Sho Mo Age Mi Ni, Can’t You Call Me Aunty?

Sho Mo Age Mi Ni That You Can't You Call Me Aunty?

Okay, let us scatter this table once and for all. Leave social media first, how do you as a Nigerian address somebody that is way older than you?

It is not uncommon, in fact, it is almost normal to address someone who is way older than you with the prefix “Sister/Anti” or “Brother”, in the Western (Yoruba) parts of Nigeria. The Yoruba people call it respect for elders.

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The use of these prefixes “Anti/Sister” and “Brother” are not limited to elders. Some people use it optionally to address people within their age grade and younger than they are out of respect. And it is also considered respect to call someone whose name you don’t know “Sister” or “Brother”.

But you see, like everything in this world, people tend to abuse the original purpose of a thing. I dare say that adding the prefix “Sister/Brother” before someone’s name should be arbitrary. It is not an entitlement and most definitely not compulsory.

There are people whose self-esteem would sink into the bottomless pit if such prefixes are not included before their names. These people feel disrespected and devalued immediately.

This is funny but does calling someone “Sister/Brother” necessarily equal respect? The answer is No! Respect is actually how you treat other people, whether they are younger than you are, your equal, your superior or those simply older than you are.

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Respect is how you talk to people. Do you say because you are older than people, you have to wait for them to greet you first? People do it but the answer is NO! There is no harm in saying “hello” or “good day” first to your juniors or even a polite “Thank you”. As a matter of fact, you even gain their respect and (un)consciously inspire them to be respectful to others.

Yes, it is without a doubt proper behaviour in this part of the country not to call our elders by name so also is it false that adding the prefix “Sister/Brother” automatically equals respect for another person.

In conclusion, be respectful to everyone and treat people with fairness and kindness (except if they have done something terrible that you strip them of it) whether they are your age mates, your juniors or your seniors.

Also, stop getting offended that they did not put “Aunty/Sister” or “Brother” before your name. Except of course, if it was added to your birth certificate.


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