Blog Archives

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

X

Advertisements

Things I Hate About Being Late 

This topic right here, it is slyly the story of my life.  I think a lot of people (especially black people) can relate to this. I have racked my brain for a starting point or a particular event that has brought about about such a lax attitude to punctuality and unfortunately I can’t think of one.

This post was inspired by this video I watched on YouTube. I’ve linked it below ⬇

So in no particular order, here are some of the things I hate about being late;

1. Having to prepare a credible argument/excuse for why you are late – this is figured out while still on the way to the destination. Excuses may range from oversleeping, to missing the bus, traffic on the way or another valid excuse.

2. Missing the beginning of the event – especially when it’s an event you have been looking forward to. For me this used to be the praise and worship part of the Sunday church service at my church at university. I LOVE praise and worship and hated missing it (obviously not enough though or I would have been earlier)

3. Sprinting/power walking to catch the train or other mode of transport to get to where you are trying to be – you give it your all to catch the said mode of transport, especially the train/bus that will help you scrap “on time”. If you miss it, there is no hope for even scraping on time.

4. Trying to cram the morning routine into 5/10 minutes – this tends to happen after oversleeping or when the alarm doesn’t go off. The morning routine which would normally take 30/45 minutes is crammed into 5/10 minutes. This is not an easy thing to do and involves aspects of the routine being omitted or being done on the way to the destination.

5. Feeling bad as you give yourself a telling off for being late AGAIN – you always scold yourself that it will not repeat itself again. Until the next time….

6. The knowing stares when you have to walk into an event late – especially when everyone else was on time. In these situations, it is advisable to perch QUIETLY at the back of the room to remain as inconspicuous as possible.

7. Having notoriety among friends for being repeatedly late 

9. Feeling a great sense of achievement when you FINALLY get to a place early or on time – it is possible. Takes a lot of planning but it is definitely possible.

Can you think of any more? Share them below

Until next time 

Memoirs Of A Yoruba Girl 

X

Book of the Month (March 2017)

When this book was first released, it was surrounded by a lot of buzz and still is. I was curious about the life and story of Toke Makinwa so I decided to read the story. The book for the month of March 2017 is On Becoming by Toke Makinwa.

 Credit to Linda Ikeji’s blog for the image

Credit to Amazon for this image 

SYNOPSIS

The book is a biography about Toke Makinwa’s life up to this point. She talks about her life experiences from childhood, the tragic loss of her parents and  the breakdown of her very famous and public marriage. She uses her story to share key lessons on life and relationships in a candid way.

The Book’s Description

Toke never envisaged that she would be a successful media personality. She began her journey as a bubbly child but grew into a lonely teenager after the devastating loss of both her parents. For so long after, it seemed as though she would never find herself.
On Becoming is the real Toke Makinwa telling us what it is like to be one of the most talked about celebrities in Nigeria. She reveals the truth behind her 14-year relationship with the man she finally married. A marriage that ended
in an atrocious scandal that nearly brought her to her knees.
In the wake of the peaks and troughs that characterise Toke’s experiences, she now shares her struggle with blinding betrayal, finding forgiveness and drawing strength from her faith in God.

On Becoming is Toke’s journey through pain to victory.

POSITIVES

It was interesting to get to know a bit about the person behind the name. Toke Makinwa is a private person so although she is a socialite, there isn’t that much we know about her apart from the information she has made available about herself. I found the parts she shared about her childhood and about her parent’s very open and honest.

I also appreciated her honesty in sharing the things she did about her marriage relationship because some of the things she shared are things that are very private and people would often want to remain that way.

NEGATIVES

I would have liked to know more about her career journey to success.  As I touched on earlier, Toke Makinwa is someone that is private and only shares things about herself that she wishes to. I feel there would be a lot of useful knowledge to glean from her career story. Although she did touch on it very slightly when she talks about staying in London for some time, she doesn’t really explore this more.

At times, it felt it little like the story jumped from one topic to another, kind of losing us on the way there.

KEY LESSON (S)

  1. Do not ignore the red flags! While reading Toke’s story, it became clear there were behavioural patterns that were repeatedly displayed by Maje.  It would have saved Toke a lot of heart ache had she have paid attention to the flags.
  2. Do unto others as you would have them do to you – from Toke’s account of her experience, it doesn’t appear as though Maje considered Toke’s feelings much. I am apprehensive to completely say that because there are always two sides to a story and we have not heard Maje’s side. It may completely flip the script.
  3. Love is powerful and very addictive – love clearly can make a person do things they wouldn’t have dreamt possible. Toke shares how she started using creams to lighten her skin to make her appeal more to her then spouse
  4. In the multitude of counsellors there is safety – Toke shares that a number of people warned her about her relationship with Maje and went as far as to say even his own sister warned her. There is definitely truth to the scripture in Proverbs 11:14.

MARKS OUT OF TEN – 6/10

Hope you enjoyed my review; do let me know if you read it yourself

Until next time

Memoirs of a Yoruba Girl

Damilola Taylor, “Our Loved Boy” BBC programme review

I vividly remember around the time that Damilola Taylor passed away. I remember going to bed and laying on the top bunk of my bunk bed in the dark at about 10 years old and being able to not comprehend what had really happened. It was scary to think of someone so young dying that way. Damilola Taylor was born in 1989 and would have been only a little older than me.

Damilola Taylor was a few weeks shy of his 11th birthday when he was murdered in a completely unprovoked attack.  Even till today, it is still heartbreaking to think about what he went through.

So I was understandably interested to watch the show and learn more about Damilola Taylor before he came over to the UK.

The programme was based on the true life events that facilitated Damilola Taylor’s coming to the U.K and the events that happened after his demise.

My review 
I loved that they were able to bring some joy out of what remains a sad situation and I appreciated they allowed us to get to know who Damilola actually was. He was a dreamer and had high hopes for his future. The actor that played Damilola, Sammy Kamara brought out his playful and childish side excellently because that was what he was, a child. He did an amazing job of bringing his character to life, I felt I was able to actually get to know who Damilola was a little better. 

The actors chosen to play both Damilola and his family all did a great job of helping us to see a little into the Taylor family’s world, especially after loosing their son. I feel I was able to gain a bit more insight about them and the reasons they chose for bringing their family to the UK.

The most heart wrenching scene of the programme I felt was the phone call made by Damilola’s older brother Tunde to his father to break the news to him. The silence and the tears spoke great volumes. It was amazing acting on both parts and spoke of the great strength both of them had in the face of  great grief.

I appreciated the programme didn’t paint the family to be angels but allowed us to get a realistic picture of who they really were and the very really struggles they  would have gone through as a family trying to come to terms with loosing a loved one.

It is also great to know Damilola’s family decided to keep his legacy alive through the Damilola Taylor Community Centre. My prayer for the Taylor family is that God will heal their hearts and give them His peace.

Until next time 

Memoirs Of A Yoruba Girl 

Budgeting 101

This has quickly become one of my favourite topics and passtimes. 

An interesting thing about money I have found is if you don’t plan for your money, it will develop its own mind and you won’t be able to account for where it all went. Given the early wake ups and long commutes home we make to get this money, I think it makes sense to look after it. I’ve also found there are alot of things calling out for the attention of the money you have worked for e.g optional insurance after purchasing an item, the three for two offer at Tescos when you only wanted one item, the biscuits you shouldn’t even be eating.

Budgeting helps to ensure you don’t run out of money before your next paycheck and don’t have to live off your overdraft. It also means you get to stack up your savings 🙌 (another of my new favourite topics).

This is the way I have decided to tackle budgeting at the moment (I am still tweaking it).

1. I write down somewhere ALL my monthly expenses i.e what I spend my money on everyday, no matter how small. I write this on my phone and later in a book but you might do better using an excel spreadsheet. This way you can identify any bad spending habits you have and get rid of them.

2. When I get paid, I make sure I remove all my expenses first!! Doing it first helps to ensure you don’t run out of money to cover your bills and other important necessities.  If this section is taking a lot out of your expenses, consider a review of what you are spending on.

3. After I have removed the money to cover my expenses, I remove some to save – unintentionally I save roughly  a third of what I get. I think the key is to save as much as you can. A penny saved is a penny earned. This third may be further split depending on what I’m saving for so I may put some money away for my holiday and some into savings I don’t touch.

4. From the remainder, I remove money for petrol, food shoping and personal care products – I separate this from expenses because this may fluctuate, but putting money aside for it helps me keep myself in check. 

5. From the rest of the money (which by this point is not all that much) I keep some money to play with. So money for Nandos, cinema, getting a massage and other leisurely activities come from here. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy and that is especially true with your money.

6. At the end of the month I sit with my receipts (which I advise you to keep) and “balance my books” 🙌 – I look at any money I have left over and save that, look at any bad/wasteful habits and where I could have saved more etc 

What are your budgeting tips to help you save that money? Share 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?

image

image

image

image

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
X

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

Maiden names are underrated

We all know the story. Boy meets girl. Boy and girl fall in love, boy proposes. Boy and girl get married. Then they live happily ever after.

image

What happens to the Maiden name? It is common place that the woman will change her surname after marriage and be fully amalgamated into her husband’s family.

My question is why does the woman have to change her Maiden name.

1. What if she doesn’t like her husband’s name that much? To go from maybe a Michael to a Ogunlana or Koleosho might not be the easiest transition (no shade intended)

2. What if she prefers her original Maiden name? Nothing wrong with that right? She has only had the name since she was born

3. What if the husband likes her surname more than his? Can’t he change his name to hers, the only constant thing in life is that fact that things change, I guess your surname can follow that trend too

4. Why can’t everyone just keep their own surnames? That will prevent any confusion from either parties

5. Can we make a new surname together and roll with that

I have often wondered about this as someone who would like a hypenated surname. Technically there is no good reason why everyone could not keep their original names. I can however hear the words “culture” and “tradition” floating around.

image

On the plus side, there is no complication with having to change the names on your important documents, certificates and passports. It also allow you retain a name you’ve had all of your life so far, which will be important to you and your identity.

On the other side, taking your spouse’s name would help you to maybe feel more “married”. It would make for less confusion especially when children come into the picture. And invitations and letters addressing the both of you would be easier to address.

image

What do you think? Is keeping your maiden name important? Or does it not make a difference? Comment and let me know what you think

Until next time

Memoirs Of A Yoruba Girl
X

%d bloggers like this: