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Gbagyi Food: Eating Zhepwo for the first time in Ushafa, Abuja

One of my days in Abuja was spent with seven Gbagyi elders in a small village called Ushafa. Ushafa is about 30 minutes to 45 minutes away from the city center in Abuja. It is very close to the borders of Niger and Kaduna states. In the earlier post, I explained how a lot of Gbagyi communities were forced to move to the border of the Abuja state line when the government decided to make Abuja its capital in the 1980’s.

While driving there, I noticed that some parts were developed and other parts were not because Ushafa is quite close to the Abuja Law School. Anyway, upon getting to Ushafa , I went to a small palace they have in the community and met seven of their elders. They showed me everything from the food to the clothing to telling me stories about their childhood. This was truly an amazing experience for me and I think they had fun too 😂 But for this post, let’s talk about food. One of the reasons Gbagyi food is popular is because of its long prep time. Wyizhe is a swallow made from guinea corn, it is popularly called Tuwo Dawa by the Hausa. But for the Gbagyi, after preparing wyizhe, they leave it covered for about 1 to 3 days depending on the cook. The cook then brings it out the day they want to eat it, put it in a calabash, pours cold water on it and mashes it into a drink. This drink is now called Zhepwo. Gbagyi people eat zhepwo with a sauce type dish made with garden egg, locust beans, onions and pepper. One of the elders called it, “Gbagyi pepper soup” as a joke. They also often eat this meal with roasted fish. At Ushafa, one of the Gbagyi women prepared the meal for the elders and I. You can watch me try it Zhepwo and the sauce in the video below.

I ate some with one of the elders and it was very nice. I mostly tasted the pepper lol. You can also see the process of turning wyizhe into zhepwo and making the special Gbagyi sauce in my reel on Instagram here



Hi, thanks for stopping by!

I am a writer and illustrator from Lagos, Nigeria.


In 2015, I started a company called IheartLagos with the aim of showcasing Lagos culture in a unique and fun way.


That journey took me down an exciting path, discovering and learning so much about Nigeria.

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