Category Archives: All Things Nigerian

African Immigrants and a Dying Culture

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

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Christianity – The Nigerian Way 

​Hi all

I’ve been privileged to be a part of an African church for several years. I must say that no two days are the same and there is always something to make you giggle, always. Below I’ve shared just some of the unique things about attending or growing up in an African church

1.Hymns are subject to various types of remixes – hymns are usually quite sombre songs but I have heard hymns on the keyboard, with a talking drum, with beats and on the saxophone – and all suprisingly quite good too.

2. Any excuse to dance is welcomed with open arms – during the offering, if the pastor wants a dance session, if someone is bringing their new baby to church, if someone has a testimony, the list goes on

3. “Offering time = blessing time”, “Testimony time =blessing time”, “up up Jesus = down down satan” are some of the more popular phrases that everyone knows.

4. The service is liable to run over stated time once in a while

5. You don’t really need a background in music to join the music ministry – all you need is a willing heart and a voice (whatever it sounds like)

6. New years eve aka crossover night is mandatorily spent at church 

7. Sunday service requires your Sunday best – so best outfit, shoes, hair, make up, only the best for God’s house 

8. Testimony givers will most likely sing a song unless warned otherwise 

9. Attending an African church gives you non biological mandatory family who will expect invitations to all major life events 

10. Mum or dad making a night vigil compulsory is pretty much iron clad – whether or not you feel like it or not 

11. Special church occasions mean Jollof Rice,  fried rice, cake, drinks or all of the above 

12. The service always ends with “the grace of Our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God…..” always.

These are the few I can think of. Do you have any other ones? Share them below!
Until next time 

Memoirs Of A Yoruba Girl 

What does this bag have to do with Ghana and Nigeria?

​Who doesn’t know this bag?

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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
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Special thanks to following links for helping me write this challenging post 🙌

https://yen.com.gh/16384-ghana-must-go-exodus-nigeria-remembered.html

Karo Orovboni: Ghana must go? Ghana has gone and become great!

https://www.naij.com/407017-shagari-is-alive.html

http://saharareporters.com/2014/11/19/ghana-must-come-rudolf-ogoo-okonkwo
https://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=http://afrrevjo.net/journals/multidiscipline/Vol_7_no_3_art_24_Aremu.pdf&ved=0ahUKEwjDhMCZgL3PAhXpJMAKHR3HD6IQFggvMAg&usg=AFQjCNEL_j0Mlczq1SMN8N0my1Skk-QGVA&sig2=HOjK7vmhUaTmmwwMgwKJQw

If you are Nigerian, you are probably going to have twins 🙋

Did you know that Nigerians are more likely than anyone else to have twins? More specifically, Yoruba women are most likely to have twins, especially if you come from a town called Igbo-Ora where “three sets of twins were born in every 19 births” giving them the highest birth rate of twins in the entire world.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/africa/2253845.stm
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2840794/

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This high occurrence is argued to be due to the amount of yams that Yoruba people like to eat. Yams contain phytoestrogen which is supposed to encourage the release of several eggs by the woman’s ovaries at the same time.

It is such a regular occurrence in Yoruba culture, we have names, specially designated for twins. Hence why we have the beautiful names Taiwo and Kehinde. I actually love these names because they are just rich in heritage, culture and meaning. And the names are also very close to home for me (hi mum 🙋)

Taiwo or taiye wo literally means let me taste life. Kehinde or keyin de literally means came last or came afterward. In the specific context, it means coming after the first twin. These names as their meanings show are given to babies in order of when they are born. The first born of twins will bear the the name Taiwo and the second born will bear the name Kehinde. Story has it that Kehinde is the bossy of the two twins and forced the first twin, Taiwo to taste life first to decide if it was good for her to come out after. So Kehinde is actually the older as she sent her younger sibling on an errand. As Yorubas know, an unspoken right of being the older sibling is that you send your younger siblings on errands.

So if you’re Yoruba, you potentially have twins to look forward to. I love Yoruba culture, is it obvious? 😅

Until Next Time
Memoirs Of A Yoruba Girl
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The Infamous Gele

Hey everyone

This post is dedicated the the beautiful cultural piece of the amazing Yoruba people named the gele.

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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

MemoirsOfAYorubaGirl
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