As a student, you must have witnessed some students singing in the dark with calabashes filled with palm wine. These students are always elated, singing unfamiliar indigenous songs, dancing around a blazing fire in the middle, and speaking strange languages.
You barely understand what they are saying when you sight at a corner on your campus in groups, having meetings and sipping their palm wine. People tend to mistake them for cultists, but they are not; they display their activities in public and are harmless. They are said to be a group of young people that come together to form a social group, just for their own pleasure.
These socialites are called “The Kegites.” The term “keg,” a traditional native container for storing palm wine, gave rise to the name “kegite.” The Kegites Club members’ revelry is accompanied by an ethereal, beautiful atmosphere that is difficult to describe.
According to research, the aims and objectives of the Kegites Club are to conserve and advance African culture, as well as to advance world peace, revive the cultural knowledge of their ancestors, and encourage truthfulness and honest behaviour among all members while discouraging racism and tribalism.
In this piece, I will be exploring the history, culture, ranks, and slang of the Kegite club. In addition, I will be unveiling potent indications of why they are mistaken for cultists.
Thirteen students from the former Nigerian College of Arts, Science, and Technology met up every evening to unwind after a long day of work to form Kegite Club International, also known as Supreme Comradium. The exhilaration and ecstasy of being the first group of undergraduates at the newly established University of Ife drove those students on a binge-worthy celebration after learning that their institution would transform into a university the following day.
The thirteen foundation students were elected as the executive, and on occasion, they provided palm wine for the group’s rotational consumption. They quickly became founding members of the first socio-cultural club in history, making history. Before they were transferred to the permanent location in Ile-Ife, everything happened while they were on the Ibadan campus.
These Africans, who are fully aware of their cultural heritage, assemble to sing folktale songs and drink palm wine, which is how the palm wine drinkers’ club came to be. As a result, they were able to preserve the black people’s cultural heritage, which the colonial masters were powerless to do away with, and the club was founded in October 1963.
Professor Olusegun Adesina is one of the founding members of the Palm Wine Drinkers Club. Insofar as the club is a socio-cultural organization, it was decided that he should be referred to as Chief, as in an African traditional setting. As a result, Chief Olusegun Adesina was crowned first, followed by Emmanuel Abiodun, Bisi Olatunji, and other executives who worked with the chief.
They have the title “global chief.” Many students from different universities have found the club’s events to be quite fascinating and interesting over the years. Such institutions include the Federal College of Agriculture, Akure, known as ILYA du TRACTOR (First Institution to Have Keg of Office), the University of Ibadan, which obtained its keg of office in 1972 and is known as ILYA du UI, the Polytechnic, Ibadan, 1974, and several others. These institutions received autonomy from the University of Ife, which serves as the global headquarters of the Palm Wine Drinkers Club.
In educational institutions in Brazil, Canada, Ghana, India, Liberia, and London, members of the club can be found. The club’s goals are to promote peace, revive traditional traditions, and deter social vices while promoting Africanism through their music. The late Obafemi Awolowo, former President Olusegun Obasanjo, Professor Wole Soyinka, Doctor Orji Kalu, and Governor Akeredolu are notable club members.
It is impossible to ignore the beauty of Kegites. When singing and speaking, they use an esoteric tongue that is a mashup of English and the Yoruba language, with club-specific jargon. The tongue is known as “Jarasis.” Ilya du World, or “World Headquarters,” is the name of a club, and it was founded at the University of Ife.
Transporta is the name of the transport minister, Cricket is in charge of singing, Drumito is in charge of drumming, Songito is in charge of singing, and Parrot is in charge of public relations. The holy water is turned by a tapper (palm wine).
Ranks in the Kegite Club
CHIEF: This is the club’s president in an ilya. He has a lot of authority and is in charge of welcoming new members into the club known as Liberation.
ELDER: He is the vice president to the chief, the second in command.
FEDA: He serves as an ilya’s secretary.
PARROT: He is an ilya’s director of information, disseminating information to the comrades.
PHILOSOPHER: He is a club member that is knowledgeable about every aspect of the organization. In the zoo, he instructs and mentors both comrados and animals.
Head of Drums (H.O.D.): He is in charge of the drums in an ilya and instructs the other comrades in drumming.
SONGITO: He is the club’s vocalist and the leader of the songitizing in Jara.
MIGRATOR: He sets up ketekete (vehicles) for gyrations outside.
TAPPER: The individual who recurs in holy water.
MARSHAL: The provost at an ilya makes sure that the comrades act properly there.
LUPOUR: He is the one who distributes the holy water to the fellow soldiers.
COMMANDANT OF THE ZOO: He is in charge of organizing
CURATOR: The curator is in charge of the shrine and is typically given custody of all chieftaincy paraphernalia.
SPECIAL DUTY (Spedu): The individual performs additional duties for an ilya.
ELDERSIS COUNCIL: The chief and elders are chosen in an ilya to make key choices regarding the duties of an ilya.that will help the club advance.
CHIEFSIS COUNCIL: This council is the highest body in the club, comprising archival and metuselah chiefesis.
SPIDER: He creates all the communicative materials, such as capito, regalia, and neckito.
Common Slangs of Kegite Club
Karid: to be recognized as a member qualified to make contributions.
Regalia: the official attire, a white jumper or Kampala dress with gourds embroidered on it.
Holy water: palm wine.
Comrad: student members.
Ilya du Queen: East London University
Ilya du Punjab: Punjab University, India.
Emusifere: Hemisphere (to describe the location of a club)
Transformjara – Initiated
Galagala – World
Opeke – Female Kegite
Emblem – Calabash
Iyla du Akete – Lagos State University
Iyla du Lagoon – UniLag
Zoo – A place where new members are groomed.
Kegistic Langwaja – This is the approved language of the kegites club.
Baby Ilya – A newly commissioned branch of kegites club that has no keg office or a chief, but attached to an ilya and overseen by a cordee (coronator).
Colours of the Kegite Club
GREEN: Stands for the palm tree shade.
WHITE: Stands for the purity of palm wine.
BROWN: Stands for the brown colour of the kegite keg.
Identities of Kegite of Club
The Kegite club is known for some identities, which can only be understood by members of the club. These identities include the Regilia, Capito, and Neckito.
The Legacy of the Kegite Club
According to research, it is believed that the Kegite members wear a cap of wisdom. Therefore, members are wise individuals who have decided to savour the splendour of culture and palm wine consumption. For members of the Kegites Club of Nigeria, a typical prayer is “may you walk and never stumble.”
According to research, the club to this day has over 100 Ilyasis in Nigeria and overseas. Thus, for the Ilyas that are outside of Nigeria (which is the origin of the Kegite Club), we have the United Kingdom, which is known to them as ilya du Queen; and in Chicago, they are referred to as ilya du Windy; in India, they are known as ilya du Punjab.
History has it that Obafemi Awolowo served as the club’s Grand Patron, and former President Olusegun Obasanjo took his place. Additionally, several well-known members of the society have joined the group as devoted members. Chief Tele Ikwu, formerly the deputy governor of Rivers State, is the head of RSUST. One of the original members is Prof. Wole Soyinka. Patron, and Dr. Orji Kalu.
Meanwhile, while some people meet in the bush, Kegite meets at the temple. Also, when others congregate, individuals flee for cover, but when they congregate, people huddle closer. Furthermore, when lecturers who are members of the club advocate for student rights at senate meetings, lecturers who are members of other groups do not allow students to know about their membership.
Kegite Club Anthem
Imbibe Imbibe in majesty
Holy water is good for me,
Holy water from kegite stream
That makes us happy every day.