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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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Father’s day Gift Ideas for the Modern African dad

I’ve consistently found my dad is the hardest person to buy any type of gift, regardless of the occasion. I guess because he is a rather simplistic guy and is satisfied by the more “serious” things in life. I imagine most other African dads (or dads in general) are similar to mine in this respect. Anyway over time, with LOTS of trial and error, we’ve been able to figure out gifts my dad will tend to like and so I’ve decided to share some of those ideas.  They may help anyone else who is also struggling to pick a gift for their African dad.

In no particular order;

  1. Sports related gifts (Mainly football)

African dads tend to be the same in their love of football so gifts related to this tend to be winners. A good gift we were able to choose was a stadium tour and this way probably the best gift we got my dad till date.  This may include a football jersey, tickets to a match, there are loads of options for sports related gifts.

  1. Personalised Gifts

Personalised gifts tend to be a winner with everyone no less African dads. I think the key is buying something that will be functional or goes alongside a hobby/interest e.g. a football jersey with his name printed, personalised stationary, a personalised number plate ( if your account can stretch that far).

  1. Clothing items 

These tend to be more practical than “fun” but you can never have enough socks, cufflinks or shirts. Obviously, ensure to choose something your dad would wear/use or you may end up buying him something that he will use to decorate his wardrobe. So if your dad is not the tie wearing type, it may be wise to avoid buying him this. He will say thank you but he will probably never use it.

  1. Sentimental gifts 

Sentimental gifts are always meaningful and are usually highly valued even if they don’t cost that much money. These may include old pictures revamped in a new frame, a painting of a picture or a photograph on a canvas or something that captures or reminds him of a special time. The options are endless and will depend on what your pops likes/needs

  1. The gift of service

It is not a must you have to buy a gift. Acts of service may be just as or even more meaningful as a gift you’ve purchased. Maybe your dad enjoys a special meal that you don’t prepare very often – make that. Maybe your dad has been mentioning he needs his phone fixed or needs some new shoes – do that. Dads are human beings too and acts of service are a thoughtful way to say you care.

  1. Destination gifts 

This is obviously if you can afford it. Dads need to relax too and the spa is a great place to relax. You can book him a spa day or a massage. Some of the stress you give him can be alleviated this way. A holiday/ weekend getaway is also great (if you can afford of course).

  1. Hobby /Personal interest related gifts. 

This will come from studying your father and knowing the things he likes and dislikes. My father is a book lover and so books are always a safe winning option. I also have been able to identify the type of genre of books he will read. This has come from simply studying him and looking at the books he tends to read. This has helped me streamline my gift buying to things I know he will definitely use and find useful.

These are some ideas I was able to come up with. Do you have some more ideas? Share them below

Until next time

Memoirs of a Yoruba Girl

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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

Timeless skincare tips 

Skincare is a riddle. Sometimes your skin is ever fleeky and other times it refuses to co-operate. I was having one of these non co-operation moments recently and so I decided to go back to skincare basics.

1. Wash your hands BEFORE they go anywhere near your face

I think we can sometimes forget how easy it is to pick up germs and grime on your hands. From touching the bus handle to picking up your phone on the floor, there are germs absolutely everywhere. It would be highly risky to then take those hands to your face. Who knows what kind of spots you may end up with?

2. Wash your face twice daily

Washing your face in the morning is to remove any sweat from your sleep and washing before bed is to remove any grime from the day. I would say washing your face before bed is of great importance.

3. Take off any makeup PROPERLY before bed

A makeup wipe alone doesn’t really cut it in my humble opinion. After reading an article where the woman used makeup wipes and checked her skin afterwards using some skin microscope or something, she noticed some of the wipes only moved the makeup around her face. A great makeup remover is coconut oil (will talk more about this later).

4. Regular face masks are benefical

Once or twice a week for a face mask is  a good amount. Regular face masks are a preventative thing by removing any deeply seated dirt, oil or whatever else. Keep in mind there are a whole host of face masks that deal with various things, so it may be wise to choose one that addresses your skin need at the time. 

5. Wash your makeup brushes 

Again for the same reason that grime can get stuck in things that are not regularly washed, your brushes can harbour germs and bacteria. When you now use those brushes to apply your make-up, you push germs deep into your skin, which may lead to very painful spots. I learnt the hard way that this is key.

6. See a professional 

I am a big advocate for professional help, especially if you’ve tried all you can. I blogged about it here. Professionals have been trained in this and so will have some knowledge you don’t. Professional facials are important too, I would recommend this every few months.

7. Drink water 

Water is one of those things we know to be good for us but we never get enough of. Water facilitates the process of detoxification in the body and so drinking plenty of water will help to ensure this process is not hindered.

Hope these tips are helpful

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 

Finishing every book you read  

If you’re a book reader like me,  you know the feeling when you read a book that resonates with you. Every word speaks to you (literally). They literally jump off the page. You feel like you can take over the world. Then by the next day, you can hardly remember what you read 😅. This is OK if it is a fictional story you are reading but for books that you want to impact you, or books you want to learn something from, that is not so helpful.

In no particular order, these are the tips I’ve found (and am still trialing) for getting the most out of non-fictional books I read.

  1. Choose the book – duh! Of course choose the book but I mean choose something that interests you. If you pick a book you don’t find interesting, you may struggle to finish it. Read the description, read reviews (Amazon is awesome for this)
  2. Takes notes – a search on Google gave some great ideas on how you can do this. You can have subheadings that match the chapter of each book and summarise into a few sentences what you’ve learnt. So when you come back to your notes, you can get an idea of what was impactful.
  3. Highlight key standout phrases – we are all wired differently and what will resonate with me may do nothing for you. They will resonate for a reason so highlight it so you can revisit it again.
  4. Read the book more than once – this is the real struggle. It’s great to finish a book you’ve enjoyed but then it’s not so enjoyable reading it again. Consider giving it a bit of time but read the book again, you may find there are things you missed the first time you were reading
  5. Action! – with what you’ve learnt, what are you going to do? If you take no action, you’re better off to have not wasted your time reading the book in the first place. The action may be a new lesson learnt, knowledge gained or an action taken but you should leave with something benefical.

      I hope you use these tips to change your life with some new books. Do you have any other ones? Add them below 

      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?

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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

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