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Adebayo Adegbembo: Was My Teacher a Yoruba Demon?

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dreamstime_m_52169963Recently, while chatting up a friend, she shared a tweet she’d come across captioned Nigerian men to avoid in 2017 along with the hashtag Yorubademon. It had a list of names, which were unsurprisingly Yoruba.

For those who are unfamiliar with the phrase, Yoruba demon is a popular slang for describing young attractive men who are highly trendy and also very promiscuous. They are known for moving in groups donning anco (uniform clothes for social occasions like weddings) often agbada and can be seen at various owambe parties flashing expensive smartphones while hunting for single ladies. It probably originates from a popular stereotype about Yoruba men who are perceived as adulterous but has since become a term for describing such men irrespective of ethnicity.

We went through the list together laughing at familiar names which included Taiwo, Segun, Femi, Bode, Jide and Wale to mention a few of the Yoruba demon A-listers. I noticed a deeper laughter when it came to Wale prompting my curiosity. “So, what was it about Wale that struck a different chord?” I asked.

She smiled and responded that she may have actually passed through a Yoruba demon by the same name in her final year of secondary school just over 10 years ago. In hindsight, Wale had the attributes associated with Yoruba demons. By now, her smile had grown wider.

“Hmm, who was this Wale, a Yoruba demon that lived ahead of his time before it became a household social media fad among Nigerians?” I grilled further, tempted by her excitement. The following is a recap of what followed.

Wale was a youth corper ; obviously fresh out of university. He’d been posted to her secondary school where he served as a teaching assistant to the Yoruba teacher, a drab no-nonsense middle-aged man that enforced his teaching with regular strokes of cane.

Wale was tall, young and clean with an imposing charisma. He was also very trendy in his trademark agbada, matching native cap and dark shades. Unlike other teachers, in place of a cane, he’d have his Samsung flip phone in one hand while the other hand switched between adjusting his dark shades or packing the sleeves of his agbada. Recall that these were the early days of GSM phones when they cost an arm and a leg.

The way she described him, I could imagine that for the blooming SS3 adolescents, Wale cut the image of prince charming. As teaching assistant, he only taught them Yoruba literature on Fridays. But those Fridays were special ones that they looked forward to.

In contrast to her full-time Yoruba teacher who taught the subject as if it were a job forced upon him by dire circumstance, Wale taught Yoruba literature like he was teaching English literature. The manner in which he used storytelling captivated the students. Added to that was his swag. If he wasn’t gesturing with his hands, he was patting his beards, folding his agbada or cleaning his shades all while making sense in his teachings. He was a wonder to behold and easy to understand given his wittiness.

When he walked across the aisle, his cologne sent the students into a frenzy of lust. The girls loved him, while some boys loathed him out of envy. He was intimidating, friendly and charming at the same time. He didn’t have to punish you by flogging. He simply asked you leave his class never to return – to which erring students pleaded their way back.

Girls would converge after school talking about Wale and teasing themselves. It wasn’t uncommon to hear rumours that some of the female teachers had their eyes on him. She recalled a funny episode where one of her peers was directed by her boyfriend to stop attending Wale’s classes as Yoruba literature now seemed to be her favourite subject and she couldn’t make one statement without quoting Wale. Yet, not a single case of irregularity was ever reported against him as far as she knew.

Wale brought life to the subject of Yoruba in the one session he spent with them. Yoruba classes became the one to be. Under him, the classes were filled not because he threatened them into attending. Rather, it was because they truly enjoyed being there. Students prayed silently for his classes to go on past the 35 minutes allocated for Yoruba literature. Some wondered why it had a shorter time allocation compared to other subjects like Mathematics.

According to her, more than half of those students went on to score at least a C grade in Yoruba following the release of their WAEC result. She attributes it to the way Wale taught them. It seemed the students all wanted to pass for him.

Wale demonstrated how much influence an individual carries when it comes to championing a cause that is given lesser relevance. His approach had a sophisticated touch to it. In hindsight, it may have been a classic case of a smart guy who went out of his way to demonstrate a different side to the subject of Yoruba. Understanding that he was up against mindsets that saw the language as another one to fill up their minimum required subjects for academic purposes, he sought a creative approach that combined his outlook, style and brilliance. That’s what teaching requires in this age whether one is teaching Yoruba, Igbo, Urhobo, Hausa or even Physics. Charisma plays a role.

We argued back and forth over if Wale truly was a Yoruba demon, but couldn’t agree on it. I told her I’d put it before my readers after I’d examined the positive influence of his style on making them embrace the subject. So, you be the judge. What do you think?

Photo Credit: Siempreverde22 | Dreamstime.com

Adebayo Adegbembo is the founder of Genii Games Limited; creators of interactive mobile apps, animated videos and workshops to make African Cultures fun for kids. A trained Engineering Surveyor from the University of Lagos, Bayo went the route of entrepreneurship in fulfillment of his passion for writing, technology, arts and culture. Follow him on Twitter @technobayo

27 Comments

  1. A Real Nigerian

    November 17, 2016 at 1:48 pm

    Wow. This was an underwhelming article.

    • Seriously

      November 17, 2016 at 5:10 pm

      Underwhelming? You life must be very miserable. What have you gone through to turn you into such a bitter person? I hope you feel better about yourself.
      Well written article. Adebayo flipped the meaning of “Yoruba demon” on us, you almost want a Yoruba demon now. Sad truth is, majority of attractive, fun, well put together, life of the party guys are most likely Yoruba demons and they approach women the most. And who doesn’t want a fun guy? Unfortunately, it bites us in the butt in the long run.
      George Clooney is a retired Yoruba demon.

    • Kara

      November 18, 2016 at 8:00 am

      “Your life must be miserable”, because of one sentence?
      I hope you people that come online to “voltron” for your family and friends know that you’re actually hurting them and not doing them any good. Everybody knows that you need criticism to grow, but if there’s vitriol in the comment section whenever there’s negative feedback, you think people will keep reading & commenting on these stories?

      Writing is not easy, and putting yourself “out there” even uneasier. You cannot have a thin skin, and you must be willing to learn. And rein in your people for Gods sake.

      I felt this writing was weak and actually quite underwhelming, expected different from the title, but this is his first I’m reading so I hope the next one will be better.

    • madman

      November 17, 2016 at 7:16 pm

      Very underwhelming and boring.

    • Seriously

      November 17, 2016 at 8:57 pm

      I bet being a madman has to be underwhelming and boring.

    • wale

      November 18, 2016 at 3:40 am

      People pls stop calling yoruba boys yoruba demons, they are not close to being bad guys. Yoruba boys cannot hav a better sex without using agbo to deceive the girls. When the girls later discover, they allow them cheat to cover their shame. Yoruba boys who bow for you when they know you are richer than them or raise shoulder when they don’t know your worth. Pls spare me,dumb boys, we take their girls and game from them,even in their state.‎ Who are we? DELTA BOY, test and see Grown ass men at work

      Not the T Bills, Do2Tun, exclusive and co? I smh‎

    • Tosin

      January 26, 2018 at 12:41 pm

      lol @ A Real Nigerian
      probably ghost-tweeting for donnie trump these days with that skillset

  2. Regina

    November 17, 2016 at 1:49 pm

    This is really good writing. Needs tightening in places, but I have been amused by it. BTW all the Yoruba demon names you listed are, well, Yoruba. No other ethnicity there.

    • Adebayo Adegbembo

      November 17, 2016 at 9:33 pm

      Thanks for the feedback Regina. The list only had Yoruba names lol

  3. Suwa

    November 17, 2016 at 2:03 pm

    Beautiful piece

    • Adebayo Adegbembo

      November 17, 2016 at 9:40 pm

      Thanks for the feedback Suwa 🙂

  4. Toluwalope

    November 17, 2016 at 2:05 pm

    Your definition of Yoruba Demon deserves a place in the dictionary and your general description of it deserves a place in Wikipedia.
    I’m not sure he was but we need to probe the girls he taught.
    Nice write up

    • Adebayo Adegbembo

      November 17, 2016 at 9:39 pm

      Lol. I didn’t coin the definition o. Just run a Google search on the keyword to see the wealth of resources on it. Speaking of Wale, my friend did say no case of irregularity was ever brought against him. Think he was just a charming guy :-). Thanks for your feedback.

  5. nnamdi

    November 17, 2016 at 2:07 pm

    underwhelming abi??? Because the story did not bash and tarnish my Yoruba brothers…..ntoooiiii

  6. EE

    November 17, 2016 at 2:22 pm

    Does anybody remember the Michelle Pfeiffer film, Dangerous minds? Wale had the same effect. Equal parts competence, equal parts teenage lust.

    Speaking of the lovely Ms Pfeiffer, the elevator scene from Scarface, a memory I shall never forget????

    • Adebayo Adegbembo

      November 17, 2016 at 9:36 pm

      Lol. Yoruba demons existed in Hollywood long before the name was coined :-). Thanks for your feedback

  7. Meme

    November 17, 2016 at 3:25 pm

    Good writing style but the content…perhaps needs a little work.

  8. Lola

    November 17, 2016 at 3:48 pm

    I think Wale was just a guy with charm and poise and didn’t let it get into his head, if not he would ‘ve used that endearing personality to misbehave and take advantage of teen girls, he’s not a YD IMO

    • Adebayo Adegbembo

      November 17, 2016 at 9:34 pm

      I agree with you Lola. Thanks for the feedback

    • Kara

      November 18, 2016 at 7:54 am

      Mr writer. You’re commenting on only the positive comments. Clap for yourself. I’m sure you’re Mr “seriously” up there.
      This could have done with some work and a little more imagination. So Wale used to come to class in Agbada to teach? Lol. Okay. Even in the Yoruba village where I taught NYSC, NOBODY comes to school in agbada. NOBODY, not the corpers, not the natives

    • Mz Titilitious

      November 18, 2016 at 9:41 am

      wanted to say dat @Kara….. anybody that want to improve in life should be read for criticism!

  9. Bey

    November 17, 2016 at 8:11 pm

    Keep opening legs for them na.
    Who gets hurt, you or d “Yoruba demon”
    If you like don’t use your sixth sense and FBI caps on when meeting guys. You will keep singing Yoruba demon. Most guys within 2wks to 1mth. I can dissect dere game plan. I use to investigate and Google even dere ancestors.

  10. Kara

    November 18, 2016 at 8:01 am

    I see BN brought back comment moderation. I enjoyed the open period sha

  11. Tutu

    November 18, 2016 at 8:30 am

    I like this story. The only part that had me raise my brows is the Agbada wearing part. No teacher wears Agbada to class to teach. Agbada is a ceremonial outfit. At that point, I stopped believing you.

    • Adebayo Adegbembo

      November 18, 2016 at 8:38 am

      You’ll be surprised Tutu :-). I could have doubted my friend and a part of me believes he couldn’t have worn them every Fridays. There’s also the possibility that what she refers to as agbada is relative. Thanks for your feedback 🙂

    • Mz Titilitious

      November 18, 2016 at 9:43 am

      chai! i just dont like people that doesnt wanna hear the truth so annoying! chei! smh…

  12. Tosin

    January 26, 2018 at 12:38 pm

    Delicious article.

    PS I teach, and yes, one of the bahdest ways to teach is to be captivating and exciting like Wale. I sort of try to make sure my kids fall in love with me, especially in week one. Then they’ll fall in love with the subject.

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