Dear MTN Nigeria,

Today I was sent a link to the ad you placed on the popular Instagram page #Instablog9ja! The one with Scientific Ayomide and Intelligent Tope.

For the sake of those who might not have seen the ad, allow me to explain what you were advertising.

It was a video advertising your new partnership with Disney. In the ad, Tope is shown looking over Ayomide’s shoulders as she’s watching a Disney cartoon on her phone. Tope then quizzes Ayomide, “Ayomide, yesterday you were watching Moana but today you’re watching Lion King, show me the way now”. 

Ayomide doesn’t intend to show her brother the way but instead makes him carry out chores. Their older brother walks into the room as Tope is jumping up and down calling Ayomide ‘Aunty Ayomide’. Turns out their brother had subscribed for both of them to watch the cartoons and Tope didn’t need to be shown any way.

According to the ad, the new web service provided by MTN Nigeria will allow users to access Disney trailers, recipes, movies, series, wallpapers and so much more! A whole new world in the palm of your hands.

I have to commend you and the young stars for producing a simple yet effective advert. The last time I checked, your ad had clocked over 158,858 views on the page.

You may then be wondering why I am writing this open letter to you!

Well, it’s simple, I took some time to go through your social media handles and the dedicated website for this new partnership and true enough, our children can step into ‘a whole new world, a new fantastic point of view’. Basically all the Disney favourites dey there jaburata! 

Excuse my vernacular!

MTN NIGERIA! MTN NIGERIA! MTN NIGERIA! How many times did I call you? Three times abi! 

I will get upset with you!! Is like I need to go foreen!! (sic) #MrForeen

Oh, wait! You beat me to it! You have already gone foreign! You are using Nigerian stars to promote American productions.

This is not a rant or a ploy to get unwanted attention. It is an appeal.

I am appealing to you, don’t go foreign! 

Empower the amazingly talented animators, illustrators, filmmakers, producers etc that we have in Nigeria. Have you seen the brilliant productions by home-grown talents such as Turtle Taido, Akin Alabi Films, Anthill Studios, Bino and Fino etc etc? 

What is the difference between Thor and our Sango or Zena the Warrior Princess and our Queen Amina? I’ll leave you to try to answer that question!

Why do you need to partner with a giant like Disney in Nigeria! Why not create opportunities for young talented Nigerians to produce cartoons and movies that Nigerian children would be happy to watch both home and abroad? Cartoons where they see characters that look like them. The world has clocked on that #RepresentationMatters but it seems you didn’t get this memo. 

Why are you watering someone else’s rainforest and not the grass in your own garden?

Let’s build Nigeria together. The grass is greener where we water it! 

I’m playing my part with CultureTree. We are making sure our children will be proud to call themselves Nigerians and are learning our language and culture. Perhaps you might want to partner with us, perhaps not but las las we go dey alright.

I hope you do take what I’ve said onboard, not just you but also those in our government who are always trying to go ‘foreign’!

I get a lot of messages from monolingual parents asking for advice and tips on how to teach their child a language they don’t speak themselves. ⁣

⁣The key objective is for your child to find the need to speak the language. You need to find opportunities for him/her to speak the language as naturally as possible.

Sharing some advice/tips of how to do that below:⁣

⁣# 1. Have your child spend time with a native speaker⁣

Research shows that by exposing your child to social interactions, they can have the same level of phonetic recognition as a child who is surrounded by the language their entire lives. ⁣

⁣Interactions with a live person provides your children with social cues that can hold their attention in a way that less dynamic formats, such as audio recordings and DVDs, can.⁣

⁣Contact a bilingual family member or friend who can spend time with your child. You can set up playdates or excursions in which this person can speak to your child in the target language, thus creating a truly immersive experience.⁣

# 2. Find media in your target language⁣

While using audio or video media to learn a language may be less effective than in-person interactions, it is a more feasible option that can allow your child to gain exposure to language acquisition. I would highly recommend finding music in the language that both you and your child can enjoy together.⁣

# 3. Use child-friendly language-learning software⁣

There are dozens of programs and apps out there that help young learners immerse themselves in another language. ⁣

⁣For Yoruba, I highly recommend apps by Geniigames

⁣If you know of any others for African languages, please feel free to share in the comments section.⁣

# 4. Find extracurricular activities in target language⁣

If you are having difficulty finding native speakers in your community, you can consider enrolling your child in an extracurricular activity in which he/she can be exposed to your target language. This may take the shape of formalised lessons with a tutor, or of activities that just happen to take place in that language. ⁣

⁣For those who follow any particular faith, you may even consider attending a place of worship where that language is spoken predominantly.⁣

⁣Shameless plug 😁: We offer private tuition and Yoruba classes at CultureTree Centre and will soon be adding more African languages to our offerings.⁣

# 5. Learn the language together⁣

While this may be the most time-consuming option of all, if you have the time and are interested in learning the language, you can make this a team effort. A child will be willing and interested in learning a new language if he/she sees that his/her parents show an interest and passion for this language.

Through adult courses or language-learning programs, you can master the language and slowly teach your child what you learn. It may be the longest route, but it is one that will have you and your child bonding through your mutual learning.⁣

⁣Once you incorporate language-learning into yours and your child’s routine, you are likely to see new linguistic and cognitive development.



Recently, I got the below message from a Dad who wanted advice on how I balanced teaching my kids English and Yoruba.

Hello! I’ve just come across your channel on YouTube and all I have to say is, wow! What a great and useful work you’re doing. The videos are very well-done. I’m writing you from the Republic of Benin, where Yorùbá is widely spoken as well. I have been exposing my 15 month old daughter to your content little by little. It is even helping me as well, as I am of a Canadian/Caribbean background and have been retracing my Yorùbá roots here in Benin. I had a quick question for you. I was wondering how you went about balancing teaching your daughter English and Yorùbá? Any advice would be appreciated. Thank you so much for your efforts. Take care!

Aaron JR

I thought it would be interesting to get other people’s perspective as I had written some tips before on teaching kids Yoruba here. I put out a message on social media asking people to share their thoughts and I was so pleased when I received the below messages.

“You’re doing well, my sister. More power to you. For the person who asked, my current suggestion is to simply speak both. Bombard the baby with as much of both languages as possible. These babies’ brains can pick up languages and properly cluster them so don’t be scared to teach them multiple languages simultaneously. If you can use each language on alternating days, go ahead. If you can use each language for certain functions, go ahead. Sometimes also, if there are enough accessible people, each person talking to the child may strictly use his/her desired language only for communication.”



“First of all, I would like to commend your efforts and the great work you are doing through Culture Tree TV. Your passion for the work comes through beautifully. I imagine how much work you have to do to produce such high quality videos. This is to let you know there are many people like me who really appreciate what you are doing. Well done and please keep up the good work!

Secondly, I am responding to a message sent to you by a mum asking for ideas on how to effectively teach her 15 month old both English and Yoruba. I would like to share my experience.

I am a mum to 3 year old twins. They were born in the UK and have only visited Nigeria once. They speak Yoruba fluently! In fact, they currently speak more Yoruba than English.
A major factor in teaching language effectively is the PASSION of the parent. We cannot give what we do not have. Children will naturally pick up on the level of passion/interest that they see in their parents. For language teaching to be effective, it should be part of our everyday lives, not just at set periods of learning. From when they wake up till when they sleep, children should be surrounded by the language we want them to learn. I mean morning prayers, bathtime, breakfast, lunch, dinner, asking about their day, telling them stories, choice of music, dressing etc…the more we communicate with them in that language, they more they are being exposed to it; the more they learn and the more they speak.
CONSISTENCY is another key factor. We send confusing messages to our kids when we, as parents, constantly switch between languages, especially in the early/formative years (under age 5). The kids become unsure of which language dominates at home and eventually settle for the language that is popular with their peers. I have observed that generally, grandparents seem to be able to teach native language effectively. How? they just continue speaking that language to the child, day in day out. They are not bothered about the child responding or not. It works, because the child is learning by “receptive listening”. One day, the child suddenly says a word out of the blues (or so it seems). Gradually, the child starts speaking more and more words until they speak fluently.
Let us also add FUN to the list. This is why I love the variety on Culture Tree TV. There are rhymes, stories, and different learning activities to choose from…if my son’s interest is music, I would introduce variety of songs or different styles of music in the language I want him/her to learn. If my daughter loves reading, I would buy her books in that language. In other words, I would stimulate their interest in the language I want them to learn through what they are already passionate about.
I have realised that when a child is well grounded in their mother tongue, it becomes easier for them to learn other languages. As parents, I think we underestimate the innate ability that children have to interprete languages. I do not teach my kids English. They pick it up naturally from the environment. I see them switch conveniently between English and Yoruba when they need to. However they know the language spoken at home is Yoruba.
I hope this helps and I wish us all the best as we teach our children.”


Thank you Oluwadamilola and Ololade for your candid advice.

I hope it is helpful to Aaron and anyone else on the journey to raising bilingual kids!


In the midst of sadness let us be joyful, in the midst of division let us show unity, in the midst of hate let us show love. In doing so, we are heaping burning coals on the heads of the enemy!

It is an honour for CultureTree to be part of Westminster City Council’s inaugural #MyWestminster Day taking place on Sunday 18th June at Paddington Recreation Ground. The event marks the #GreatGetTogether, where neighbours get together as part of a national celebration of everything we have in common in memory of Jo Cox MP.

Following Jo Cox’s horrific murder in June 2016 and the recent tragic attacks in Manchester, London and around the world by a group perpetuating hate and terror, #WeStandTogether! This event and many more planned across the city is a chance for us to showcase our diverse neighbourhoods, cultures & faith and what makes London such a vibrant city. It’s a chance for us to show that we stand for unity & peace!

The event is free! There will be free food tasters from around the world, live entertainment & lots of free activities for the whole family.

CultureTree will be providing entertainment on the Band Stand. We are so excited and looking forward to the event!

Here’s a video of what you can expect from us on the day.

At Pop Up Africa’s #AfricaatSpitalfields2017 event at Spitalfields market, Liverpool Street, London (Monday 29th May 2017).

#MyWestminter Day event details:

Date: Sunday 18th June 2017
Time: 11:00 – 15:00
Location: Paddington Recreation Ground, Carlton Vale, London, NW6 5EP

To register your interest in attending please visit:

See you there!


We are excited to announce that our interactive Yoruba parent and toddler playgroup, CultureTree Play Club, will begin from Saturday 10th June till Saturday 12th August 2017.

It will take place every Saturday from 10:30am – 11:30am at Surrey Quays Shopping Centre. Your kids will learn Yoruba nursery rhymes and songs, have fun and make new friends.

Meet the CultureTree Play Club Team


Ayo-Dele – ‘Joy has come home’

Ayo-Dele is an Actress, Singer, and Songwriter. Her theatre credits include: The Secret Lives of Baba Segi‘s Wives, Iyalode Of Eti, Mandela Project, The Gods Are Not To Blame, The Lion And The Jewel and many many more. Her debut album ’Forever Becoming’ explores identity and includes an eclectic mix of Yoruba and English songs.

Ayo-Dele speaks Yoruba fluently and will be using her creative direction to teach kids Yoruba at CultureTree Play Club.


Aramide – ‘My kind/people has come’

Aramide is a Mum of two who loves children. As a children’s party entertainer she is a natural performer with bundles of energy and enthusiasm. Her bubbly personality keeps kids happy and fully engaged.

Aramide’s passion is singing and she will be doing a lot of this with the kids at CultureTree Play Club.


Phoebe – ‘Bright/Pure’

Phoebe brings something special to the team. She is trained in British Sign Language (BSL) and has worked in various local schools teaching sign and deaf awareness. She will be using her signing skills to teach our kids & parents how to sign simple words and Yoruba songs at CultureTree Play Club!


Oluwa-Gbemisola – ‘God has lifted me into wealth’

Gbemisola is a mum of two girls, 4 yrs old and 19 months old. She loves Yoruba language and her passion is teaching kids to speak it fluently. You may recognise her voice on the CultureTreeTV Yoruba nursery rhymes and stories. Her goal is to build a network of parents who want to keep their roots & language alive no matter where they live in the world; and to make CultureTree a global brand!



A while ago, I posted a video of me having a chat with my friend from Gambia who speaks 6 languages and is raising her children to be bilingual in Fula and English. You can watch the video here.

Recently, I met up with Vlogger Bibiana Yetty. Bibiana is a wife and working mum of three (3 year old boy & girl twins and a 9 month old baby boy). She has a family and lifestyle channel on YouTube where she shares her day to day life, encouragement and journey of faith, marriage and motherhood with a young growing family.

Bibiana was born in Nigeria but came to live in the U.K. when she was very young. Just like Anthony Oluwafemi Olaseni Joshua (Omo Yoruba & the world heavyweight champion), when asked if she speaks Yoruba, she responded ‘diye diye’, meaning ‘little little’.

In our chat, we discussed her desire to teach her kids Yoruba, the challenges of being a non-speaker who would like to raise her children to be bilingual, the relevance of learning our mother tongue and much more.

If you would like to join Bibiana and other parents who want to teach their kids Yoruba, then register for CultureTree Play Club.

Perfect for children as young as 6 months up to 6 years old, we use nursery rhymes, stories, games and musical instruments to bring our multi-sensory sessions alive.

Register your interest in CultureTree Play Club


I recently granted an interview to She.Leads.Africa. One of the questions they asked me was ‘Some people are looking to learn their mother tongue as adults, what advice would you give them?’ 

This was my response:

“I would say the best thing is to become immersed in the language. Create an environment around you where you’re constantly hearing the language. Watch films in that language, go to the country, make friends with people who speak the language, talk to native speakers through Skype, listen to music in that language, do everything you can to be surrounded by it.

That’s how kids learn, through repetition and immersion. You don’t need to memorise flashcards or complete homework every week (I’m not saying those aren’t helpful) but the best way to learn a new language is to just listen, absorb and speak! Don’t worry about having a funny accent or saying words wrong, just speak it!”

You can read the full interview here: She.Leads.Africa interview with Gbemisola Isimi

Coincidentally, around that same time I was contacted by Richard Delamore who is currently developing an app that helps people find others nearby to speak any language with. He was very keen to get the Yoruba community involved with the app and after looking into it myself I am more than happy to tell you about it. I think it’s a great idea and will definitely help anyone who wants to learn any language, not just Yoruba.

Check out my interview with Richard below.

Tell us about yourself

My name is Richard Delamore and I’m not a Yoruba speaker, however I do speak another little-known language, Esperanto. You’ve probably never heard of it – and no it’s not Spanish! It’s a difficult language to explain without diving into the details. In essence, it’s a century-old constructed language spoken by roughly two million people worldwide. Unlike other languages, Esperanto did not evolve to its current form over hundreds or thousands of years. Instead it was created in about 10 years, to be an international language. It’s now a living language, spoken by a large community of non-native speakers, as well as multiple generations of native speakers.

Esperanto speakers are unique in a sense, as we don’t have a homeland. We’re scattered across the globe and this makes it quite difficult to find other speakers. Therefore, we’ve needed to become quite ingenious in developing ways to find our fellow speakers. Today, I wanted to share with you the newest method that’s all the rage in our community right now. I believe it’s something that Yoruba speakers will also love!

What is it?

It’s Amikumu!

What is Amikumu?

The idea for Amikumu was born in the Esperanto community. The name itself means “hang out with friends” in Esperanto.

Amikumu is an app currently in development for iOS and Android for release in July 2017. It will help you instantly find other Yoruba speakers nearby no matter where you are. The best part is that it’s completely free and simple to use.

For example, if you’re a Yoruba speaker and living in an area where there aren’t many other Yoruba speakers, this can become a real issue, especially if you’re trying to raise your child as a Yoruba speaker! Amikumu intends to solve this issue by providing a quick and easy means to meet others. It will help connect those who want to learn Yoruba with native speakers of the language – a learner might be someone reconnecting with their roots or just a polyglot fascinated in learning another language. The possibilities are endless.

Find yoruba speakersHow does it work

You download the app and select Yoruba as the language you’re interested in. The app will then generate a list of other Yoruba speakers nearby. This list is constantly updated based on your GPS position, so no matter where you are in the world, it will always show you the nearest speakers. If you see someone interesting, just send them a message through the in-app interface. If all goes well, you can even share your current position with them to organise a quick meet-up. It’s that simple.

Amikumu needs you!

Amikumu is already a massive success in several language communities and now we want to help the international Yoruba community. All that we ask is that you sign up to our mailing list at: and share this article with all your friends. We will notify you as soon as the app is ready for download!

And remember; the more Yoruba speakers who sign up to our mailing list, the more useful the app will be for everyone!

If you would like to write a guest post or have a new app/product/service that you think would benefit the Yoruba community please email


Good Evening my Beautiful Mamas and Papas. Kudos forever to our Yoruba Mums for their undying love to us all. There’s a saying in Yoruba that Orisha bi Iya ko si meaning “There’s no Deity like a Mother”.

Greetings is the topic on my mind tonight. What is a Greeting? According to the Oxford Dictionary, Greeting is something that you say or do to Welcome Somebody.

In Yoruba Land, Greeting is more than just welcoming someone but it is a regular way to express warm affection and respect to one another. Greeting could be between Husband and Wife, Children and Parents, Siblings, Neighbours and Friends.

One must give it Yorubas as we love to greet with our ever ready smile……we will even greet you while eating “E wa Jeun” meaning “Come and Eat”. Certainly, there’s no formal greeting among my people 😊

The significant factor that makes Yoruba Greetings unique is that our Greetings comes with RESPECT.  A well Cultured Yoruba Boy will greet his Parents or an Elderly Person by prostrating on the Floor while the Girl will Kneel down…..that’s the Tradition imbibed in the Yoruba Culture. The Parents or the Elders will acknowledge the greetings also with a Warm responses such as “Pele Omoluwabi” meaning “Welcome my Dear Child”

Greeting in Yoruba

It must be emphasized that Respect is phenomenal in African Cultures not just the Yorubas. I recall while growing up in Lagos Island, many Yoruba Boys and Girls have been given “Iko” a knock on their heads for greeting their Elders improperly by standing up……..Who born you? 😊

The Yoruba greetings mostly start with the Word “E”  and examples are “E kale ” meaning “Good Evening”  or “E Pele” meaning “Sorry” or “E ku Ise”  The word “E” is symbolic with Respect in Addressing someone that is older than you.

You must give it to my People oh as we appreciate Respect and Honour in our Culture so much. I remember with fondness the good old Holiday Memories while visiting my Grandmother in Ikorodu. The Old Woman would start praising me with our Family “Oriki” after I, Adisa had prostrated to greet her. The Word “Oriki” in Yoruba is more of Praising the Family lineage……which is another unique Custom in our Culture.

Coming back now to the present modern age, I don’t know if it is my own observation oh, but it seems that our Greetings gesture of Old is dying as the Male Youths don’t Prostrate all the way anymore. They now do it with Psychedelic Style……bending half way 😊 while the Ladies will curtsey with style by bending a bit low instead of kneeling down 😁

On a serious note, I think this unique form of Greeting must not die as it is a significant aspect of our Culture all over Africa to express warm affection to one another. Some people reason in Yoruba Land that after God, comes your Parent!! So, won’t it be worthwhile to show some kind of respect in greeting your Parents. We owe it a duty to keep our Culture alive though our Greetings. I am Proud to be a Yoruba Grandpa and I do hope to Continue this Cultural legacy left behind by our Ancestors.

Good Night Folks and God bless each Household!

Adedoyin Adisa


*If you would like to write a guest post for YorubaMums blog, please send an email to with a brief summary of what you would like to write about.

We Yoruba people have a saying, ‘ohun ti a nwà lo Sókótó o wa lapo Ṣòkòtò’. This means what you are looking for by travelling thousands of miles to the State (Sókótó) is actually in your trousers (Ṣòkòtò).

I remember growing up, my grandmother had the most gorgeous hair and glowing skin. She would always ask me to ‘mo ẹsẹ’ (massage her legs) with this mixture she made herself. It was a mix of ori and Adi Agbon. As a young child I detested this task and saw it as a chore! Especially because I hated the smell of that mixture. It was only in my early twenties that I found out that the ori that I detested so much back then is actually what I was buying for £10 a tub from The Body Shop. I had no idea that ori is Shea Butter and Adi Agbon is coconut oil!

I had been going to Sókótó to get what was actually in my Ṣòkòtò!

I’ve decided to start this new Ṣòkòtò Tips series on YorubaMums to unearth and present to you the products from Africa that we have under our noses which are not only excellent for our body physically but also mentally.

Today is all about hair and I’ll be sharing my top DIY Hair Conditioner.

My hair is natural because I like the texture of it in this state but it can get very frizzy and dry!

Frizzy hair

To combat this problem, here’s the DIY hair treatment I use.

Ingredients (Double up for longer hair):

  • 2  tablespoons natural yogurt
  • 1  tablespoon honey
  • 1/4 teaspoons of Adi Agbon (coconut oil) for thin hair, 1/2 tsp for thicker hair.
  • 1/4 teaspoons of Extra Virgin olive oil

Ingredients for Hair conditioner


  1. If your coconut oil is hard, go ahead and melt it down.
  2. Combine all of the ingredients together;
  3. Work the mask into your hair, from the scalp to the ends;

Massage scalp with coconut oil

4. Wrap hair with cling film and leave for 20 mins – 1 hour.

Coconut oil hair treatment

5. Wash as normal, if you use a conditioner, just a small amount on the ends will do.

6. Style your beautiful soft hair as normal.

Beautiful soft hair

We do this this treatment once every two weeks to restore and maintain our hair.

Do you have any hair tips of your own? Please share.

I look forward to sharing more Ṣòkòtò Tips with you!

My daughters are 3 and 1 years old. As a Mum living in London, it hasn’t been easy trying to raise them to be fluent in Yoruba because of the lack of educational materials and constant exposure, but I can offer some tips that has been helpful for me.

1. Just speak it! – My first tip is just that. Speak Yoruba to them. I started off quite well when my first daughter was still a baby but I think I started slacking when I went back to work and she started talking. She was with her Nanny who only spoke English to her all day and so she also spoke to me in English. I in turn automatically responded to her in English. One day I asked her to tell me her age in Yoruba and she had forgotten how to say it. That’s when I realised I had to go back to the drawing board. Since then I’ve made a conscious effort to speak Yoruba to her all the time.

For some it may not come naturally because you’re probably more used to speaking English but the more you speak it the more natural it becomes.

If you don’t speak Yoruba but want your children to speak it then I would encourage you to ask your partner to speak only Yoruba to them and also follow my Tip No 4.


2. Singing – Children absolutely love music and my girls are no exception. We have regular spontaneous and planned singing sessions. Spontaneous in the sense that we can make up songs whilst walking to and from school, on the bus or in the car. Anything could be the subject of our songs. It could be a car passing which prompts ‘Ta lo wa ninu ọkọ yen – Who is in that car’ or we see an aeroplane up in the sky and start singing our favourite song ‘Eropileni o daabo – Goodbye aeroplane’.

In our car, we have Afrobeats mix CDs that we always listen to, the evergreen Ebenezer Obey CD that sadly is now scratched but I still love listening to, and many other Yoruba songs that we like.

We also have planned sessions at home when we sing and dance along to our CultureTree Yoruba nursery rhymes and folk songs.


3. Bedtime Stories – I don’t read to them every night but I do try to read a Yoruba story to them at least twice a week. I bought a collection of books from Amazon that have been translated to Yoruba. I also tell them stories from memory like the Ijapa (Tortoise) folktales. Our story times are quite interactive, I ask my 3 year old questions and encourage her to reply in Yoruba, for example, after reading Adiye Handa – Handa’s Hen, I’ll ask her ‘Kini oruko Adiye Handa? – What’s the name of Handa’s Hen’;  ‘Kini oruko ọrẹ re – What’s Handa’s friend’s name’ etc. It’s just a way to create dialogue and encourage her to be confident in speaking Yoruba. Make sure you choose books that you also like because you will have to read it every other night.

4. Nanny/childminder/grandparents – If your child is not yet at school or still goes to a care-giver such as a Nanny or childminder, I would encourage choosing someone who is fluent in Yoruba and can speak it to them. I have a friend who swears by this. She is even surprised at how advanced her child’s vocabulary is in Yoruba. Also, ask their grandparents who speak Yoruba to speak to them ONLY in Yoruba. This not only builds a strong bond but also means they have no alternative but to speak it if they want to communicate with their grandparents.

5. Be patient – it can be frustrating at times when it seems you’re doing all the talking or your child asks you for the umpteenth time how to say ‘I want’. Try to continue making the learning process fun and positive. Don’t make it an assignment or a task they have to complete. Relax and enjoy speaking to your child in Yoruba.

I hope you find these tips helpful. Please do share if you have any tips of your own. What steps have you taken in teaching your child/ren Yoruba? I’d love to hear from you.

Next week, I’ll be sharing tips on what to do when your child won’t speak Yoruba but responds only in English.