Imagine yourself in a commercial vehicle and you are listening to some melodious music with your earpiece, then another passenger begins to receive a call and he/she is so loud, it makes you gnash your teeth; possibly the individual is trying to engage in a conversation either business or social with the person at the other end but forgetting his/her conversation is loud like a movie theater’s loudspeaker and is unsettling those who want a quiet nap, who are listening to melodious music and those who are in deep thoughts about what to do next in life.

Now take a scenario of a party into mind, people greeting each other on the top of their voices as if the other is deaf and not minding if the ruckus is affecting others.

Also, take the case of a father/mother trying to deter their kids from doing something out of the ordinary; the most potent weapon from an African parent is shouting and beating.

And imagine a Pastor/Prophet preaching to his faithful’s about salvation, a high percentage use raised voices to hit their messages home: take the commercial driver who thinks he must be loud, vulgar, and aggressive to his passengers, take the motor tout who believes vulgarity and aggressiveness is the order of the day, take the men at the street corner who argues about politics and football, who believes raised voices bring their opinion to be fully accepted or the friends who think shouting can put them right in the argument before them. It goes on and on….

The bone of contention here is why are majority of Africans loud? Why are they vulgar? Why do they think raised voices make all the difference? Is it a nature aspect or a nurture aspect?

Our society has over the years been experiencing one form of aggressive attitude and behavior amongst youths, adults, and even kids alike.  It is important to say that these attitudes/behavior have become part of us and some of them have been accepted as normal.  It cuts across religion, ethnic groups, geo-political boundaries, education, etc.

We shall examine some causes of these behavior/attitudes prevalent in our African society.  Some of these behaviors have been blamed on many factors including broken homes, poverty, inequality, chemical imbalance, ethnicity/racism, sexual repression, overpopulation, TV violence, alienation, and so on.  Some scholars have blamed the vulgarity of Africans be the consequences and aftermath of the era of slavery.  Since (they) don’t have the weapons with which to fight back and defend themselves, they resorted to body language and of course, their voices.  Little wonder that the American blacks are also known for their vulgarity and loudness.

Also, a child who grows up to favor vulgarism must have experienced disputes over material possessions and interference with another child over freedom of movement in their pre-school years, then varieties as temperament, personality, family environment is another important factor in peer groups which causes conflicts.   Mostly, later manifestation is as a result of insecurity, poor ego control, inferiority complex, low self-esteem, and jealousy.

In a peer group, the toughest and strongest bully is often acclaimed and accepted as the ring leader, hence, a child will begin to accept that violence, vulgarity and aggression is the appropriate way of solving one’s problem.  On the other hand, a child often picked on and bullied by his/her peers might be reprimanded as being weak and vulnerable by parents and elders and is often told to fight back and not give up; such a child will always grow up believing vulgarity and aggression is the tool with which to keep abreast of one’s situation.

Some scholars have postulated that aggression and vulgarity are inevitable and human energy accumulates over time and once full, it needs to find an outlet and that something must trigger this for the aggressive behavior to erupt (Hydraulic theory, Lorenz 1966).

Other forces that trigger vulgar/aggressive behaviors in humans are:


This is the first agent of socialization and in most African homes, problems within the family are often solved using aggressive behaviors.  Discipline is one of the core-word in this situation as every family wants no “Black sheep”, hence battering and physical man-handling are seen as normal effective, and right methods to discipline the children.


Cultural expectations play an important role in the expression of aggression.  In some ethnic groups in Nigeria, male ruggedness is given tacit approval while females are told to be soft and accommodating.  This has proved the fact that boys are significantly more vulgar and aggressive than girls


The incident of anger and aggression in some youth and children depend heavily on who they model.  How children have seen adults and peers cope with frustration can go a long way to influence them to think it is the right way.  Clapping for a violent man and saying he is tough is building upon children that “toughness” is only achieved while being violent.


A child’s friend in the school or neighborhood plays a role of great importance in the formation of social behavior and attitude.  If the group the child has joined is aggressive and vulgar, he or she may become that way too and condone aggression.


Rewards for serious violent activities have made many youths engage in criminal activities.  The rule to succeed there is “toughness”.  Gangs, illegal markets, drug distribution networks, crime, robbery, etc. relate to poverty and to succeed in the ring, a new character of aggression and vulgarism is formed.


People who indulge in substance use, alcohol, and illicit drugs have been found to likely have a history of violent and aggressive behavior.  The effect of marijuana and opiate drugs moves the users to engage in violent acts.  Parents who use drugs/alcohol have been found to neglect their children and pave way for a broken home.


Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

This disorder is often associated with restlessness, impulsiveness, and the inability to maintain calm and orderliness.  It’s prevalent in children and if not handled, manifests in adulthood.


This theory is associated with Sigmund Freud (1856 – 1939) and it argues that aggressive fantasies and behavior can be pleasurable and that humans are social beings capable of sadism regardless of their upbringing.  In other words, humans enjoy aggression to some degree, for instance, crowds flock to watch boxing matches, wrestling matches, fistfights, cockfights, etc while politicians and orators have to learn to practice the charisma of pulling crowds with words, preachers bringing their point home with the loudness of their voices, etc.


There is this adage that says “a goat being pursued might upon seeing a wall, turn against the pursuer” meaning humans tend to erupt over time when they have repressed some annoying behavior against them for too long.  The outburst can be like a volcanic eruption and the result often manifests in loud words and violence.  This means that vulgarity and aggression are a drive that builds up and discharges when over-full.


This perspective shows that aggression can be activated when circumstances threaten an individual’s survival.  A harmless hen can attack anyone who tries to pick up its chick; so also an individual might rise up to aggression when he/she feels cheated, shamed, or having feelings of diminished self-worth.


A situation whereby an individual makes another person or groups of persons the object of his frustration.  Rather than face the reality of the situation, the individual projects his frustrations on other persons.  This happens in our present-day Nigeria; market women venting abuse on customers who price their wares below cost price, motor touts who vents aggressiveness because of unavailability of change, teachers flogging the entire class because of some noisy students, or a husband beating up his wife because he was sacked in the office.


In pursuit of duty, loudness and aggressiveness can be accepted if the dispenser is a sanctioned authority.  For example, a soldier’s behavior can be accepted because of his office but if he is a freelancing individual, such behavior is judged as being violent.


This implies that vulgarity and aggressiveness are innate or inborn.  It means offsprings inherit these traits from their parents/families.  In order words it is genetically inclined e.g. some families are known to be talkative.

From the point above, is loudness amongst Africans an innate instinctive phenomenon or learned?  Is it a nature aspect or nurture aspect?  Is it Biological or Social?

There is much evidence to support that both nature/nurture aspect plays a dominant role in assessing human behavior.  For example, jean Rousseau (1972) has said humans in our natural state are happy and that culture and laws foresee aggression and depravity upon us…

Others have undertaken the view that humans in our natural states are brutes and that by enforcing the law and other regularities, we can curb or sublimate our instincts towards vulgarism and aggression.

It is of this writer’s opinion that the Nature/Nurture aspect of human behavior cannot be over-emphasized.  Human behavior is a combination of both Nature(Biological) and Nurture(Learned/Social) processes.  Every individual comes from a family, so there is a possibility of inheriting some traits from whence one came from and in the process of growing up, behaviors and attitudes are learned.  A child upon birth has a clean/blank slate known as “tabula rasa”.  It is the family and society through socialization that writes norms, culture, language, values, attitude, etc on such a child’s slate to conform with the society to which it belongs.

Loudness in our society cannot be stopped abruptly.  It takes the realization of an adult mind and rational reasoning to draw back from what has been accepted as normal behavior or a normal way of life to start behaving otherwise.  Many individuals do not even see themselves as loud or know they are loud.  It is a phenomenon that will continue to go on and on and nothing can be done about it.

It is in the writer’s opinion that every family should begin to familiarize themselves with the fact that loudness and aggressiveness is not socially appropriate behavior and once the primary agent of socialization has accepted this fact, it will go a long way for humans to start spreading it across all social-strata of life thus reducing loudness to the barest minimum in our societies