AFRICA IS A COUNTRY

British Nigerian Me?
Dayo Adeneye | February 11th, 2014

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“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:

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4 thoughts on “British Nigerian Me?

  1. I understand that one second of introspection that holds you whenever someone asks “Where are you from?”. It’s a result of years of having to deny your “Nigerianess” in secondary school to avoid being laughed at combined with the growing need to hold on to your Nigerian identity in the face of discrimination through exclusion by British society’s anti-immigration nuances.

    I don’t see how Britain or any other country can call itself a culturally-diverse society if the only way to be accepted is to attempt to blend into the dominant culture and suppress yours.

  2. Very insightful video. It would be interesting to see this as a full fledged documentary probably a three part series with each episode lasting an hour that delves into this topic with interviews from a broad perspective.

  3. Very interesting doco and I totally relate! At least in UK there is a huge Nigerian community and “Black British” is an acknowledged community. That’s definitely something to be grateful for. I’ve grown up in NZ, where Africans haven’t been here long (max 35 years) and there isn’t really a “Black Kiwi / Afro-Kiwi” concept. After 24 years of living here, I’m still regularly confronting my identity and being asked “where are you from?”. Because over here, you’ll never be “from NZ” as long as you don’t have white skin. At the same time, I’ve been able to connect with Nigeria a little more through visiting the country (twice last year) and my current study is focused on Nigeria.

    If there’s any encouragement I can give to mixed-culture Africans is – there will always be opportunities to learn and engage with your culture in different ways. Don’t be ashamed of who you are, because your multi-cultural experiences will help you navigate a diverse range of environments that single-culture people will struggle with. It’s a blessing and a struggle, but it’s not the end of life.

  4. Nice one bro, the documentry really was a really eye opener for both nigeria @ home and abroad .. Its important one should not 4get his or her root what ever situation you find your self

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