8, 2016 at 2:40 pm

    The problem isn’t our supposed African culture because I believe Africa is the most diverse and complex of all the continents in terms of culture and tradition so basically there is no particular African culture that represents the entire continent. Our puritanical society or should I say our very religious society(puritanical is such a strong word) is our major problem and it has made us narrow-minded and extremely judgemental of each other so much that we have a layout on how others should live their lives. How we or others live their lives is our/their business so long as it’s within the confines of the law, rules and regulation of a place and no one is being enslaved, hurt or violated, or subjugated.

    In the history of mankind no other construct has created so much misery and carnage than religion. We should understand that being religious and a Christian/Muslim are not synonymous.
    Religious disintegration is a problem too especially in Africa. For instance, “I’m a ‘this'(insert church) so I’m a better Christian than you. I know God more than you”. Like they’ve got a first-class ticket to heaven already just by being a member of a particular denomination. Absolute nonsense.
    There is just no love lost amongst us Christians. It’s so sad really.

    There is another one that has been for a very protracted time now but no one talks about. It’s hush hush. The extremely delicate issue of ‘the untouchables’ predominant in Igbo land. As an Igbo this is one issue that pains my heart so much cos it has affected our interpersonal relationships in Igbo land. My cousin lost the love of her life cos her parents vehemently refused her to marry the guy cos he is an osu. She almost killed herself then if not for the intervention of her friends. It nearly destroyed her relationship with her parents, even now she doesn’t relate as she should with them. A man in my village disowned his only daughter when she married one without his consent although his wife and 3 sons were in total support of the marriage. And this happened after his permission has been sought for so long. I recently learnt this man is on the verge of marrying another wife because his wife and sons defied him and gave away his only daughter to an ‘outcast’. These are just a few of the incredibly distressing stories that have resulted out of this archaic and terrible tradition. It should be completely abolished. We are in the year of our Lord Jesus Christ for crying out loud and have been for over 2000 years so this sort of thing shouldn’t exist anymore. Christ died for EVERYONE’S sins so ‘this’ shouldn’t be an exception. More so, no one deserves to pay for sins they didn’t commit nor sins they know nothing about.

    And I totally agree that our languages and arts should be preserved, particularly our languages cos they are our heritage.

    • Jcsgrl

      March 8, 2016 at 4:29 pm

      Lol at in the year of our Lord Jesus Christ. I just bursted out laughung

  13. TEE

    March 8, 2016 at 2:58 pm

    Boring………same old gist!

    • gia

      March 8, 2016 at 4:03 pm

      Too bad the previous articles did nothing to change the situation.
      I guess we still need people to write about these “same old gist”

  14. Jcsgrl

    March 8, 2016 at 4:28 pm

    Wow Isio baybay, this ya article na 10 topics in one. I wish you had discussed them one at a time because there’s just so much to say on each topic. I no know where to start sef. In short they all make sense. Let me add a few:
    Shaming of divorcees and single parents – while i do not advocate divorce, however i know that life happens and people fall out of love. Society should free them abeg. They should not be looked down on for an unfortunate life situation

    Polygamy should just be banned period. The practice is just nasty. Yes some people will still sleep around and born children upandan but na dem sabi. Just make it illegal to marry more than one wife or husband. And if you sleep around and born you must take care of them.

    Sons and daughters should inherit their father’s property. Shuo why should it be only the boys? Thank God my father is a progressive and he dey share everything based on who takes good care of him…me of course his ada will get lion share. I am his welfare package and retirement plan. Why would my bros who dont know the 1st thing abt their drugs, what they eat, doc appts now come and collect everything?

    On marital rape, men that’s a delicate topic. Never experienced as hubby wants me fully participating in the do otherwise he’s turned off. For anyone who has experienced it and i hear it happens A LOT (in donald trumps voice), pls find a place to forgive and then confront them not aggressively o. Like have a convo on how you will prefer the act of sex involve the two of yo and you prefer they dont Cross that boundary when you’re not in the mood. If they shun your subtle correction, then na OYO be at. Do what you gotta do.

    • Josephine

      March 8, 2016 at 4:47 pm

      Jcsgrl, your comment made me feel sick. Polygamy between consenting adults, you describe as just nasty and should be banned but no outrage for something as physically painful and degrading as rape, marital or otherwise. A man forcibly violates a woman and because its her husband its “delicate”. Unbelievable.

    • Netizen

      March 8, 2016 at 5:04 pm

      Josephine be true to yourself. When you say consenting adults, are you referring to the man and the new wife? Are you taking into consideration the previous wife and kids? How many polygamous homes are without rivalry? Be honest.

    • Jamu

      March 8, 2016 at 9:36 pm

      My sister I just tire, polygamy bothers her but not marital rape o_0

  15. Suwa

    March 8, 2016 at 4:30 pm

    Isio darling

  16. Zee

    March 8, 2016 at 5:31 pm

    I just skimmed unlike me.. Feel it’s cos I got tired of expecting a post from Isio to complete my Tuesdays.. You know when you are served food after you no longer feel hungry. Exactly how I feel .. Don’t know if you value your readers, Isio.. Anyway, welcome back

  17. Tru

    March 8, 2016 at 11:01 pm

    Good topic Isio. Guess we’ll have to keep writing and speaking about these issues till our mindsets change.

  18. Josephine

    March 9, 2016 at 11:30 am

    @Netizen, the first wife can leave if polygamy is not for her. A man chooses to bring in a new wife and that woman chooses to follow. There are options no matter how difficult. That is simply my point and not advocating polygamy. Rape is a terrible crime. There is no comparison.

  19. sheesh

    March 12, 2016 at 5:38 am

    Isio, this is what happens when you have no respect for your readers. You just waltz off and waltz on without an apology, explanation, nothing.

    • Spot on

      March 17, 2016 at 5:53 am

      And think you can come back and take your place as Queen with 345 comments asking where you’ve been. See ya life?

  20. Grace Oloita

    October 17, 2016 at 11:05 am

    hummm,,I love you Isio

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