As we documented earlier, we joined a local sports club in Nigeria located on the island of Ikoyi, only a short distance from our residence. It is a comprehensive club with 18 bars and restaurants and facilities for 12 major sports. Our prime focus there has been the 18-hole golf course, which is currently closed for 3 weeks while the rainy season runs its course.
And so, for the past year, we were “Junior Members”, meaning we had membership use of the facilities, but were on “probation” until such a time as the Club’s Committee decided to invite us to become full members. Last week, we were finally invited to the Official Member Election event, a formal throwback to British Colonial ceremonies that are part of the Club’s founding heritage and traditions.
The Ceremony Event begins with a check-in queue requiring both us and our Member Sponsor to be present and to be appropriately dressed: Matching suit and tie for men and cocktail dress for women – no blazers, no jeans and no casual wear. Once presented and introduced by our sponsor, we proceeded to a receiving line of the entire Executive Committee of the Club including the Director, Functional Chairmen and each Sport’s Director. After we greeted and conversed with each representative, we proceeded to pick up our gift, and then moved to the drinks and hors d’oeuvres, while under strict instruction that leaving the room early or having one’s cell phone go off would disqualify us from membership! We met some new people and participated in “small talk” until the last member had been received by the Committee – over 2 hours later! Then the Director addressed us and inducted us into the Club as full members, and we were finally free to leave. We found the attention to such antiquated customs both curious and refreshing. It demonstrated clearly how historic customs and traditions are adapted locally, although they are culturally curious and serve only to preserve a comfortable familiarity with the past.