For those of you who don’t know I am half Jamaican and Nigerian but unfortunately, I haven’t had the best connection with my Nigerian side. Whenever I am asked where I’m from I say both countries but, in my heart, I honestly don’t feel Nigerian, but at least I know I’m Igbo (might as well get some recognition for the bare minimum since that seems to be the theme nowadays)
Like if someone was to ask me what about me shows that I’m Nigerian all I can say is “my middle and last name”… that is all.
I know it may sound stupid but as a 21-year-old I don’t feel Nigerian, some of you may be able to relate to this whether African or not because I can’t be the only one that has never visited their home country, doesn’t understand the language, doesn’t own any traditional clothes, doesn’t eat traditional dishes and doesn’t know any family members back home.
The truth is that for a long time I have never really cared about my absence from Nigerian culture but when I think about my future children, the way things are right now I wouldn’t be able to share anything with them about Nigeria, even taking them there would be a bit sticky because I haven’t even been there myself and between you and me I’m kind of scared to go. If it sounds wild let me break it down…
Am I Wrong for Being Scared?
For years I have been invited to go to Nigeria by my grandparents and godmother many times and each time I laugh and say ‘I don’t really know about that’. From my VERY long distance glance I know Nigeria is a beautiful country, but I hear it’s a large culture shock and I wonder if I’m actually ready.
From kidnappings, shootings, explosions, and theft, I’ve heard shit gets popping in Nigeria (granted not all the time but it’s still there) and me being someone who isn’t one of the bravest people, the thought of being in a country where the laws are somewhat ‘LOOSELY’ followed is a bit mad. If I get robbed then how do I get my stuff back, I can’t just call the police, can I?
Being in London is very different to Nigeria, I don’t really adjust well to culture shocks so there are a few reasons outside of crime that kind of scare me about visiting…
- Inconsistent hot water
- Power outages
- Being pressured for money because I sound British
- I don’t know anyone there
- ME+INTENSE HEAT= SWEATY MESS
- Area boys
- My weak immune system
- Would I even like the food?
This one MUST be on it’s own because of how serious it is but I REALLY CAN’T HANDLE INSECTS or LIZARDS, I’m not trying to travel halfway across the world to be seeing Bug’s Life in the flesh.
I’ve been told “Darnell it’s not that deep people just overexaggerate how bad Africa is” but when you hear so many people speak on their experiences and what they have seen it makes me feel like IT COULD HAPPEN TO ME TO.
Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder
In my life I haven’t always been distant from my Nigerian culture when I was younger I would visit my Nigerian grandparents’ house and all I’d hear is old school Nigerian music on the radio, smell stew being cooked, hear the language being spoken and the clothes being worn.
One of the biggest regrets I have is that I lost the ability to speak my native language Igbo because like we all know when you are growing up around family members they always want to be speaking to you in your native language then naturally you pick it up.
My grandparents and I would have a full-blown conversation with them speaking Igbo but I’d reply mainly in English because of course it was a bit easier and although I didn’t know all of the language it was funny how I’d conveniently know when they were telling me off!
A few years ago my grandad passed away and it really hit me because it had been around 4 years since I had seen or spoke to him, as you do you when you’ve lost someone, I started to think back to the times when he was alive AND that made me really miss being around my Nigerian culture.
I’m Back and I’m Better
This is the most personal blog I’ve written, I’ve never been one to share stuff but through blogging, I feel like it’s not so bad.
I can’t lie I’ve been on quite a journey, I am now at a point in my life where I can say I honestly want to go to Nigeria and see my culture through my own eyes. As much as I still have my fears I recognise that I can’t keep on avoiding traveling there as the thought of never walking on my homeland is a reality I can’t let come true.
Realistically I should’ve come to this point a long time ago because I surround myself with great people who influence me in many positive ways and there have been many times where my friends and I would sit down and have deep conversations about Africa in which they would state that that: instead of talking about the issues in Africa we should take our knowledge and assist, one of my friends intends to use his degree to build cinemas in his native country Cameroon and create jobs and boost the economy.
This is the enthusiasm and spirit we as people should hold for our home countries, I always looked up to him and thought how do I get to the point where I want to dedicate my life to wanting to help transform my country… THEN it dawned on me!
YOU MUST EMBRACE AND BE PROUD OF WHERE YOU COME FROM.
The End of the Road
I hope a lot of you could relate to my story and that you as well have/will find a way to your culture, it can be a difficult thing to speak on but it only takes ONE to speak and share their thoughts and why not me… DC Speaks
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Quote of the Blog
“A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots”- Marcus Garvey