African Britishness
Image by Oladimeji Odunsi Unsplash

African Britishness

In terms of identity, I do not feel totally African nor totally British.  I therefore call myself an African British.  I am a 2nd generation ‘African British’ of Nigerian parenthood.  I was born in the UK, brought up in Nigeria and then came back to settle in the UK.    This series is my way of recognising the dual culture that exists in me.  I will write many amusing nostalgic and sometimes serious musings about us.  

Identity

Both my African identity(Nigerian in this instance) and my British identity are very strong.  I just think words like diaspora and ethnic background, BME(Black Minority Ethnic) belong in the pages of dry academic journals or government statistical papers.

Culture

They do not describe the vibrancy of cultures that have come back to settle back to Britain,  the voluptuous roundness of a majority of African women, the proud gait and self-assurance of some African men.  Neither does it understand the colourful celebration of life and death, the spiritual hunger and yearnings that have sprung churches in every corner of the UK,  the homegrown irresistibly rhythmic music that compels you (Yes you! Booze and music!) to throw caution to the wind and jump on the dance floor.

Being British

At the same time, I love the British way of life –  my fish and chips, peace of mind instead of the chaos, clamour and sounds of the homeland and the ability to know that my privacy would be respected.  Even with the NHS in its current state – It is great to have the security of knowing that I have contributed to a health service that will, in turn, look after me were I to be ill(God forbid!).  

Also the love for a Queen that started reigning before I was born and so was always a part of my life. The rigid class systems that in no subtle way discourages you  to try and not transcend your position in life (hate that!).

I do not believe that I can please everyone so have actually written this more for myself and those that might recognise themselves in this.  I look forward to you going on this journey with me.

So what does it mean to be an African British?

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Edith Iyamu
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Edith Iyamu

Regarding your topic….who is the African British. This is an interesting one that needs to be analysed by any African born in Britain. And i happened to be one. I believe having dual nationality of African and British is a great privilege and an honour. We need to thank God and also our parents for having the foresight and knowledge to come to the UK. Some of them came to study which was very prevalent in the 60s. There are advantages and disadvantages of being a British Citizen. I came back to the UK in my 20s with most of… Read more »

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[…] In the first of this series I ask who is the African British. […]