NUANCE OF ASO-EBI AND ANKO


Yoruba people of Nigeria have at various times been listed as the happiest people in the world. A close look at them would reveal people who have a high affinity for associating, ambience, music, exuberance and self-display. Sometimes borders on excess.

These put together present in ubiquitous partying. They party when it makes them happy and when it makes them sad. My daughter gleefully and succinctly verbalized it one day as, “I love African visit. They come unannounced and leave everybody joyfully with a party”. This lifestyle has rubbed off on our children born abroad, many tribes and countries of Africa.

They are the ones who would have “anko” or “aso-ebi”. To express the joy of being friends, a coterie would go to the market and buy uniform fabrics to wear with or without any special event. This is pronounced “an-koh-oh”. Anko is usually worn by people of the same gender, with similar demographics like age, members of the same club and social status. This is also called “aso-ebi” today because the nuance is lost to many.

Every aso-ebi is anko. Anko simply means look alike or uniform. Not every anko is aso-ebi.

“Aso-ebi” is worn by all members of a family to distinguish the celebrants. This is usually associated with celebrations whether in sadness or joy. It is open to all ages, gender and socio-economic of status of biological members of an extended family. In recent years when friends travel home with us, they also identify with our families by buying what others in the family wear. It is acceptable especially when members of the family are people society is proud to identify with.

Commercialization sometimes makes such difficult to define. People look for ways to buy aso-ebi of socialites, affluents or diginitaries not known to them personally. It neither falls under aso-ebi or anko. It is good business and this is a welcome metamorphosis.