TOTO – What to Do When Writing About Your Vagina

TOTO (Tora Owinjel) is the Nigerian word for toto tree. TOTO means vagina in Nigerian, English, Urdu and many other languages. It’s derived from the adjective ‘Tona’ that means a tiny hole or a crack. In our mother tongue TOTO means a little hole in an animal, a child or even a person. This may seem to make no difference to some people but to those of us who use TOTO when referring to a small vagina we get a nasty shock.


The problem with TOTO is that it doesn’t mean vagina at all. TOTO is actually a slang word for vagina in Lagos and Nigeria. It is used by both men and women to describe a small vagina or cervix. I was shocked when I read this and had to find out why. If the writer hadn’t used TOTO she wouldn’t have been corrected like she was.

TOTO is an offensive term. It suggests the woman lacks taste, lets herself go and is unrefined. It also suggests she is promiscuous and that the man should ‘take care’ of her. Imagine how a grown lady would feel if she was told ‘your vagina is like a tree and you need to take care of it’. She would go to the only logical place and slam the door on that male who has made her feel like that.

So don’t use TOTO unless you are completely confident it describes what you are saying. Use something like SEMATA (Severa) or SEMATA-NO-AFFE. These are not offensive and will actually correct the article, when used by Westerners. For instance, when I am correcting somebody in my writing I will simply say SEMATA-NO-AFFE and I will explain what I meant by that in my article.

TOTO can also be used as an exclamation point. It’s easy to do when you have lots of adjectives to describe something. Write down lots of adjectives and if you have many that you are not sure about, you can throw the TOTO at them until you are positive it describes what you are talking about. Then you can use it as a counter-clamation. For instance, if I’m trying to say ‘you’re stupid’, instead of saying ‘you are stupid’, I will say SEMATA-NO-AFFE and I will explain that the phrase SEMATA-NO-AFFE means ‘you are stupid because you are not a silly’.

If you really want to get a rise out of someone then you will want to try a variation on the above exercise. Ask the person what he or she thinks she is stupid and see how it improves. Of course, this exercise works both ways. If the other person is incorrect, you can use the counter-exclamation to turn things around and correct them.