I AM AN AFRICAN GIRL

Aidee and Friends
Aidee and Friends

Not just an African, a Nigerian! Despite the ups and downs, there’s always a good thing to remember. There are those memories you can’t just let go. The African culture is unique in its own way. I  have had the opportunity to experience that awful, unhappy side of life. So I was listening to an old Nigerian song and I marveled at the memories it brought. The musician brought back the memories of our old culture just before it was taken over by civilization. The culture is so interesting that it is better experienced than read or imagined. Little wonder why foreigners are very eager to visit Africa. It’s a continent I always insist God chose to keep. Strange diseases abound, men kill men, children are orphaned, blood flows, illiteracy is widespread, corruption plagues the land but satisfaction is seen on every face.

You have to agree that Africans are certainly unbelievable! I am Nigerian, I was born in the South, grew up in the West, visited the North and have been fortunate to stay in the East. Everywhere, people are content. Palm wine continues to flow, Kola nut must be eaten, Dry gin must be ingested. The local kids mist learn to climb trees, use a catapult, ride a bicycle. Kids must learn to farm, never fear animals. Even the enlightened teach their children to greet. Respect is everywhere!

I remember one of my uncles told me, when I was 8 years old to ‘Digwe’, my dad never taught me the native language but I could comprehend so I knelt and said ‘Migwo’. Only then was the man satisfied that I was respectful. I learnt, while growing up in the West, to add the word ‘aunty’, ‘uncle’, ‘brother’ or ‘sister’ before calling the names of anyone older than me. I  learnt to be content with the little I was given. I learnt to read my parents’ eyes around strangers. Failure to learn fetched cane marks. We were flogged like goats, but all these have only helped. Who I am and who I will be is as a result of the typical African training I got from my dad.

I looked forward to festivals where I would see masquerades dance. Ogun, the god of Iron and Sango, the god of thunder were greatly revered, they still are. The rich culture of the land, the Fuji and Juju music genres as well as the ‘Bata‘ drum (talking drum) all made an impact. Even at this hour of instability and chaos, some people somewhere are preparing for a big party where musicians would be called to flatter the rich. The Yoruba people are always ready for some ‘Faaji’ (flamboyant lifestyle). They never get tired of Ikokore (water yam porridge) and Omi-obe with ponmo (meat hide). Mothers still tell tales by moonlight and children still hawk goods.

I could go on and on but in all, as Africans, we always look beyond the seemingly unpleasant situations, making time out for fun. I am very proud to be an African girl.

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