Should We Really Ban Amala? -By Favour Olajide

Filed under: National Issues |

A Nigerian in the diaspora posted a picture of himself doing a presentation the other day on Twitter. The title on the screen was ‘Why Amala Needs To Be Banned?’ He never quite told us what his reason was, though sure he must have had one. Nevertheless, Nigerians wasted no time in venting their anger and displeasure at the wild call. Many called him names and made fun of him. No one really wanted to know the reason. What was uniting was that they found it ridiculous that anyone would call for or even think about banning their beloved traditional cuisine, Amala.

For Yorubas all over the world, who had been brought up with Amala, someone telling them to take it off their diet was the most ridiculous idea, even stupid for some. Once again, that incident showed how proud Yorubas Nigerians are of their traditional dish, and hence, their culture. Food, just like language, is an inseparable part of culture. People who grow up in different areas generally end up eating different kinds of foods. Therefore, the call to ban Amala was more than the food itself, it seemed to be an attack on culture.

The foods we eat reflect our culture and shape our identity. It is not uncommon for Nigerians to pack Iru, Efo, Egusi and other such foods and local spices when going abroad. It is so all over the world. When a people move, they move with all the vestiges of their culture. Their language moves with them. Their manner of dressing goes with them. Their beliefs go with them. And their foods definitely are not left behind. The invasion of Nigeria, and Africa by extension, by European culture, traditions and particularly foods would definitely be traced back to her colonial days. 

Those days of colonialism have sure had heavy influence on us. But the recent display of unflinching support has shown that there really are Nigerians who are proud of their culture. There are Nigerians who would call Amala Amala, and not Yam flour. They would call Garri its name and not (Gosh!) Cassava flakes. They would call Akara Akara and not Beans cake.

How can it even be cake when it is not baked? By the way, these names are the most ridiculous and do not properly capture the meaning of the foods in Yoruba. They all are byproducts of a culture that is torn in hypocrisy between shame of its heritage and slavery to its oppressors. This attempt to desperately Anglicise our foods and dressing is at best a huge shame.

Should we ban Amala? Of course, no. But even if the young man had legitimate reasons for calling for it to be banned, the Yoruba in me will be remain stubborn and strong. Besides, Amala has a number of nutritional benefits and I would never deprive myself of the thrill of the delicious cuisine. The legacy of Amala must be preserved. One last thing: it is Amala, not Yam flour. 

2 Responses to Should We Really Ban Amala? -By Favour Olajide

  1. I am proud of your sense of reasoning and dedication to the Yoruba culture. You have done the Yoruba race a service. Amala is still the best. I love it!!!

    Adefemi Afolabi
    March 16, 2019 at 12:24 pm

  2. Don’t mindhim… It’s an everlasting food, andwe would liv to preserve it. Even unto the next generation – IniOluwa

    March 18, 2019 at 8:58 am

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