MYTH OR FACT: DO THE TIV PEOPLE OFFER SEX AS A FORM OF HOSPITALITY?

Hannah Ejiomofor

Please pardon me for being a wild thinker (laughs). I’ve heard a lot of things since my twenty years on earth but the most sexiest to me is that of the Tiv hospitality tradition. Wow! its quite funny for real.

Ever since I heard of it, the only thing I could picture is me being the wife of a very nabob Tiv man; then one night, we get a distress call from the community that some group of foreigners had a flat tyre while travelling through our town.
As generous and welcoming as ever, the foreigners were accommodated and given the best welcome as usual. One of the foreigners was to stay with us. Mr X was very excited, I imagined because I could picture him chatting with my husband as he consumes the large bowl of pounded yam and soup I served. Then later that night, I will go over to offer him wrapper to serve as a blanket as custom demands but when he opens the door, I will walk in shyly then stare at him until we finally make out.

Another sexual experience with a stranger all in the name of hospitality! I don’t even want to imagine what my husband would ask me the following morning, “did you enjoy the sex? Was he better than me? Did you finally attain orgasm?” or maybe he might not ask but just ponder within himself.

For purpose of clarity, Tiv is an ethnic group in Nigeria. According to Wikipedia, they are a major division of the Benue -Congo and Niger-Congo language family and they constitute approximately 3.5% of Nigeria’s total population and number about 6.5 million individuals throughout Nigeria and Cameroon.

Just as the Igbo tribes are known for their love of money, the Tiv tribe has their own misconception, which is the sharing of their wives with visitors in the name of hospitality. The Tiv people are very hospitable and accommodating, owing to their strong philosophy of solidarity which is “Ya kwagh na wan igban” meaning “Eat and share with your brother”. But this act of kindness towards visitors have been misinterpreted because people seem to believe that the Tiv men can go any length to make their visitor feel welcomed.

Some have it that most Tiv men who might not want to give off their wives, do give off their daughters, mostly their eldest daughters. Though this still happens till today in most Tiv families, it has been eroded in some other families by education and religion.

4 Replies to “MYTH OR FACT: DO THE TIV PEOPLE OFFER SEX AS A FORM OF HOSPITALITY?”

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