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!
According to Socrates “The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.” And I totally agree as I could not believe my ignorance when it came to healthy sleeping.
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.
Which is worse – a happy culturally rich sunny country beset by corruption where you’re defined by your sex or a rich cold country in which you are defined by race.
This is about how two strong identities could increase our sense of otherness.