Ubang: The African community where men and women speak different languages
Generally speaking, the difference between a man and a woman around the world is their gender, but it’s more than that in Ubang, a rural community in southern Nigeria. Men and women speak different languages in the farming community situated between two mountains in Obudu Local Government Area, Cross River State, Nigeria, and they understand each other perfectly.
Estimated to more than five thousand, the inhabitants believe that God gave them the words that make up the two languages, and no language is superior to the other.
Boys grow up speaking the language of women, possibly because they spend much of their childhood with their mothers, but they should be speaking the language of men by the age of 10.
“There is a stage the male will reach and he discovers he is not using his rightful language. Nobody will tell him he should change to the male language,” Chief Oliver Ibang told BBC in 2018.
When the boy starts speaking the men language, you know the maturity is coming into him.
Chief Ibang said that if a child does not adjust to the correct language by a certain age, they are considered “abnormal” in Ubang, which is made up of three villages-Okwersing, Ofambe and Okiro.
But what brought about the language uniqueness that they are so proud of?
Chief Ibang explained: “Adam and Eve were created by God and they were from Ubang.”
“That’s why Ubang has the advantage of two languages – we are different from other people in the world.” he explained.
Chief Ibang’s tale was corroborated four years earlier by Ogbe Sylvanus Odobi, an elder from the community.
“He started with us (Ubang) since it is our mountain that He stood to distribute the languages and His footprint is still etched on that rock till today,” Odobi said.
“It was after God had distributed the languages to the men and women of Ubang that He realized that if He proceeded to give each one for both sexes, the languages would not go around the communities and so He decided to give the other communities one language for both genders”
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