Monday, January 25, 2016

Nigerian Singer Tiwa Savage, featuring Leo Wonder - "Ife Wa Gbona" (Yoruba & Nigerian Pidgin English Comments)

Edited by Azizi Powell

This is Part II of a two part pancocojams series on the Nigerian Afro-Beat love song "Ife Wa Gbona" performed by Tiwa Savage featuring Leo Wonder.

Part II showcases the video of that song and also provides selected comments from that video's discussion thread. Those selected comments include Yoruba and/or in Nigerian Pidgin English.
Online sources are used to provide translations of some of those comments.

Click for Part I of this series. Part I showcases the official video of that song and includes the song's lyrics with some English translations of the Yoruba, Nigerian Pidgin English, and African American Vernacular English words and phrases along with my comments about some of these translations and possible translations.

The content of this post is presented for cultural and linguistic purposes.

All copyrights remain with their owners.

Thanks to the composer of this song. Thanks also to Tiwa Savage, Leo Wonder, and all those who were associated with the song's and the video's production. Thanks to all those who are quoted in this post and thanks to the publisher of this video on YouTube.

SHOWCASE VIDEO: Tiwa Savage - Ife Wa Gbona Ft. Leo Wonder [Official Video]

officialtiwasavage, Published on Oct 8, 2012


All of these comments are from the YouTube discussion thread for the official video for "Ife Wa Gbona" performed by Tiwa Savage featuring Leo Wonder "

These comments are presented in relative chronological order with the oldest comments given first, except for replies. However, these comments may not be in consecutive order.

The Yoruba or Nigerian Pidgin English sentences, words, or phrases are given in italics. The meanings that I've found for those words are given under the quoted comment.

I'm not a linguist. I know no other language but English. I searched for the meanings of these Yoruba, Nigerian Pidgin English (and sometimes other Nigerian language) words and phrases in these comments because I was curious about what they might mean in the context of those comments.

The following online sources were used for these translations: (Yoruba to English translations), Google translates, and Federal Government Girls' College Bwari Abuja, Pidgin Dictionary.

In addition, I searched for meanings for the Nigerian Pidgin English terms in several forum threads whose links are given below.

The results given at Google translate and the Yoruba to English translation site almost always the same. I searched the Pidgin dictionary when the meanings given by those first two sources didn't make any sense in English.

That said, here's a pertinent comment about translating Nigerian Pidgin English from
Re: What Did He Mean? I'm not nigerian, Help please! by kech(f): 6:20am On Mar 22, 2010
"...please don't let nairaland confuse u ooo. Pidgin English, a kind of lingo in Nigeria,is kinda hard to interpret in plain English. People will interpret it different ways. You have to look at the context in which it's used."...
A longer version of that quote is given below under the comment given as #2.

Also, here's an interesting, informative and witty online blog post about what that author called "Brokin" (Nigerian Pidgin English) "Nigeria's Real Lingua Franca".

I've included my own comments about some of these words/phrases and about some of these definitions - particularly those translations from Google Translate that I'm doubtful about.

Additions, corrections, and comments are welcome.

I've assigned numbers to these comments for referencing purposes only.

1. BlueNigerian
"OMG this sounds so much better than the audio version and i can actually hear the drum. the video was just perfect and dont take this the wrong way, but girl the naija village luk suits u chai now wow 4dis 1 ooooooo biko nne make u dey carry dey go...nd i also luv d chemistry between u nd Leo Wonder ok now im done once again this was gr8!!!"
Nigerian Pidgin English portion of sentence with an Igbo word {?)- ...the girl the naija (Nigerian) village luk (look)suits u (you) chai (Good grief) now wow for this I oooo biko [please] nne [Igbo language word meaning "sister") make u dey carry dey go (don't go away).
The definition for "nne" is from

2. Ms. DeeDee Dion
Loving this song! Tiwa na you Bico!
Nigerian Pidgin English: "Tiwa, my hat goes off to you"

Read this quote from
"What Did He Mean? I'm not nigerian, Help please! by kech(f): 6:20am On Mar 22, 2010
"Fiswu please don't let nairaland confuse u ooo. Pidgin English, a kind of lingo in Nigeria,is kinda hard to interpret in plain English. People will interpret it different ways. You have to look at the context in which it's used. If you interpret it literally (From pidgin to plain English), it means:
Na you be my madam -You're my boss
Na you biko - It's you please.
But the above makes no sense in the context you are talking about. Pidgin english should not be read literally. Most times it looks like one thing and means another.

In the context in which he's using it (judging from what you said), he probably means:
Na you be my madam - You're my girl, I know you so well/You know me so well ( Note: "girl" could mean a close friend or a girl friend)
Na you biko - a slang that means " I doff my hat to you!" or "My hat goes off to you" or " I hail you!"."...
-snip- indicates that "Biko: Please. Derived from Igbo biko".

3. David Hollarlaycon
"I love my culture,the best in Africa...Omo Yoruba ni mi"
"I'm a Yoruba child."

Google translates definition made no sense in the context of that sentence. That translation was "English is my baby". So I looked for other online translations. I found lyrics for this song "Pon Pon Pon" by Haywaya
A contributor wrote that "Omo naija ni mi" is a statement in yoruba which means “Im a Nigerian kid".

4. babatunde samson
o ga ju , totally african
Google Translates from Yoruba to English: "o ga ju" = That was great.

5. Motun Toyin
"I must play this at my wedding o di dan dan"
I don't know what those words mean.

6. Studio Yor
"Engagement party, introduction party, knock knock party, thanks giving party, traditional wedding party, "white" wedding party, divorce party, separation party.....All crap!
Abeggi, am liking the mini skirt wrapper. Nice song."
A lot of commenters wrote that they were going to use "Ife Wa Gbona" as their wedding song and/or engagement song. The commenter may have been voicing his or her annoyance with these kinds of comments.

"Abeg" is a Nigerian Pidgin English word whose meaning is given as "Please". It seems likely that "abeg" came from the English words "I beg of you".

That said, in the context of this comment, I wonder if that word means something like "Regardless of what I just wrote" or "Nevertheless"...

7. victor dosumu
"Check out the voices, the dance abi steps, the people and the music itself. Kai Kai I'm happy to be naija o!! Please keep it up Giwa."
I don't know what "abi steps" mean. Google translates from Yoruba to English gives "lightning" as the meaning of "abi". Perhaps "dance abi steps" mean fast (uptempo) steps. indicates that "Kai-kai" means "Home made gin. See Apketeshi."

Clearly, that phrase means something else in the comment that is quoted above.

That page gives this meaning for the "o" at the end of the sentence "I'm happy to be naija o!!": "O!: Placed at the end of sentences for emphasis and effect E.g. I go broke bottle for yua head O!"

The narrator in a YouTube video on Nigerian traditional hairstyles noted that the "o" at the end of Yoruba sentences served and still serves the same function as the exclamation point in English.

I don't know what "Giwa" means.

Somewhat as an aside, it seems to me (from reading a number of YouTube contemporary Nigerian music discussion threads) that the saying "Keep it up" (or "Keep up [person's name] is used a lot. My guess is that these sayings may be similar to or forms of the older [?] and still (I think) commonly used saying "Stand up". (For instance, Nigeria, stand up!". However, "Keep up" and "Keep it up" is probably closer to the English saying "Keep up the good work" meaning "Keep doing what you are doing" instead of the meaning of "Stand up" (for instance, stand together for Nigeria). I think that the African American Vernacular English term "reppin" (meaning "representing") is probably close to or similar to the contemporary meaning of "Stand up ___".

8. Abiodun Omotayo
in reply to David Hollarlaycon
"Tiwa savage is truly a diva,wish i can have someone like her as a wife not a girlfriend i mean a are such a blessing.respect you are queen.Tiwa o de ni baje"
Google translates gives the English translation "it is broken" for the Yoruba phrase "o de ni baje". What does that mean in the context of this comment. That phrase is also included in the lyrics to "Ife Wa Gbona". What does it mean in that song?

9. ayoiawe
in reply to ylomaxta
but I don't like autotune anywat, so wetin be ur point
A number of commenters wrote that while they liked the song and the video, they didn't like the singers' use of autotune (or what they thought was the autotune). This is one comment in response to that criticism.

In 2013 another commenter Oyinda4lyfe wrote this "For the last time it isn't Autotune. That's how yoruba fuji music sound like!"

"Wetin"- Nigerian Pidgin English word meaning "what" or "what is".
nana Kay
bobo nothing do U.....LOVING IT !!!! just that i need the translation to the language.....if any could help.
Read my comments immediately below for the meaning of the word Nigerian Pidgin English word "bobo".

10. Tumisang Lets
"ths song s dfnatly gna b ma wedding boo boo ooo"
This comment combines text talk/writing with standard English and Nigerian Pidgin English.
"This song is definitely gonna be my wedding song... my boo boo ["main man"]*
*to substitute an African American colloquial term for the Nigerian Pidgin English's definition of "boo boo" (trendy guy). It should also be noted that the Nigerian referent "boo boo" isn't pronounced like the English word "boo". I heard those words in that song pronounced like "bahbah", but I might be wrong about that.

Also, to complicate things, the song "Ife Wa Gbona" also includes the African American Vernacular English word "boo" (one meaning of which is Boyfriend, or Girlfriend, as in one's lover. "Boo" can also be a mildly affectionate term for another person. In AAVE, "boo" rhymes with "too" and "you". However, it comes from the French word "beau" which is pronounced like the word "oh".

11. Kyky Kins
"Ife wa gbona - Our love is burning hot."

12. Ayomide Bamidele
"gbona means hot, so what it means is burning love for each other."
These are explanations of the Yoruba words in the song title "Ife Wa Gbona".

13. Deji Otitoju
"orin yi dun feli feli
Google translate gives this translation:
"this music sounds shovel shovel".
I'm doubtful of that translation. What does "feli feli" really mean?

14. Stephen Awo Okungbowa
"gal u 3 much eeh...a mllion gboza 4 ur head...u rock,just too dope
This sentence is an example of the common custom (judging from contemporary YouTube African music discussion threads) of combining African American Vernacular English (slang) with standard English and/or Nigerian Pidgin English. This example also combines text/internet talk/writing with those other colloquial language forms. gal ...(text talk/writing u 3 (even more than 2 (too) much... a million "gboza" all for your head [Does this mean "You are worth a million dollars"?] u rock, just dope (AAVE, both essentially meaning "You're great."

15. ajideogo
see my wife oo
The "o's" at the end of the sentence are for emphasis.

16. Nicky Yazid
I go wed o, weddings Temitope Tiwa
This is another example of a Nigerian Pidgin English sentence with the "o" at the end of a sentence or phrase. "Temitope" is the singer Tiwa Savage's Yoruba name.

17. Sam Snigath
"I love everythg about d song , d movie concept , i love d bobo too so much coz hes got some cool acting skills also tiwatope sure i do love u . I already dedicated dis song to my lovely angel coz truly ife wa gbona...lolz madly in love with dis music video..naija da best in creative world."
This is another comment that combines contemporary text writing with Nigerian Pidgin English. In the context of this comment "d bobo" (the bobo) refers to the singer Leo Wonder.

Read the comment above for the meaning of "bobo".

This concludes Part II of this series.

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