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Becoming Nigerian: A Guide

3.90  ·  Rating details ·  348 ratings  ·  83 reviews
In Be(com)ing Nigerian: A Guide, Elnathan John provides an affecting, unrestrained and satirical guide to the Nigerians you will meet at home and abroad, or on your way to hell and to heaven. It is a searing look at how power is performed, negotiated and abused in private and in public; in politics, business, religious institutions and in homes. From the exploration of rel ...more
Paperback, 160 pages
Published July 11th 2019 by Cassava Republic Press (first published May 1st 2019)
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Brown Girl Reading
Aug 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
This was an excellent read!!! I highly recommend for those who like reading satirical books. This one will have you laughing and shaking your head. Elnathon John does a brilliant job of breaking down what's it like to be Nigerian and to live in Nigeria. I also loved how he ends the chapters with May God bless your hustle. The book is only 145 pages and contains a phrase and expression glossary in the back.I'm not Nigerian but I did enjoy Becoming Nigerian and learned a lot about the culture and ...more
Nina Chachu
Reminded me in some ways of Peter Enahoro's classic, How to be a Nigerian, which was published in the early 1980s! That shows how long I have been in this part of the world.

I suspect some of what Elnathan John writes might apply to other countries?
Oluwafemi Ojosu
Feb 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I have no adjectives to describe the genius that is this book. It is a book every 'well meaning' Nigerian should read and as they do so, the Nigerian God will bless their hustle. ...more
Feb 24, 2019 rated it liked it
Really hilarious!
I laughed so much reading this. And I reflected too, because the reality of Nigeria pinched me hard.
Elnathan is really a good satirist, he's a good table shaker until he starts shaking the table you lie comfortably on.
Feb 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
No book has ever made me laugh this much. I enjoyed every single sentence; inasmuch as it is satire, it correctly describes how it is living and hustling in Nigeria depending on the category of profession you fall into and helps us as Nigerians reflect to improve our terrible behaviour. I highly recommend this book.
4 5 stars
This book is FUNNY and informational. The author keeps it real. Alot of it applies to Kenya hence relatable asf. Looking forward to more from this author
Dora Okeyo
Feb 08, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Satire at its best and coming from a country that's weighed down by corruption as much as Nigeria, I don't know whether to laugh or weep at how much everything he writes here feels like what I see daily.

In less than 160 pages the author takes you on a trip, a simple guide on how to be Nigerian. Quirky, witty, sharp, brutal, raw...everything that encompasses the art of being and the art of losing oneself at the mercy of a corrupt government.

Perhaps, for me the one chapter that made me stop and tr
Winnie Gichuru
Sep 16, 2019 rated it liked it
I enjoyed but there are sections I found it a bit underwhelming. but still managed to laugh. The book is not only a depiction of Nigeria but i could see Kenya as well. When you reflect on the reality of it is sad what "we" accept. Elnathan managed makes you laugh, sad, feel stupid etc.
Jul 23, 2019 rated it liked it
Found this book quite underwhelming. Read B.O.A.T years ago, and I had really high hopes for this book.
Ajibola Shodipo
Jan 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
4.5 stars. A thoroughly enjoyable easy read from the undisputed Nigerian king of satire.
Etenwa Manuel
Oct 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
Nigerians are a weird funny bunch. This book shows just that. A satire that highlights the life of Nigerians, what would otherwise be so out of place for an outsider but totally sensible for Nigerians.

It is incredibly funny and amongst other things provokes deep reflections.
Feb 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
What a hilarious book.
It truly captures the essence of Nigerianism.
Tolu Jawando
Aug 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Very funny
Nana Kesewaa
Jun 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
I am also into satire, so I enjoyed the Elnathan John’s work that critiqued aspects of Nigerian society, mainly religion, politics, migration, and corruption. I enjoyed reading this. A lot of these situations will fit for the Ghanaian society as well. My favorite part of the book was “International Connections” specifically “how to be a foreigner in Nigeria”. This was not entirely satire, but a retelling of how white foreigners behave in other countries. This part also gives voice to the many in ...more
Hauwa Samaila
Feb 17, 2020 rated it it was ok
So today I have finally built up the courage to write this half-baked review. Even as a writer, words sometimes fail me. But I promise, it’s fully formed in my head. Simply put: this book did not live up to my expectations( by now you must be thinking- well, which book has?)Anyway, I follow the author on Twitter so every now and then he brings to my timeline short reviews of the book which I must say are all praise. Perhaps because I had discovered the genius that was Elnathan while reading Dant ...more
Jodi Escalante
Dec 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A quick, engaging, laugh out loud listen regarding life in Nigeria. Feels particularly relevant as I recently moved to Kenya.
Folio Review
Jul 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Through Be(com)ing Nigerian, Elnathan John shows that he has gone through the tough Nigerian life and has built an armor of cynicism. In fact, he’s been kind enough to provide a manual of how things really work in Nigeria, for anyone who cares to read it. J

Just like John stated in his dedication, many would find this book offensive. Not because it’s bad but because it pricks their conscience.

Be(com)ing Nigerian addresses topics from a perspective most people shy away from; from child labor, Nige
Ovie Orumah
Aug 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
Satire at its peak. The book starts perfectly with good humour and a warning or better still, a friendly reminder; "To all who feel personally attacked or offended by something in this book,
With love"

The authors tackles many issues in Nigeria from social issues to just behavioural issues all with a satirical view, regarding everything we do in Nigeria as an "hustle". While the book starts with good humor it quickly depreciates into a sad affair as more and more social issues that has almost beco
Nov 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I cannot for the life of me remember the last time I read a book that had me in stitches. I could barely get through a chapter without literally laughing out loud, not a little lol, a full belly cackle.
Anyone who knows me knows that I am of the Achebe school of thought when it comes to universality which essentially just challenges western ideas that center themselves and their lives as normal as as such universally relatable. That being said, I do not believe you have to be Nigerian to thorough
Kevin Owagah
Mar 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Well the happenings are generally every African country. Africa felt like a country while reading this book. This is definitely satire at its best. Don't expect a review, how do you review a guide? The common Nigerian phrases and expressions at the end were just hilarious. Pure Kenyan

"I will not take much of your time" = Forgive me and my insensitivity. Brace yourself for a long and rambling speech.

My honest review though. Laughter is the best medicine. Unless you've read this one, then you've
Jun 13, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fave-reviews
Delightfully sarcastic, Becoming Nigerian holds up a mirror to some of the worst parts of Nigerian society (and I suspect it applies to other African countries as well given the reviews I've read). I realised the inanity of some of our cultural norms after reading the author's take on them. For example, why do we attach so much prestige to foreigners? And, how does our government get away with so much trash?

I'd recommend this book for anyone looking to question or laugh at bad behaviour. Just d
Tolu 'Pitan
Sep 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
Becoming Nigerian - A Guide by Elnathan John

From the Author of “Born on a Tuesday comes this Satire at its finest

I laughed and laughed at the succinct description of many things Nigerian

If you don’t understand sarcasm this book is not for you. In the words of the Author; “Never, ever explain Satire”

It correctly points out many Nigerian behaviors especially the ridiculous ones

Really and truly the book is a guide on Unbecoming Nigerian!

I recommend for everyone

Victor Kouassi
Oct 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Amaka Azie
Dec 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
Simply hilarious! I found myself laughing out in public while reading this.
Any Nigerian who reads this will agree with most of the points raised by the author about the general understanding of being a Nigerian.
As Nigerians often say , “we understand ourselves”
Quite true.
Most of the behaviour or phrases we are accustomed to can be quite bizarre to foreigners.
Well done to this author for the hilarious satirical exploration of what it means to be Nigerian
Temitope Oketikun
Mar 31, 2020 rated it did not like it
Although I am aware that this is book is entirely satire, I dislike this book because it simply lacks the most essential tool in literature- dynamic characters. I am completely aware of the character of Nigerians and I feel that he only highlighted negative aspects; that is completely unfair. It is not just unfair, but also not enjoyable. I think I could have really enjoyed this book if he accounted for the true complexity of Nigerians.
Zainab Hassan
Dec 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
Becoming Nigerian by Elnathan john
Without taking much of your time I will like to thank God that give me the opportunity to review this book with you guys😂
To be sincere this is not the type of genre I normally go for and I was reluctant but it was worthwhile, I love his humor and I can say it is a creative nonfiction,
though I disagree with him on certain aspects but is satirical work after all
"God bless our hustle" is my quote cuz in nigeria we are all hustlers.
Teresa Bonyo
Mar 28, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This was a lovely read.

Very satirical, witty and apt. The truths there in apply to all Africans, not just Nigerians.

I love especially the sections on "How to own a slave, how to be a politician, how to be a police officer, how to be a middle class, how to be a good African...the section on local and international saviours...I absolutely loved this book and will read it over and over again until it becomes....A guide
Temi Akinrinade
Jun 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Humorous discretion of modern Nigerian society

Thoroughly recommend for anyone seeking to better understand the drivers, wants, values & norms of Nigerian society today. Rather than simply relying on the tired trope of corruption is cultural, John expertly explains why these practices are the most effective way to make progress or "hussle" within the context.
Michael Escalante
Feb 24, 2021 rated it really liked it
Poignant, thought provoking read that doesn’t take itself too seriously. The author pokes fun at Nigerian culture and it got me thinking a lot about some of my dated and unhealthy cultural practices and attitudes. Quick and worthwhile read particularly for anyone interested in Africa or the developing world.
Jubril Edu
Mar 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book is fun to read as it captures the ills of Nigerian society in a satirical manner. Most people involved got the stick, from political leaders to religious leaders to the roadside mechanics. Short and a great read.
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Elnathan is a writer and lawyer living in spaces between in Nigeria and Germany. Mostly.

His works have appeared in Hazlitt, Per Contra, Le Monde Diplomatique, FT and the Caine Prize for African Writing anthology 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016. He writes weekly political satire for the Nigerian newspaper Daily Trust on Sunday (and any other publication that PAYS him). Except you are The New Yorker, he

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