History of Kola

History of Kola


Kola has a rich history within the spiritual practice and culture of West Africa. Kola is often used as an offering during prayers, ancestor worship and important life events. They are also commonly used in what is called Obi divination where kola nuts with 4 lobes are used to bring messages to a trained diviner from the spiritual realm. 

Kola has also been used as money in West Africa and are still used as as currency today. Individuals will use it for negotiations for brides or to pay respect, as gift to elders in a village.

During the 1800s John Pemberton a pharmacist from Georgia created the popular drink, Coca Cola. He extracted kola and coca mixed them with sugar and various ingredients and carbonated water. However after 1904 coca was removed from the drink as well as kola. 

While Kola is a rarity in our society its importance and ceremonial and practical use is mentioned in many novels such as Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe, The Color Purple by Alice Walker and Chimanamanda Ngozi Adichie's Half of a Yellow Sun. 

Chief Alájé