Yesterday’s Tribal Mark, Today’s Tatoo

As old cultural practices gradually fades, contemporary lifestyle is rapidly taking over.  This lifestyle has exposed youths to Western culture which is sometimes at odds with Nigeria’s values and beliefs. This can be observed in our dress and food culture as well as societal interactions.

The erosion of African values are further complicated because the world is now a global village. Many sociologists have stressed that no one is shielded from this global influences.

A veritable example of how modernity is ebbing Nigerian traditions can be duly seen in the perception and acceptance of tribal marks and Tattoo. Jovago.com, Africa’s No 1 Hotel Booking Portal looks at how these facial and body arts reflect cultural changes inNigeria.


Tribal Marks

In the past tribal marks were an integral part of Nigerian culture. It was common to see persons with distinct patterns or marks on their faces. These tribal marks are not mere art forms.

According to cultural enthusiasts, the marks usually made on the face and arms were used to identify an individual’s personality, family or tribe with questioning them.

For example, persons from Oyo state, South-West Nigeria carried 4 horizontal lines drawn with a sharp object on each cheek. The same goes for other tribal groups in Nigeria.

The trend may be disappearing among the younger generation who think it is an ancient tradition but it’s important to note that it has played a significant role in African culture for centuries and may be around for even much longer.


Young men and women, celebrities, and On screen personalities, to mention but a few, are drawn to wearing tattoos. Tattoos come in different patterns and they are quite fashionable. In spite of this, some people consider individuals who wear body arts irresponsible.

The embrace of tattoos especially among the youths shouldn’t be surprising because tattoos are clearly portrayed in American movies and western pop culture music videos.

No matter the side of the divide you belong, making a fashion statement is pertinent. But, what kind of fashion statement are you making?

Tribal Marks and Tattoos are running parallel. Both show the generational gap between the aged and the young. Bridging this gap seems impossible as modernity continue to rage like wildfire consuming almost all Nigerian traditional and cultural practices that were once held dear to our hearts. Its hope that this wildfire will be cushioned.


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