Category Archives: All Things Nigerian
I am a second generation African immigrant. That means my mum and dad are the first generation of Africans (in my family anyway) to emigrate from their home country. Being a second generation African is not unique to me and is the story of several other people in and around my age bracket, the “millennial” generation. I do feel that being a 2nd generation African puts me (and others in my position) in a somewhat precarious situation.
I identify with being a Nigerian of Yoruba origin. I understand however I might not be able to completely fit in with my fellow people given the fact I haven’t grown up in Nigeria.
I also identify with being British given that I was born here and have grown up here. I do know however that to the average third generational English man or woman, (although I may be born here) I’m not really British. It’s a question I’m often asked at work, “Where do you REALLY come from?”👀
Where do I fit? As I thought about this question I realised a lot of people are faced with same question. It may be you are from different parts of the country I.e. Your mother is from Delta state and your dad is from Ogun state (both in Nigeria). It may be a continental thing I.e. your mum is from Ghana and Dad is from South Africa. It may be an emigration thing (my example fits here).
Can we really identify with a particular culture? Is it being born in a specific place that makes you a member of that culture or your ancestry? Now we can trace our ancestry with a simple swab test. Surprisingly enough – most people are not 100% of anything in particular anyway, which makes things EVEN more confusing.
I watched this video and it was eye-opening. I haven’t reached a conclusion yet, still thinking it over. What do you think?
Until next time
Memoirs of a Yoruba Girl
Who doesn’t know this bag?
You use it to pack clothing, laundry, things to put in storage, practically anything. I’ve seen these used for travel luggage. They retail for a few pounds here in the UK. They are fondly known as “Ghana must go” bags (Side note: I wonder if Ghanaians find the term offensive?) If you’re either Nigerian or Ghanaian, you will be WELL aware of this stripy plastic bag. It even became a designer bag for a spell. The Ghana must go bag got its name from an unfortunate set of circumstances affecting the Black Stars and the Super Eagles.
Ghana was one the first West African countries to gain independence from British colonial rule in 1957. Nigeria later became independent in 1960. The independence of Ghana made it an attractive destination to emigrate to for Nigerians. Ghanaians did the same, emigrating to Nigeria during this time.
More specifically in the 1970s, there was some economic difficulties in Ghana. With the discovery of oil in Nigeria around the same time, it made Nigeria a good place to go in search of greener pastures. Nigeria quickly became a fast expanding economy that the Nigerian labour market was not equipped enough to serve alone. The gap was filled by workers from various professions coming from Ghana.
Unfortunately, good things don’t ways last forever and by the 1980’s, with the collaspe of the oil boom, the prosperity that came with it had dwindled and Nigerians faced economic hardship. Someone needed to be blamed and unfortunately, the Ghanians were the ones blamed. It was said that the Ghanians living in Nigeria at the time were involved in crimes such as armed robberies and were taking all the jobs from the Nigerians.
On the 17th of January 1983, a law was enforced (it was already in place and had not just been created) by then Nigerian president Shehu Shagari made it compulsory for all foreigners to leave Nigeria within a few days or risk being forced out.
Up to two million people (mostly Ghanians) were forced out of Nigeria in only a few days. People were forced to pack their belongings in a very short space of time.They had to pack as much as they could into cars, trucks, basically whatever was available and tried to get out.
The main way home to Ghana from Nigeria was through the neighbouring countries of Benin and Togo.
Imagine the sheer amount of people travelling at the same time, it would have been total gridlock.I can only imagine what a difficult time it must have been. Because they had such little time to pack up and leave, they began using the striped plastic bags (which are actually made in China) to pack their belongings. This was how the bag got its name.
Next time you see the bag, you will know its history
Until next time
Memoirs Of A Yoruba Girl
Special thanks to following links for helping me write this challenging post 🙌
This post is dedicated the the beautiful cultural piece of the amazing Yoruba people named the gele.
The gele is rooted in Nigerian and Yoruba culture. Gele is a Yoruba word that means head tie and is known as “ichafu” in Igbo.
I originally thought the gele was a Yoruba phenomenon, but a little research actually showed the act of tying a headscarf in this way is a West African phenomenon although most prevalent and flamboyant in the Yoruba Land.
Geles can be achieved from a range of fabrics such as Aso Oke, Sego/Zego fabrics, Damask, Jubilee, Swiss, embroidered, Singele (net gele), French lace
An interesting piece I read about the gele is that in times past, your age determined the direction in which you tied your gele. A forward facing gele was meant for young people who had their futures in front of them. A sideward facing gele was meant for a woman in her prime of life. A backward facing gele was for the lady who had lived her life.
I’ve included above a link to a song that has become synonymous with the Yoruba gele. This post wouldn’t be complete without it!
Hope you enjoyed this piece
Until next time