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What Does “Akata” Really Mean? Precious Nwabugo Breaks it Down on Her Vlog



Precious Nwabugo_akataBN reader Pearl left the link to this video in the comments of Atoke‘s feature on Nigerians abroad marrying people in the country and we knew you would enjoy it.

Precious Nwabugo breaks down the origin of the word Akata, examines if it’s really a derogatory word, all in a down-to-earth way.



  1. Pearl

    April 28, 2016 at 2:02 am

    Ahn Ahn Bella making me feel specialllll ooo! Thank you! No but this is needed. Tired of having arguments with my Akata friends, even when severalllllllll people tell them the meaning, they’ll still be arguing, so annoying. At least when they search the word now, and they see it here, they’ll know it is legit. In the next week watch another person on twitter will discover this word and start another wahala.

    • Danielle

      April 28, 2016 at 2:37 am

      Why isn’t the world used to refer to other groups of people (Haitians, Jamaicans, Bajans, Black Brits, etc) if that is simply the meaning? It is only used for African Americans which makes no sense if it simply refers to ‘Africans who don’t live at home’. The truth is, many Nigerians who use the word will actually be able to tell you it means wild cat or animal but they will certainly not say that it’s referring to a cat that doesn’t live at home because that’s not how they’re using it and they probably don’t know where the word derived from originally. Whether a word starts off well meaning is not the point; how the word is used in modern day is what determines if it is derogatory. And we all know the word is used in a negative way often. This video was extremely condescending. Do Nigerians refer to themselves or other Nigerians as the opposite of akata? As cats ‘that live at home’?

    • Danielle

      April 28, 2016 at 2:38 am

      *word not world

    • Pearl

      April 28, 2016 at 3:40 am

      Sooo you just completely missed where she said, forget about the previous meaning, the word has just evolved to mean ‘African American’ in the modern day? Oh okay. If you did your research you’d know that Africans that live at home used to be called (Ologbo) meaning Cats that live at home, which evolved to just mean cat. How are you a Nigerian and not know that our languages are filled with metaphors, it doesn’t meet the word to word translation in English. For example her last name is Nwabugo – Child is Eagle (word for word translation) but actually mean Child is happiness or something like that. In this case Cat as a metaphor for person, Like helllooooo. Nigerian in generally have a poor view of Akatas that has absolutely nothing with the word, NOTHING. Back Brits that are not 1st generation Africans are called that too. And why are you asking us why Jamaicans and others are not called that, are we the ones that invented Yoruba language? Are African Americans, Haitians? or Jamaicans? Do they in general have a singular story of being ripped away from Africa, their home?

    • Sladd

      April 28, 2016 at 5:25 am

      Pearl, I just want to know why you expect people to take her definition of Akata as the final word. This is one person’s opinion so why should everybody looking into akata take this as the “legit” meaning? Does she speak for all Nigerians, even the older people who passed down this word to us? Just curious. And we all know as Nigerians that Akata is meant to be derogatory.

  2. Random

    April 28, 2016 at 2:17 am

    Quite insensitive of her to downplay the term. We all know many of us Africans use the word in a rather patronizing way. Anyway, we are brothers so I’m sure the African Americans have better things to get irritated with. One love.

    • A Nigerian

      April 28, 2016 at 2:52 am

      I don’t usually comment but what do you mean quite insensitive? That young lady just told you the word is not derogatory, so why should she be ‘sensitive’ with the word. Wouldn’t that contradict what she just said? Just cause you are surrounded by people who use the word in a patronizing way doesn’t mean it’s a bad word. Take your fights up with those Africans it’s a reflection of who they are. That is the Yoruba word for African Americans, so we shouldn’t use it?

      I enjoyed it. I like seeing our women being able to eloquently express themselves when its not something that has to do with Men and relationships.

  3. Chi

    April 28, 2016 at 5:32 am

    The girl was mad annoying with her different accents !!!!
    My mom is Black American my dad is Nigerian !
    I was born in America , I come to Nigeria 3 times a year . And I still can be considered an Akata. I see no offense to the word at all. I just see people making a big deal out of nothing .

    As much as im an Akata im African proud as well.

    And have Yall ever paid attention to the way some people use the word “African” in a negative tone ? Shall we cry …. Noooooo !!!!

  4. Peaches

    April 28, 2016 at 11:05 am

    Was this babe high or something when making this video??? What fuckery is this??

  5. annonynous

    April 28, 2016 at 12:02 pm

    akata as I understand it means cotton picker, “aka” in yoruba means one who gathers or collects. Just like Ireke means sugar cane. Both terms have their origins in blacks who worked on plantations in the west indies and became a term for blacks outside aFRICA. Now anyone who understands yoruba knows that it is a descriptive language for instance the yoruba word for television amohunmaworan literality means that which brings sound and pictures.. Now while it is possible the term is considered derogatory by some, I doubt it was ever intended as derogatory by the Yorubas. I know that growing up akata was actually used to to imply foreigner and as many may know we Nigerians like to think of anything or anyone foreign as good or better so I doubt it was meant to be derogatory.

    • Esu Orisha

      October 14, 2016 at 5:56 pm

      Akata means foreigner, a wildcat, STRANGER; someone who grew up in the bush ie outside the tribe and adopted foreign values. Akata is also a tall type of umbrella hat that hides the face. It was taboo to hide the face in Yoruba culture and only few people were allowed to wear the Akata hat. Ka represents building or gathering or increasing. Ta represents dragging out, rising up or becoming distant. Akata thus means someone from far away.

      Cognates (related words):
      Cat (English) cat, species of wild animal.
      Qadis (Nubian) cat
      Aguata (Igbo) wild cat; bush cat; civet cat. Also spelled Agwata.
      Akata (Igbo) wild branch/plant; used in hedges and fences
      Axt (Ancient Egyptian heiroglyphs) horizon (afterlife – hidden world); note a sphinx (cat) like tomb called “Hrw-m-Axt” was planted on the horizon of Egypt. This was an ancient pun on cats and foreigners.
      Axtyw (Ancient Egyptian heiroglyphs) horizon dweller; a remote people; foreigners.

    • Ibi

      October 8, 2017 at 8:05 pm

      I’m Yoruba and it does not have anything to do with cotton. Anybody with a foreign accent and is black is akata. It is not derogatory. It is the black version of oyibo

  6. Tayo

    April 28, 2016 at 12:16 pm

    Ahn Ahn I think she’s lovely, pretty and straight out funny. If you watch her on the regular, you’ll know she speeds up some of her videos.

  7. Tayo

    April 28, 2016 at 12:41 pm

    This is how I feel about it. We Nigerians need to be proud of who we are. We have many things that are not right with us, but when we get things right we need to stand by them. Akatas will not go and tell Indians, Asians other culture to change their language, that should tell us something. I find it pretentious and shameful that you’d question a word in the language because an American said they don’t like it.

    In addition to the blames she spoke about in the video. I also blame this on young Americans that refuse to know the language of their parents, if you know you wouldn’t be here spreading false information.

    @sladd I am an “older Nigerian” and most of them in Nigeria don’t even know the context for this word or have the need to use it.

    You’re quick to call a word derogatory, even she has explained to you ( and this is not her opinion, IT IS FACTS, do your research people) neither from origin nor context was intended to bad, because a few Nigerian use it in a bad light. Because an Akata told you it’s a bad word, you’ve refused to acknowledge that how someone uses a word is a reflection of them than the word. You people’s inferiority complex is showing. Stand up for your culture.

    It is easier for you to accept the word is bad than for you to tell your Parents, Uncles and Aunties to stop being derogatory concerning African Americans.

  8. Hush

    April 28, 2016 at 1:27 pm

    Jeeeez from the comments you’d think she insulted anyone, lol. Why so deep? It means African American, all these history balanga is nonsense. Even when Atoke used it she had to add “uncultured” to it to make it a bad phrase
    “Who’s going to create another word?” Lmao.
    And Precious I think you’re fun, don’t let this sad people suck the fun out of you.

  9. el patron

    April 28, 2016 at 5:03 pm

    oooooose precious omo ibo! am a fan of ur mouth and how you talk..beautiful.
    so my grandmother who hasn’t left the shore of Africa until she left for heaven…
    always tell my brother oloju dudu bi ti akata, when he”s silly.
    I don’t think it means a bad thing its just a description.
    AA call themselves the N word all day, but take offence with somebody of color does the same.
    I died laughing when this chick called me African booty scratcher.

  10. Point Sure

    November 4, 2016 at 4:25 pm

    I don’t understand what some people mean by she is being “Insensitive” When African Americans make fun of Africans by mimicking the Khoisan click and Bantu language? or refer to us as booty scratchers. How do you think that makes us feel. So she is right. you cannot tell us what words to use. it is disrespectful!

    • Desire’e

      June 25, 2020 at 9:44 pm

      We don’t all use these terms, and most only used them when they were 7 years old before they knew better. Even then it is wrong, and should not be met with more hate. It causes collateral damage. I actually haven’t heard anyone say or do any of this since we as a community took it upon ourselves to research and learn where we came from. Our history books have one paragraph about slavery, and that is it. Even this is no excuse… but you are comparing what 7 year old African Americans do to what Adult Nigerian do. We grow up to honor you… and Akata is a slap in the face!

  11. Demonze curtis

    April 16, 2017 at 6:05 pm

    I don’t know why we “African Americans” have any type of issues with Africans. Of course some are rude but so are AA. So many beautiful females of color and I met this old Nigerian man named pidity maybe spelled different he was funny and really cool.

  12. Nonya

    April 23, 2020 at 10:03 pm

    Since it’s so harmless, I wonder if you all refer to the children that you have abroad for citizenship as such. Smfh. I wasted minutes watching her long drawn out over explanation of what we all knew it was anyway. An insult. Wildcat my ass.

  13. Nunya

    December 7, 2020 at 2:55 pm

    Funny when they’re on our land calling us strays whn they’re away from home 😂

  14. Ololade

    December 27, 2020 at 3:17 am

    Akata, which means jackal or wildcat in Yoruba, is used as a deragatory word by Nigerians and Nigerian/Yoruba immigrants to insult African-Americans. It is unfortunate and also used to attempt to distinguish themselves as African immigrants from African-Americans, who they see as foreign and not-African but also not-American. It truly is a shame and to downplay it shows that she doesn’t know the origin of the word nor has ever heard it.

  15. Jessica

    November 11, 2021 at 10:53 am

    It’s Just the way we refer white people to oyingbo even if an African has lived in America for so long and comes home to visit and he /she is called an akata its just saying an African that has developed foreign values cause definetly his/her accent would change but the word is not used as an insult.

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