top of page

The Art of Appropriateness

In the rich tapestry of Yorùbá culture, there exists a profound understanding of the importance of appropriateness in our emotions, expressions, and words. Rooted in ancient wisdom and guided by cultural norms, the Yorùbá people recognize that the manner in which we convey ourselves can deeply impact our relationships, interactions, and the overall harmony of society. In this essay, we delve into the reasons why the Yorùbá emphasize the necessity of appropriateness in various situations, exploring the cultural sensibility that underpins this principle.

Respect for Social Harmony:

One of the central tenets of Yorùbá culture is the value placed on social harmony and cohesion. The Yorùbá people understand that maintaining harmonious relationships within the community is essential for collective well-being and progress. Therefore, they prioritize the use of appropriate emotions, expressions, and words to ensure that interactions remain respectful, dignified, and conducive to cooperation and mutual understanding.

Cultural Codes of Conduct:

Yorùbá culture is rich in codes of conduct and etiquettes that govern social interactions. These cultural norms provide guidelines for appropriate behavior in various contexts, dictating how individuals should express themselves based on factors such as age, status, and the nature of the situation. For example, there are specific greetings, gestures, and forms of address reserved for elders, leaders, and other respected figures, reflecting the hierarchical structure of Yorùbá society.

Preservation of Dignity and Respect:

Central to the Yorùbá understanding of appropriateness is the preservation of dignity and respect for oneself and others. Yorùbá people are taught from a young age to be mindful of their words and actions, ensuring that they do not cause offense or dishonor to themselves or those around them. This emphasis on dignity and respect fosters a culture of mutual consideration and empathy, where individuals strive to uplift and support one another in their interactions.

Effective Communication:

In addition to promoting social harmony and respect, the emphasis on appropriateness in Yorùbá culture also facilitates effective communication. By choosing the right emotions, expressions, and words for each situation, individuals can convey their intentions clearly and accurately, minimizing misunderstandings and conflicts. Whether in personal relationships, business dealings, or community settings, the ability to communicate appropriately is key to building trust, fostering cooperation, and achieving mutual goals.

Cultural Continuity and Identity:

The emphasis on appropriateness in Yorùbá culture serves as a means of preserving cultural continuity and identity. By adhering to traditional norms of behavior and communication, Yorùbá people uphold the values and principles passed down through generations, ensuring that their cultural heritage remains vibrant and relevant in the modern world. In this way, appropriateness becomes not only a matter of social decorum but also a means of connecting to one's roots and affirming one's identity as a member of the Yorùbá community.


In conclusion, the Yorùbá understanding of appropriateness in emotions, expressions, and words is rooted in a deep appreciation for social harmony, respect, effective communication, and cultural continuity. By adhering to cultural norms and codes of conduct, Yorùbá people navigate social interactions with grace, dignity, and empathy, ensuring that their relationships remain strong, their communication is clear, and their cultural heritage is preserved for generations to come.


Alaje Fadesiye

0 views0 comments


bottom of page