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Atoke’s Monday Morning Banter: Identify Yourself

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??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????Last week I was in a long drawn out argument with my cousin over his identity. He insisted on speaking his thoroughly “Americanised” Yoruba to me – reminding me that the name we all call him is the meaningless version of what it really should be. So, with every conversation, he had to remind me that he is an Ondo man and he wasn’t appreciative of the fact that I kept calling him “American”.

Things finally got to a head when I got tired and asked, “So what exactly makes you an Ondo man?”

“Were you born in Ondo?” – “No”
“Do you speak Ondo language?” – “No”
“Do you dress like an Ondo man?” – “No”
“Have you ever been to Ondo?” – “No”
“Do you know of/ and practice Ondo customs and traditions?” – “No””
“Do you even have a Nigerian passport?” – “No
Now, not ALL my questions identify an Ondo man, but he didn’t answer ‘Yes’ to any of them, and I just wanted him to show me one string that tied him to this heritage he seemed to be clutching at so desperately.

After a minute of taut silence, he responded with “I am Ondo… because I am.” I said, “You’re saying you’re an Ondo man because your Dad has told you that’s where you’re from. But is that who you ARE?”

What started as a nice family conversation slowly descended into an unpleasant discourse about a person’s identity – and the quest to identify with a place, a source, a people. However, the question “Who are you?” is one that forever remains one that doesn’t have a straightforward answer.

For some strange reason, the identity issue reminds me of the flack that Nigerian online commentators give Chiwetel Ejiofor. For some reason, these people have a problem with Chiwetel’s sense of identity. Their viewpoint, like my cousin’s, is that your antecedents determine your identity. According to them, Chiwetel isn’t embracing his ‘Nigerian’.

For some people being black is more than just their skin; it is a culture, it is their tie to something beyond where they live, and what they’ve grown up with. Thus, it is the marker of identification. It is what they’d primarily say they are when asked.

Another cousin told me of how she didn’t realize being ‘Black’ meant anything other than being human until she moved to Houston from Denver. Before then, her race and skin had very little or no bearing on how she was identified. Things got worse when she went to college, and then it was important to find a body to identify with: Are you black or white? Are you African American or just African-African? Were you born in America or did you move to America as a baby?

According to her, it was very important that one’s identity was clearly stated. It didn’t help that she had a Non-Nigerian first and last name and she had to work double-hard to prove that she was who she said she was.

Atoke CheeriosIt wasn’t enough for her to be identified by what she said she was. She had to prove by speaking Yoruba, before she was taken seriously. The proof of identity appears to be of utmost importance. For example, my mum’s family have always called themselves ‘Oduleyes’ from Ogbomosho, Oyo State. However, historically, the name Oduleye is not an Ogbomosho name. It is originally an Egba name – from Ogun State. They traced their antecedents and found that their great grandfather is actually an Egba man who migrated to Ogbomosho. So they can’t prove that they’re who they say they are; but they’re stuck with it because that’s all they know.

How does one then identify oneself? And what are the parameters that tell you who you are? First, I don’t think a person is just ONE thing. I believe that a person is made up of several multifaceted elements, and each element stems from an important core. If you were born and raised in Onitsha, for all intents and purposes, you’re an Onitsha person. The fact that you are called Olayinka Hundeyin does very little to impact on how you behave. However, it can be argued that Yinka Hundeyin was raised as a Badagry man, surely he should be able to also identify himself as a Badagry man.

In Nigeria, identity is a deeply polarizing factor in the polity. Who a person is becomes an important factor; it is that which one uses on the path to self discovery.

How do you describe yourself? What are the factors that primarily identify you?
Have a fulfilling week ahead. How important is the proof of your antecedents in the determination of who you are? Do things like tribe, race and culture have a pivotal role in your identity?

Peace, love & carrot batons.
Toodles!

Photo CreditDlrz4114 | Dreamstime.com

You probably wanna read a fancy bio? But first things first! Atoke published a book titled, +234 - An Awkward Guide to Being Nigerian. It's available on Amazon. ;)  Also available at Roving Heights bookstore. Okay, let's go on to the bio: With a Masters degree in Creative Writing from Swansea University, Atoke hopes to be known as more than just a retired foodie and a FitFam adherent. She can be reached for speechwriting, copywriting, letter writing, script writing, ghost writing  and book reviews by email – [email protected]. She tweets with the handle @atoke_ | Check out her Instagram page @atoke_ and visit her website atoke.com for more information.

43 Comments

  1. Carliforniabawlar

    February 23, 2015 at 10:21 am

    I thought of this a few days ago, and challenged myself to sum up my identity in 3words…in a couple of seconds I came up with:
    1. Christian

    2. Yoruba

    3. Engineer

    Honestly, these sum up my identity…I also stuck with these cos they were the first to come to mind.
    Now, as for proof? Well, my regenerated spirit-man, my vast knowledge of Yoruba language, culture and even religion and finally my certificate. Simpus.
    I think its always a good exercise to examine ones self…. Its easy to loose your person in this crazy fast paced world we live in…

    P.s. Hi don’t hespet heny queshun has toh why hi don’t hidentify has Nigerian….han hentity that we hare not sure will hesist tohmoro….hehehe…Olohunmaje! Lol. I reps my H-factor though!

    • Bobosteke & Lara Bian

      February 23, 2015 at 10:34 am

      Hanty, yor tone she haf dicstate dee paze of dis coversasion. What heh whay to go!

  2. Fifi

    February 23, 2015 at 11:03 am

    Im Deltan because of family but i am yoruba, because i grew up in lagos,speak and understand yoruba, date yoruba men

    • aurora

      February 23, 2015 at 12:03 pm

      LOL @ date yoruba men. is identity sexually transmitted?
      ive dated igbo, yoruba and hausa men. guess that makes a a full blown Nigerian multilinguist 😀

  3. Proudly-Ibibio-Chick

    February 23, 2015 at 11:17 am

    Born and bred in Calabar but an Ibibio from Akwa Ibom following brainwashing especially by my proud Ibibio Papa. Usually I identify myself in Christ first sha LOL

  4. Ocean Beauty

    February 23, 2015 at 11:37 am

    Papa- Edo
    Mama-Igbo
    Language- English/can manage to communicate in 2 foreign languages and better pidgin English with the slangs.
    Boyfriend-European
    Location-Lagos
    Religion- Christianity
    Please make nobody cuss me because I can speak any Nigerian language. Growing up in different locations every year was tough. But I understand onye ara, were, oloshi, ozu wuru anwu.
    BN I am tired of begging you to post my comments

  5. Ocean Beauty

    February 23, 2015 at 11:38 am

    *cant

  6. Neo

    February 23, 2015 at 11:42 am

    I haven’t really thought about this, I guess for me “I am human” far above and before anything else. I haven’t been one to draw lines between patterns of identification. I think these labels just further divide an already divided humanity. I guess it had a to to do with upbringing, my street growing up was a melting pot. Igbos, Ijaws, Ogonis, Itsekiris, Yorubas, Hausa. It was when i grew up that Ikwerre Igbo was different from “main Igbo” or that Ijaws were spread into Delta, Rivers and Bayelsa. Or that if i couldn’t speak my language it meant that i did not “identify” with my people. When i would fill forms and tick State of Origin, i really didn’t get the why of it. Even getting a job, i learned about federal character.

    First time i visited the US, i didn’t have a sense of racism, i didn’t see it in the patterns my friends saw it. Don’t stare at the Hispanics on the train. Don’t walk too slow in certain neighbourhoods, Don’t walk up to someone’s door to ask for directions. If you get lost don’t approach a police officer too fast or alone at night.

    It’s all new to me. I think who i am and how i identify myself has a lot to do with the “inside” than a geographical connection. Think about it, is there a DNA pattern unique to a Yoruba man that an Igbo man cannot have? Is it about being born there or growing up there? Anyone can be born anywhere just as anyone can learn and speak a language. If there was a memory wipe today on every human on the surface of the earth how would we trace our roots back to a place?

    • gia

      February 23, 2015 at 5:52 pm

      “First time i visited the US, i didn’t have a sense of racism, i didn’t see it in the patterns my friends saw it. Don’t stare at the Hispanics on the train. Don’t walk too slow in certain neighbourhoods, Don’t walk up to someone’s door to ask for directions. If you get lost don’t approach a police officer too fast or alone at night.”

      Sometimes looking at the way nigerians raised in the us think and live im so happy to be an ITALIAN-nigerian…ugh!

  7. T

    February 23, 2015 at 11:56 am

    Is there a universal answer to this question? I don’t think so.
    Kinda heavy topic for a Monday morning. Still loved the write up.
    I’ve always felt our identity as Africans was a little more clear cut (at least when compared to African Americans). But with a lot of ppl migrating and having 2nd/3rd generation pikins overseas, I’m not concerned with how those ppl see themselves. I love in the US and a big factor in pushing to move back home is for my kids to have that sense of belonging and confidence that growing amongst “your own” affords U.

  8. T

    February 23, 2015 at 11:57 am

    Oh and to make my position clear. I identify with Blood. I am where my people came from Ekiti runs deep in my veins

  9. Berry Dakara

    February 23, 2015 at 12:10 pm

    I am an IgbOgonItsekirian with Port BoslantaGidi as my homes.

    😀

    berrydakara.com

  10. cleo

    February 23, 2015 at 12:18 pm

    True, people usually identify with their birth parents. people get confused when i day i am Yoruba by birth, and urhobo by decent. born in Ibadan, raised and all, i have no idea on what being a urhobo means. i cant speak the language, eat the food or remember customs and traditions that are affiliated to the urhobo people. But my parents are, and my parents insist i must be. So it was confusing for me until i became an adult.
    A lot of Nigerians below 40 years struggle with this identity issue. Your name, and id cards carry names that give you an identity you know nothing off. Like it was mentioned above where the Ogbomosho born and raised man is made to trace his descent back to egba because his great grand father migrated from there. Sadly, many arguments are held on the issue of decent and birth in Nigeria.
    I don’t even want to imagine what immigrants in Europe and America even pass through. Your parents are immigrants with working or residency permit. You are born in let us say Carlifornia and you are Igbo from Enugu State. Automatically you are Californian by birth. Your name is Ugochi Nwadike. Your parents insist you are igbo , and in some cases even teach you the language. However you are socialized into the Californian/American culture. Your dressing, language, education. peers, network and media is Californian. I see a confused human being. A human being who is Californian, but is reminded by his skin and parents that he is Igbo, but knows jack about being Igbo. One who is never fully accepted into the Carlifornian society because of his descent and also does not know how to adapt to the Igbo culture.
    I dont know how long this will continue, but i think people should be allowed to identify themselves by their birth place.

    • step77

      February 25, 2015 at 1:11 am

      …The reason why parents should make it a sense of duty to acculturate these kids, I am sorry but disagree that one born in a certain city automatically becomes socialized into the norms and values of that place. Our peers, language, education, network, etc can be formed by the type of upbringing and eventually the individuals decision as an adult as to how he/she would prefer to be identified. Therefore indeed a first generation Nigerian can erstwhile choose not to identify with his Nigerian roots as an adult even though his name is Uzo Nwadike, but I can bet that if his early years are reminiscent of the Igbo language being spoken at home, attending church as a kid where the Nigerians are the predominant members, attending schools where most Africa immigrants send their kids, growing up and forming social relationships with the children of the parents peers, and lets not forget attending social functions that are very Nigerian in nature, you better believe that the same individual as an adult will feel more Nigerian than Californian or Alaskan or Timbuctooean or whatever US county he/she was born in. We are a product largely of our upbringing.

  11. Neo

    February 23, 2015 at 12:29 pm

    I haven’t really thought about this, I guess for me “I am human” far above and before anything else. I haven’t been one to draw lines between patterns of identification. I think these labels just further divide an already divided humanity. I guess it had a to to do with upbringing, my street growing up was a melting pot. Igbos, Ijaws, Ogonis, Itsekiris, Yorubas, Hausa. It was when i grew up that Ikwerre Igbo was different from “main Igbo” or that Ijaws were spread into Delta, Rivers and Bayelsa. Or that if i couldn’t speak my language it meant that i did not “identify” with my people. When i would fill forms and tick State of Origin, i really didn’t get the why of it. Even getting a job, i learned about federal character.

    First time i visited the US, i didn’t have a sense of racism, i didn’t see it in the patterns my friends saw it. Don’t stare at the Hispanics on the train. Don’t walk too slow in certain neighbourhoods, Don’t walk up to someone’s door to ask for directions. If you get lost don’t approach a police officer too fast or alone at night.

    It’s all new to me. I think who i am and how i identify myself has a lot to do with the “inside” than a geographical connection. Think about it, is there a DNA pattern unique to a Yoruba man that an Igbo man cannot have? Is it about being born there or growing up there? Anyone can be born anywhere just as anyone can learn and speak a language. If there was a memory wipe today on every human on the surface of the earth how would we trace our roots back to a place?

  12. Anna

    February 23, 2015 at 12:34 pm

    I would classify myself as a

    Woman
    Nigerian
    Deltan
    Human

    I was born in London, lived in Nigeria (Lagos) during my formative years and then back to London. I’ve grown up around many different cultures, I don’t speak Urhobo or Isoko and have a typical last name, I have met many a Nigerian in my time that has tried to strip me of that ‘identity’ because of that. They forget that my grandma that I am extremely close to is a typical isoko woman and so I identify myself in her. I personally think that’s hurtful. You are what you identify with & each day you strive to identify with that thing more if matters like geographical barriers come between it by pursuing the language you may never have been taught or learning about your customs before it is too late. Culture is important & I don’t think we should declassify others because they do not fit into how we assess that particular culture. The desire to adhere to a culture is a beautiful thing. We should be encouraging others to learn more about their culture rather than dissuade them.

  13. aurora

    February 23, 2015 at 12:41 pm

    belonging/self identity is the 3rd pyramid of Marslow’s hierarchy of needs, comes immediately after safety and security needs and just before self esteem needs. this means that having a sense of identity plays a huge part in how we sense accomplishments, our self confidence and basically, how well we would value ourselves. without it, we wouldnt know where or how to fit in.
    in Americanah, Ifemelu’s cousin Chike tried to commit suicide because he had identity issues.he didnt think he belonged anywhere and so confusion and depression set in. i think this is particular worse for people who are born or migrate overseas. i guess because there is a wide array of cultures, it is very important to be able to fit into one. having an indigent name names it particularly worse because people would mispronounce and misspell your name all the damn time.
    in Nigeria, the only problem i and most other people have is yourba collegues calling me out for not knowing how to speak fluently and/or an igbo boyfriend harassing me for not learning his language as fast as he would like. either way, these are minor issues compared to what immigrants experience.

  14. Bobosteke & Lara Bian

    February 23, 2015 at 1:27 pm

    Let no man trouble me, because I bear on my body the brand marks of Jesus Christ.

    End of story.

  15. Mz Socially Awkward...

    February 23, 2015 at 2:31 pm

    Proudly Igbo, all day and everyday. However. I find it weird even in my spirit that I identify myself first as an Igbo woman and secondly as a Christian. I don’t even think of defining me as “a Christian Igbo girl”. Mba. First, I’m Igbo and then closely following that, I’m Christian.

    Maybe that’s something I need to personally reflect upon … and maybe your identity stems from what you’ve know yourself to be from the genesis of your own time. Other things will be added to it as you go on in life but some parts of your identity have existed for far longer than others…

    Atoke, biko, I agree with the commenter above who says you’re taking us to a deep place this cheery (actually, grey on this end) Monday morning. Such that I may need a cupcake to keep things cheery instead of a carrot stick *side-eyeing you but with forgiveness in my heart*

    • Jagbajantis

      February 23, 2015 at 3:35 pm

      “Proudly Igbo, all day and everyday. ”

      I like how you put that.

    • step77

      February 25, 2015 at 1:20 am

      This is funny, ada be anyi I feel you o. There’s just that part of your soul that you just cant shake, a deep, throbbing, aching, connection to the land of your forefathers-just the sound of the language, the foods, the norms, traditions I don’t know what it is but it encompasses everything that describes you in a transcendental sense. In my case I never grew up in Igbo land and continue to maintain that I do not quite understand the people yet, there is something entrenched in my soul that screams Igbo before anything else. It is spiritual if you ask me and to me there’s the link to my Christianity, my Igbo identity is welded to my identity as a Christian.

  16. C'est moi

    February 23, 2015 at 3:20 pm

    I’m third cultured. I grew up with a European family fr 3 until my naija parents took me off them & carried me to Nigeria at 11. I have two sets of parents white (no blood relation) & my biological parents. Prior to that they just used to visit & have me for a short while during the holidays but never to Nigeria.
    .
    My white parents raised me to identify as Nigerian because back then black people weren’t simply called French or British as they’re called now so despite having a euro first&last name & sharing language & culture, I always identified myself as Nigerian. Secondly so I wouldn’t have issues with selfworth/identity being the only black kid around, I’d understand why I didn’t look like others (& hopefully never want to look like the others) because I was from a different part of the world. At the time I knew nothing of Nigerian culture, didn’t even know any of the different languages, I thought my parents spoke nigerianish! My oyinbo parents worried I’d get picked on or feel the odd one out when I got to school age so instilled in me an ‘ambassador image’- I was representing my country & in those days it was a novelty to be foreign. I felt so special lol (& still do now when I find myself in such situations). Very different era from today- you hear Yoruba on the bus & don’t even bat an eyelid. (Never experienced any racist remarks until I went for summer camp in America).
    .
    I’m a mesh which is fine but identify as Nigerian cos I always have ( & partly because I get more positive attention but I’m a true Europhile when entering & exiting country borders ha) but unlike before where it was all in name, I now understand the culture & language but still very euro. I do find my oyinbo friends are more accepting of me than my naija friends.

    • hatersgonhate

      February 23, 2015 at 10:36 pm

      I feel like personally saying thank you to your ‘foster’ parents.

    • C'est moi

      February 24, 2015 at 11:12 am

      I tend not to use the word ‘foster’ parents because people tend to associate it with social care or being a ward of the state & give me heyya pity looks. Neither being the case in my situation. My parents sought out a family they could place me in & paid them good money to look their kids. It was some odd living arrangement that was quite common in the 70-80s amongst African parents in diaspora which freed them up to pursue their academics/professional training etc. My Nan used to foster care kids but had stopped doing so by the time she took me on & along the yrs did take in other African kids in similar arrangements.
      .

    • C'est moi

      February 24, 2015 at 11:34 am

      Oh & I did just call & thank her on behalf of somebody fr the internet ha.

  17. Author Unknown

    February 23, 2015 at 4:03 pm

    We should never look at cultural identity with a myopic lens. I celebrate all of the cultures that make me who I am – patri and matri lineal. Cultural identity can be through traditions (language, food), heritage (your Americanah cousin), domicile etc. Cultural affiliations are very fluid (as evidenced by the writer’s maternal line discovery) and for this reason, you don’t throw stones into a crowd for you never know who it’s going to hit. My friends would sometimes tease that ‘You’re this? I thought you were that’, to which I’d reply ‘I’m all of it’ 🙂 Cultural identity is as much about self identification as it is perception.

    What we need is for our state governments to recognize place of birth/ length of residence as a basis for claiming a ‘state of origin’. This in my opinion is causing serious chaos in places like Lagos where the majority of the population is from somewhere else, and this state of origin nonsense prevents many Lagosians from fully participating at the senior level of government.

  18. Jagbajantis

    February 23, 2015 at 4:07 pm

    It is clear that as Nigeria takes on more influence from Western culture, an identity crisis is upon us. There are those who advocate a commingling of the two – Nigeria’s best traditions with a spruce of Western cultures and its “freedoms”. An extreme of both have fundamentalism at both ends of the spectrum

    Only you can identify yourself. You are what you are at your core, plus all other cultures you choose to imbibe. Going to say Anambra state for Xmas every year does not make you Igbo if you do not feel and identify with being Igbo. I know Igbo people born in Lagos who speak Yoruba and identify with Yoruba customs even as well as people who were born Yoruba. But when we fill out forms in this country, we are asked to input our states of origins either for catchment or federal character reasons. We are constantly reminded of our ethnicity whenever we seek elective positions or we participate in any national program (like NYSC).

    Then apart from language/ethnicity, there are other causes of identity crisis – like manner of dress, how each sex is expected to behave in society, roles in marriage etc. If you schooled and lived abroad for a certain number of years, what ideas are you expected to drop when you return. What is acceptable and what should you expunge from your character even though this defines you as an individual.

    Is it possible for a female brought up in Lagos, who went to pre-school in Ogun state, attended college in America, who now sports a weave made in Peru, wears fitted couture dresses from England’s high streets, chats on a device made in Finland to marry a Nigerian man and live with African values?

    It is difficult for both sexes.. Some men are struck with Okoronkwoitis. Read Chinua Achebe’s “Things Fall Apart” or watch the TV series; or examine some of Pete Edochie’s characters as an alpha male, over-bearing, father in any of our local Nollywood blockbusters. Even though there is little need for our menfolk to take on these overbearing roles anymore, as women receive more equal opportunities in education and business. Our fathers only needed to be overbearing because back then, they were saddled with the sole responsibilities of being the breadwinner as most wives were not fully educated and had less opportunities. I can go on and on…

    As for me, here are my identities:

    1. Christian – Lutheran denomination
    2. Igbo
    3. Citizen of the world
    4. Lawyer/Writer/Social Critic/Lampoonist
    5. Language – Igbo, Pidgin English, Language of Universal Love
    6. Advocate of State rights
    7. Advocate of a Capitalist economic system with a welfarist state (like Britain)
    8. Seafood Lover

    • Christabel

      February 24, 2015 at 10:03 pm

      Why do I think this is Onye Nkuzi?

  19. Gorgeous

    February 23, 2015 at 4:09 pm

    Typical Omo Yoruba. Strongly omo Lagos for that matter. Almost pure bred. Thanks…:). I am very proud of my origin, and my state. I love Lagos. Drops mic.

  20. MissCaramelD

    February 23, 2015 at 5:17 pm

    The funny thing is that people desperately want to label others so badly. So your identity can matter to the outside world more than to the individual themselves. I was raised between the UK and Nigeria, and cannot disregard one from the other.

    I am a by product of two countries and it shows from time to time but people keep underestimating me because it matters to them to prove that I am more one country than another.

    “You don’t speak Igbo”. WRONG. Speak, read, write. Cook the food, sing the songs, dance the dances, wear the clothes.

    Why does it bother some people so badly?

    Anyway the world is on the way into turning into a massive melting pot and some labels won’t’ stick so easily anymore.

  21. gia

    February 23, 2015 at 5:56 pm

    Im nigerian and italian with more emphasis to the italian part…because even tho ive been to nigeria just once in my life i dont feel it would be right to call my self just italian…it wouldn’t make sense…

  22. Udees

    February 23, 2015 at 6:48 pm

    Nice One Atoke!!

  23. NaijaPikin

    February 23, 2015 at 8:50 pm

    I am human
    I am Christian
    I am Nigerian

    For travelling sake though, I am American. That passport works wonders when travelling.

  24. Chinco

    February 23, 2015 at 9:43 pm

    I have never identified myself as Yoruba… I know I am but call me a xenophobe or something like it but I’d rather be known as Nigerian or African…I look forward to that united identity even though I know its just a dream. I love aspects of every Nigerian tribe probably less of mine, sad to say.
    I identify with my Character/ values/ principles then my nationality

  25. Martian

    February 24, 2015 at 2:43 am

    Wow so many humans. Any extra terrestrials in the house?

  26. DIG

    February 24, 2015 at 5:26 am

    Atoke baby!lol
    you always have interesting topics sha.
    kai, this one got me thinking….I want to be Ijesha, just like i was told since i was growing up, but mehn, i just know I’m more of a Lagosian….born and bred in lagos….oh well….

  27. DOO

    February 24, 2015 at 12:29 pm

    Atoke, who are you? I’ll love to get to know you.

  28. Amoke T.O

    February 24, 2015 at 12:51 pm

    Am a Nigerian,Osun state indigene.Uapologetically Yoruba cos I was born and bred in the south-west.The community yu were born to or you were bred is your thing,giraffing other people’s things can only result into ete(shame).Stick to yur thing.

  29. adelegirl

    February 24, 2015 at 5:12 pm

    This issue of identity is something that I have struggled with and sometimes still struggle with to this day. My father is yoruba but my mum is from the ibo speaking part of rivers state – not ikwerre – the people affiliated to the delta ibo people – really complicated. I was born and brought up in lagos, so I identify more with lagos as my state of origin but the way identity is skewed in this country, I am forced to identify with my father’s state and hometown which I have very little or no connection to. I am closer to my mum’s side of the family yet I don’t speak their language very well – they don’t either as they were mostly born and bred in Lagos, so they speak yoruba quite fluently. In fact, my mum and her siblings and family tend to converse in yoruba even when it’s just them. I marvelled at this at a recent family wedding in delta, the way they were speaking yoruba to each other even in their homeland. Anyway, I am married to a thoroughbred yoruba man (who would have thunk it lol!) and when our children are born, I guess they can identify as yoruba whilst I tenaciously cling to my half rivers-delta-ibo heritage. Phew! So complicated!

  30. Thor

    February 25, 2015 at 10:19 am

    Anglo-Naija Geek

    That tells you all

  31. Thor

    February 25, 2015 at 10:23 am

    Correction, I have relabelled myself for more accuracy:

    Anglo-Ibadan Gooner Geek

  32. Opeyemi

    February 25, 2015 at 11:31 pm

    Wow lol. What an interesting article. Identity is a very personal topic and I feel that nobody has the right to tell you what you are. If you feel you are something no matter how weird it sounds I will respect that and others should too.

    I struggled with this for a long time. Born in Lagos, Nigeria and came to London at 10months old. I’ve gone back home frequently kinda (3x). I’d still say I am British-Nigerian and I’m proud of it. Your surroundings mould you somewhat and I can’t deny my British upbringing. I’ll always appreciate my mum for instilling my culture into me. She was adamant in speaking Yoruba to us from when we were young and even bought ‘Alawiye’ books loool. She’s make sure to get native sewn for us from back home and of course we watched (Christian) Nigerian movies.

    My first identity is being a Christian however because that is the only identity that really matters really. It’s for this world and beyond 😉 🙂

  33. like

    March 1, 2015 at 7:57 am

    I think “state of origin” caused this wahala. After Selma I told my friend David Oyelowo is British. Barack is American and she’s British.
    I am a Muslim Nigerian who claims my father’s state of origin while my siblings claim my mom’s since we have lived most of our lives in Lagos.

    I am a Muslim Yoruba speaking Lagos bred Nigerian who’s keep claiming her father’s state of origin she visited thrice

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