“British Nigerian Me?” is a short documentary I made about people born of Nigerian parents but raised in the United Kingdom without much knowledge of their heritage, culture or understanding of their mother tongues. It looks at one of the issues faced by people of dual heritage who are torn between two different cultures and are confused about their identity. Hence, the reason for the question mark in the title.
The film was inspired by my first trip to Nigeria 18 years. Few days into my visit, I started to realise how different things were compared to London and how little I actually knew about the country and my family’s culture. An experience that really saddened me was meeting an elderly aunty of mine for the first time and being unable to communicate with her as she only spoke Yoruba, which I barely understand.
On returning to London, I started to wonder how many other people are in similar situations like me and decided to explore this further. There are multiple reasons why: parents not teaching their children about their culture; children are simply not interested in learning their language or knowing about their culture; and parents not valuing their culture and heritage.
Looking back, I myself was not interested at all while growing up, despite my parents’ best attempts, and I was not even proud to be a Nigerian. I think this was probably because of the bad perceptions presented of Nigerians at the time (corruption, 419 etcetera). I regret not having an interest then…and I am still struggling to understand my language.
Here’s my short documentary: