American and Nigerian Culture
American and Nigerian cultures are alike in some aspects of life, while
being dissimilar in other aspects. This idea is clearly exemplified when one
compares their own experience and knowledge of culture in America to that
description and portrayal of Nigerian culture as seen through Buchi Emecheta’s
novel, The Wrestling Match.
Both of our societies can be looked at as parallel in how teenagers are
typically stereotyped, rivalry among towns/villages, and the attainment of
manhood or maturity through experiences or accomplishments.
Contrary to the similarity of the cultures, there are also some basic
differences. One of the main distinctions is that we live in a technologically
advanced empire while Emecheta shows us that Nigerians are more typically a
No matter in what culture you find teenagers, they will probably be
stereotyped. This is evident in the novel as well as in our own culture. For
example, the Akpei people (neighbors to the nearby Igbuno village) have
found that someone has fished and trampled in their stream. ( This is a very
bad thing because the vegetation and fish are now no longer available) The blame
immediately lands upon the Uma aya Biafra, or teenagers of Igbuno. There is no
question, it is just assumed that teenagers were involved. (Unfortunately, Uche,
a teenager from Igbuno, has committed this heinous crime). Also, when the people
of Akpei find that someone is stealing from their huts, again without any
evidence, they surmise that teenagers are to blame. Lastly, Okei’s ( Okei is a
teen who lives in Igbuno and is the novel’s main character) Uncle Obi Agiliga is
convinced that the teenagers of Igbuno are setting an terrible immoral example
for the upcoming generation.
How many teenagers in our society have not had an immediate finger of
blame pointed at them when something happens or goes wrong? How many of us have
not been told what a terrible example we are setting for our younger siblings?
Teenagers seem to be synonymous with rude, obnoxious, and difficult, stubborn,
Another similarity of cultures gleaned from Emecheta’s writing is
reaction to rivalry. A very important event to the villages in the novel was
the wrestling match which pits the Akpei Uma aya Biafra against the Igbuno Uma
aya Baifra. There is much preparation of the athletes and many people attend.
In addition, at the market, the Akpei people would not purchase produce from
Josephine Kwutelu and other girls also from Igbuno since they are from the
A similar event we have right here in the Pennridge Community is the
annual Pennridge -Quakertown Football game. It generates quite a rivalry, much
time is spent in preparation and many many people attend.
Finally, in both Nigerian and American cultures, it is perceived that
manhood is dependent upon certain achievements. The wrestling match symbolizes
the coming into manhood of the Nigerian teenager. Also, working on the farm with
your father in Nigeria is another step toward manhood.
In America, a job, the right to vote, graduation from high school, and
even owning or driving a car seem to be thought of as indications of manhood or
Though our cultures seem alike in the above ways, they are very
different in their technological status. We in America enjoy computers, modems,
faxes,video equipment, cellular phones, huge supermarkets, and discount stores,
etc. These are not restricted only to city dwellers or the upper class, many of
these things are commonplace. In Nigeria however, the bulk of the population
lives a much more primitive lifestyle without the advantages,privileges, and
benefits that these modern conveniences provide. ( Of course, they also do not
have the problems generated by these modern wonders).