Yet another book “The Culture of Kolanut, Food of the Gods” by M.O. Ene (PhD)

[The book] is a gold mine of facts about the kolanut, its myths and realities. It would be difficult to overstate the influence this book will have on those who seek to understand the custom and especially the doxology of correctly consecrating the kolanut and the dos and don’ts.”~ Oseloka H. Obaze


Dr. M. O. Ene has delivered on his promise to publish a comprehensive compendium on kolanut and the associated communion ritual. As “one of few traditional African rituals that survived the assault of foreign faiths with remarkable rectitude,“ the book examines how Africans of all cultural creeds, “no matter the class, color, complexion, education, intellect, physique, profession, or socioeconomic status,” continue to embrace the ancestral sacrament for all social interactions from receiving visitors to all celebrations (“birth, puberty, marriage, or death”).

To read the book is to find out all about the kolanut, the chemistry, the economics, the uses, the significance, and the symbolism. It is amazing how a simple but significant seed occupies such a substantial importance in many West African nations. The book takes readers to many countries from Dakar to Douala before zeroing in on the Igbo of southeastern Nigeria. The Igbo people place kolanut reverence on the highest pedestal.

Dr. Ene establishes conclusively that “breaking of kolanut” is a misapplied term to the ritual of kolanut communion: “an ancient ceremony, a traditional sacrament of sharing kolanuts with friendly folks, a symbol of hospitality, a show of appreciation and love, a sign of friendship, and a showcase of devotion to the wisdom of ages gone.” He establishes the four principal parts of the kolanut communion:

  • Presentation of kolanut
  • Consecration of kolanut
  • Partition of kolanut
  • Distribution of kolanut

Under these four distinct but contiguous components of kolanut communion, the book explains in detail the interpretations of the sense, sequence, significance, and symbolism of the ritual. It establishes meticulously who does what and when. To cap it all, the book throws a new light on the role of women in kolanut communion.

The significance of kolanut stretches across commerce, from selling the raw nuts to finding use in all cola drinks. It has certain medicinal and nutritional values. The social significance and relevance in religious rituals  also received ample treat. It is no wonder Hon. Oseloka H. Obaze concluded: “Ene has written a lively and instructive reference book that belongs to every library and coffee table.”

The book makes a poignant point about the attitude of Africans to aspects of native culture: “Some supposedly smart souls soon seem scratchy whenever traditional African issues are opened up in literature and given different but original analyses outside the cardboard box of borrowed paradigms. With wild worldwide winds of charismatic Catholicism, intense international Islamism, primetime protestant Pentecostalism, and other religious radicalism sweeping across African societies, it has now become ‘practical paganism’ to revisit ancestral rituals.”

This book covers all the basis and will remain a major reference book in the study of the phenomenon that kolanut represents among Africans worldwide. As quoted in the book, Molefi Kete Asante notes:

“A people who refuse to express its love and appreciations to its ancestors will die because in traditions, if you are not expressing your own, you are participating in and expressing faith in someone else’s ancestors.”

“The Culture of Kolanut” is available for $19.99

In conclusion, these words hold true: “There is absolutely nothing mysterious in the African kolanut communion that is manifest in the European Eucharistic communion; and there is nothing abstract about the African natural nut that is sacrosanct about the European baked bread.”

Akunna Madueke is writing an ongoing open novel: “Chioma: An American African Affair” on

Posted by on Jan 27 2022. Filed under Artcultainment. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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