Kola Nuts in Different Cultures of Western Africa

Updated January 13, 2022

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Kola Nuts in Different Cultures of Western Africa essay

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Kola Nuts have been around since the 1800s and were prevalent in Western Africa. They are known to be used in both private and social settings. They are also used as a form of healing and medicine. They help with coughs and aide in digestion. They can also increase circulation, boost energy levels and metabolism and have known antibacterial benefits as well.

They were used in the past as a form of currency. They were also used to create the first cola soft drink. They are currently still used in some of today’s cultures as a negotiation over bride prices. They have also been known to be used as a source of caffeine and a flavoring additive in drinks. They are also used to show respect or as a gift to village elders.

I had the opportunity to witness a kola nut ceremony. I must say that this is a once in a life time experience. The kola nut is based out of Western Africa. The ceremony that I studied came out of Nigeria. The ceremony normally varies depending on who is attending, and the occasion that is being celebrated. When the ceremony does take place, it begins with the head person welcoming all the visitors and attendees.

The host will present a plate of kola nuts that can vary in number and size. It is usually determined by the number of visitors that are in attendance. When the plate is presented to the senior member of the delegation, he will touch it with his right hand to acknowledge that he has seen the plate. The plate is then presented to the rest of the group so that everyone else can see the plate. Once the plate is returned to the host, a kola nut is presented to each visitor while it is blessed.

It is usually the oldest or most senior member in the audience that is appointed to bless the kola nuts. While this is taking place, an appointed individual is required to break the kola nut with a knife or his hands. The rest of the kola nuts are then broken as well. After the nuts are broken, the visitors are expected to explain the purpose of their visit. Along with the kola nuts, usually palm wine or garden eggs are presented to the visitors as well.

The breaking of the kola nut is the most significant part of the ceremony. How many pieces that the nut breaks into can determine if you will receive misfortune, prosperity, or good health. If the kola nut breaks into six or more pieces, this will require a separate celebration and a slaughtering of a goat normally takes place as well.


  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kola_nut. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kola_nut: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kola_nut
  2. https://www.igboguide.org/HT-chapter8.htm. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.igboguide.org/HT-chapter8.htm: https://www.igboguide.org/HT-chapter8.htm
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Kola Nuts in Different Cultures of Western Africa. (2022, Jan 13). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/kola-nuts-in-different-cultures-of-western-africa/


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