I AM A TIV (A Short fictional drama)


At the market

Buyer: Give me a cooking oil with low cholesterol

Seller: ehn? (what)

Buyer: (repeats himself) I say give me a cooking oil with low cholesterol.

Seller: Mi o gbo oun to’n so, so Yoruba. (I don’t understand what you’re saying, say it in Yoruba)

Buyer did not understand her but could depict what she said from the word ‘Yoruba’ in her sentence.

Buyer: I am not Yoruba, I am a Tiv

Seller: (raised alarm) Eyin ara oja egbami oooooo. Ole wa kami mo’so lo’saan gan!!!. (My fellow marketers, please come to my rescue oo, a thief has come to rob me in broad daylight)

The other marketers rushed to the scene, buyer was confused and had to repeat himself

Buyer: Why are you shouting and raising alarm, I said I am a Tiv, I don’t understand Yoruba.

Seller: S’eetigbo, ole ni arakunrin yi o, ema je’kolo o. (Did you hear him, this man is a thief, please don’t let him escape)

The other marketers who were obviously unlettered too were already beating the Tiv man when a passerby intervened.

Passerby: What’s going on here, why are you beating the young man.

Market people: (chorused in Yoruba) He’s a thief.

The passerby turns to the TIV man.

Passerby: Young man, is that true? are you a thief?

Still doesn’t understand the trouble he was in, replied again that he is a Tiv. The passerby, obviously a well informed man understands and tried to enlighten the market women

Passerby: (In Yoruba) Let’s be patient women, a thief cannot introduce himself as a thief. This man is not a thief but a Tiv by tribe. Please let him go and apologize for beating him unjustly.

Seller: (astonished and asked in Yoruba) Is there a tribe called Tiv?

Passerby: (in Yoruba) Yes a tribe called Tiv are found in Benue state.

Seller: I see, he should have explained that he’s a Tiv by tribe and not say he’s a Tiv. (turns to the Tiv man) Please forgive me, I don’t know you aren’t a thief, I am very sorry.

The Tiv man rolled his eyes at her, hissed and made to leave when the passerby called him back.

Passerby: sorry bro, forgive the woman and her accomplice. They are obviously unlettered and don’t know there’s a tribe called Tiv, even some educated people don’t know this as well. As uneducated as this women are, they understand the word ‘thief’ to mean someone who steals and that’s why they raised alarm. This is definitely a receptive error. Sorry bro, may you never be unfortunate.

The passerby prayed and the Tiv man thanked him and left.


Expressive and receptive error is real and it can cause unexpected hullabaloo.

When communicating, make sure to put your environment into cognizance and make use of the right words to avoid expressive error.

When listening to information, be calm and be sure to absorb the information before reacting to avoid receptive error. My people do say:Yara lati gboro, lora lati fesi. This is so to avoid communication conflict.

By and large, for effective communication to take place the error of expression and reception must be avoided.


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