How to party or The art of the owambe

I often talk about owambes on this blog.  ‘Owambe’ by the way is a Yoruba slang for party.  The owambes I’ve mentioned on this blog so far have taken place in Lagos.  However, recently I went to an owambe in Igbo-ora, Oyo state.

Owambes usually involve food, drink, a live band, wearing traditional attire and lots of noise.  They are always slightly chaotic.  Non-Yoruba people (and many Yoruba people) often find owambes trying.  They seem to over-stimulate the senses.  But there is a way to enjoy them.  You need to open your mind, expect to enjoy yourself, lower your expectations when it comes to food and accept the chaos as part of the party.

Here are pictures from the owambe I went to in Igbo-ora.

It’s not just rice that you can eat at owambes.  This is a plate of amala, efo and meat.

And this is the ‘after’ picture of that meal 🙂


I was back in Lagos before I realised this picture of a drummer at the party would have looked much better without the bottle of beer in front of him.  I kick myself every time I look at this picture.

I had heard of this before but this was the first time I had seen it at an owambe.  It tastes like suya.


An owambe feels a bit like a carnival sometimes with people performing and also selling all sorts.  This woman was selling herbal drinks that she claimed could cure back-pain and ahem, erectile dysfunctions.

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