5 things South Korea and Nigeria have in common, in words and pictures
“I note the obvious differences
between each sort and type,
but we are more alike, my friends,
than we are unalike”
Human Family by Maya Angelou.
- Huge Entertainment Scene
Culture, in terms of the entertainment and media industries, constitute major international exports and soft power for both South Korea and Nigeria and are recognized far beyond their home continents. Nigeria’s creative industry has the fastest growth rate in the world- Nollywood, Nigeria’s film industry is the second-largest producer in the world, and its music continues to top international charts. The phenomenal Hallyu or the Korean Wave has made K-pop and K-drama artistes popular around the world, tremendously enhancing its image and economy. Finance for both countries’ industries come from sources which include the government and investors across borders. I would totally be psyched to see some collaboration between the two industries sometime soon!
2. Mandatory ‘National’ Service
Pause. Both are different but still not-so-different - While Nigerian graduates from universities and polytechnics are required to take part in the paramilitary National Youth Service Corps Scheme(NYSC) since 1973, South Korea’s mandatory military service since 1957 is for all males aged 18 to 35. NYSC is for one year and the service is centered around nation building and community development, but South Korea’s military service is longer depending on the branch of military or active/non-active duty etc. Both countries allow for exemptions however, and a Supreme Court decision in South Korea in 2018, declared that conscientious objection to military service is not a crime.
3. High Value and Respect for Family Relationships and Etiquette
Even if one has never lived in Nigeria or South Korea, this aspect of societal relations is unmistakable when observing their dramas and movies. Respect for parents and elders, benevolence to younger ones, passage of traditional rites and family events, celebration of marriage and other ceremonies and gathering of families in ancestral hometowns among other things(e.g. the yearly ‘exodus’ by the Igbos in Nigeria wherever located to celebrate festive seasons parents and extended families in hometowns, similar hometown gatherings for Chuseok 추석, harvest festival in Korea). These values are woven into both countries’ languages, music, dressing, rites and roles etc. and is an absolute joy to see when done in love and adapted even as the world becomes ‘borderless’!
4. Food is Bae!
I don’t need to write too much. Open Google. Look up how many ethnic groups are in Nigeria, now multiply that by as many times as possible to even start to fathom the mouthwatering variety and importance food has in the culture! Whether tasty whole meals, snacks, refreshing drinks, fruits, spices, or herbal medicines, you will be spoiled for choice no matter what region of Nigeria you are, or the season, or whether it is sourced above or below land and sea. Also, if you are a fan of K-drama, you will always be impressed by the rich layout and variety of food always present and the importance placed on eating well. In fact, Korean cuisine was a pivotal part of the Korean wave. In both cultures, rice is high-level bae!
5. Passport Design
Similar shade of dark green with the National/Regional Emblem emblazoned in gold in the center of the front cover. The maximum validity length of ordinary passports in both countries is 10 years. Nigeria issued its new international e-passport in 2019 with enhanced security which can be applied for online. New issued South Korean passports are to change to blue in June 2020.