It is hardly news that literature exposes readers to the culture and history of a people. Most of my life I have read and respected English literature and only came to know African Literature in my late teens. Not surprisingly Chinua Achebe says, “Until the lions have their own historians, the history of the hunt will always glorify the hunter.”
In truth, I will say that accent defines you more in Britain than anywhere else in the world. That is why this week my focus is on African Britishness in relation to the British class system. Of course, this is my own tongue in cheek writing and there is a lot of talk out there […]
Gele completes the look for a big birthday and wedding, party or other formal occasions. In September 2016, Lupita Nyong’o wore a gele with her Carol Herrera dress for the debut of her film Queen of Katwe. Although it was passable I believe if she had approached an expert it would have been stunning.
The first generation, like my parents, came as students. Life back home in Nigeria was beautiful after independence in 1960. Africans came to Britain in droves to attain a high standard of education. But what they encountered in the 50s, 60s and 70s was dank cold and miserable weather, and a wall of racism. The Windrush generation also suffered this.
However, Lagos as a city is filled with a composite lifestyle of rich versus poor, and clean versus dirty, depending on the side of the divide you encounter. It equally smells, is full of thieves, hawkers and kidnappers, and has a thriving silicon valley.
Celebration is at the heart of everything the African British does. I took this for granted. Work colleagues always seemed surprised when I say I am off to another party at the weekend.
Queen Elizabeth was just one queen that ruled a powerful nation – a continuous source of fascination. Indirectly, in blistering, sweltering, sunny, crazy beautiful Nigeria, I became a kind of royalist. Something that is somewhat considered old fashioned and uncool. But there you are!
When I was growing up in Nigeria, my nourishment for how Christmas was celebrated in the West were steady diets of American movies. We considered British movies to be boring and too realistic for comfort and would only watch British comedies.