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
These are some of the things I think you can relate to growing up in a Nigerian or even African house.
1. “Mum, can I have McDonald’s?” There’s rice at home
2. Your kitchen is full of mugs, plates and trays from parties, weddings, baby christenings you have previously attended
3. When you go to parties, party favours may include towels , umbrellas, paracetamol, salt, maggi cubes, storage containers, buckets, bags, serving spoons, mugs, trays, keyrings, pens amidst other items
4. Parents phone calls to family back home may involve a lot of shouting, rendering any other activity in the same room as the phonecall pointless
5. You have ice cream containers in the fridge or freezer that don’t have any ice cream but house jollof rice, stew, fried meat, chicken stock and other food items
6. You are the resident handyman or woman for installing new technology in the house and fixing it when it goes wrong
7. Your cupboard is FULL of “aso ebi” from weddings and parties that you have attended before.
8.You have Robb in your house (and maybe Aboniki balm too)
9. You have used maggi to season your food before
10. All other stock cube (irrespective of brand ) is referred to as Maggi
11. Garri or indomie noodles are potential options when there is nothing to eat
13. Your surname and or first name come up as incorrectly spelled word in word documents
Did I miss any out? Drop them in the comments
Until next time
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