Excuse me, I am African

identity 2

“What’s your name?” Uju
“Your English name?” Still Uju
“Why don’t you give yourself one?” I like this just fine
“You can be Anita, Isabella, or Melissa” No, thanks
“Why?” Because it isn’t Nigerian

“Is that your natural hair?” Yes
“Why didn’t you braid it, or use extensions?” I am not bothered by my looks, you shouldn’t be
“Why?” Because I love my hair

“Are your nails natural?” Yes
“French tips will look good on you, with a bit of color” No, thanks.
“Why?” Because my nails are fine

“Your skin is so beautiful” Thanks
“You look like a black American” I’m a black Nigerian
“But you’re more brown than black” Call me black anyway

“Why don’t you speak funeh when your cousins come home” It’s not my accent
“But they won’t understand you” I don’t understand them either (not true)
“They’ll say you’re a bush girl” This bush is home. I’m teaching my cousins to be more African

……………………………
What’s the African craze to conform to Western standards? I wonder if we are so ashamed of who and what we are, that the first chance we have to leave home, we become someone else.

They say racism is gone, but is it really? Or are we free men who have been genetically impaired by years of ancestral white-black slavery, that we are stuck in a cesspool of Western indigenization? Now even back home people want to be American/British Africans.

I got a call from a total stranger who picked my number off my facebook page some months ago. For the first few minutes of our conversation I had my jaw hanging open, so I asked, “Excuse me, what’s your country of residence?”

Seuth Erfriceh” he replied.

I hung up and spent the next couple of minutes pondering why a South African based Nigerian who hasn’t spent up to a year there would be speaking like an American. That’s just pitiful. I’m sure there are a lot more out there who do the same.

My question, is this sudden change borne out of a need to blend with the society we find ourselves to gain acceptance, or is it out of a feeling of inferiority? I can’t say I have much of a problem with the former because people have a choice to do what they wish if they feel it will make their life better. However, in such a situation I’d most certainly live fully African than be plagued by a loss of identity at some future date; something the Westerners would most certainly call depression.

If it’s the latter, then—this might be a tad judgmental—shame on you. Shame on you for feeling less than beautiful; for thinking your bronze skin is less attractive than the pale white. Shame on you for thinking that your kinky hair must be constantly substituted for more silky strands. It’s quite OK to want to switch your style, but when that becomes an absolute necessity—up to the point where no one knows what the real you looks like without all that ‘layers’, we have a problem.

We don’t always have to bend to society’s Wills, we are society. If we start a trend, it picks up from there. If the rest of the world thinks us queer, tell them we are beautifully quirky. If our brothers, our own African family expect something more ‘refined’, tell them to take a dip in the Atlantic.

There is only so much one can hold on to in our ever industrialized and globalized world, but those basic culture—our delicacy, dressing, names, speech– ourselves in its most primal form, the things no one can take away from us but ourselves, lets grab on to it or we lose everything. Be African and proudly so.

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87 thoughts on “Excuse me, I am African

  1. Tamie April 22, 2015 / 6:39 am

    And again, don’t be afraid to go backwards if there’s no viable route immediately
    in front of you. The timer will only reset when you collect your free coins, so collect them
    as soon as possible, and the best way to remind yourself is via the push notifications.
    There is an old saying called men can not be judged by his look.

    Like

  2. Michelle January 18, 2015 / 7:14 pm

    Appreciation to my father who shared with me concerning this weblog,
    this weblog is really awesome.

    Like

    • uju January 19, 2015 / 7:29 am

      Thank you, Michelle 🙂

      Like

  3. Holistic Wayfarer October 31, 2014 / 12:00 am

    Right. This is why I launched the Race Around the World. It’s something, the powers of the Great Western World. I bet more women worship Barbie unwittlingly than men do, around the world. Many, many cultures prefer their own people to be of lighter shade.

    Great post as always, U. And I love how you kept your name – with pride. =)

    Diana

    Like

    • uju October 31, 2014 / 12:57 pm

      I read your RATW series and enjoyed it immensely.
      Don’t know though that I will ever fully comprehend why people seek to be like the Westerners, considering they suffer bouts of depression. Can anyone be truly satisfied with their lives (freedom) and yet be that way?
      Shocking.

      Liked by 1 person

      • archaeopteryx1 October 31, 2014 / 1:56 pm

        I will ever fully comprehend why people seek to be like the Westerners, considering they suffer bouts of depression” – I think that’s a bit of a generalization, Lovely Lady —

        How have you been, Ujah, I’ve missed seeing your bright and shining face!

        Like

      • uju October 31, 2014 / 2:16 pm

        Is it? People revel in their freedom everyday, and yet a number of those whose stories I’ve read seem very dissatisfied with their lives and search for something bigger (?)
        Oh and that should be ‘never’. I do there are happy people over there too, but what’s making the sad ones sad?

        I’ve been good. It’s nice seeing you again 🙂
        Apparently this is your favourite spot? (this post I mean). Trust you’ve been ok.

        Like

        • archaeopteryx1 October 31, 2014 / 2:40 pm

          Apparently this is your favourite spot? (this post I mean).” – no, not especially, but this is the only one that sends me emails when someone comments.

          what’s making the sad ones sad? ” – I can’t say, as sadness is largely subjective, but I suspect it is not regionalized, but is rather dispersed universally.

          I’m fine – how are things in Nigeria?

          Like

          • uju October 31, 2014 / 3:10 pm

            True. But sadness that springs from discontentment? I can’t imagine that an American would feel that. There’s so much working for you guys …or perhaps that’s the problem.

            Nigeria is well..Nigeria. Everyone’s getting ready for the 2015 general elections.

            Like

            • archaeopteryx1 October 31, 2014 / 3:36 pm

              But sadness that springs from discontentment? I can’t imagine that an American would feel that. There’s so much working for you guys …or perhaps that’s the problem.

              (Sigh –) It’s complicated. Slavery was outlawed here in the 1860’s, but today, companies spend millions upon millions, developing products that they spend additional millions on advertising, to convince us we must have these latest gadgets, and if we want to go into debt, to have all of the things today that it took our parents a lifetime to acquire, well that’s fine too – here’s your credit card – and presto! – instant wage slave! But legal!

              We in the US are too hung up on material goods, when the real things in life come from interpersonal relationships, sad to say.

              Everyone’s getting ready for the 2015 general elections.” – our mid-term elections will be held next Tuesday. Yours will probably be as crooked as ours – does a REAL democracy exist – ANYwhere?

              Like

              • uju October 31, 2014 / 4:17 pm

                Freedom is Slavery

                So it’s a case of gaining freedom from one vice, to get enslaved by another. I’ve always wondered about that.

                “Yours will probably be as crooked as ours – does a REAL democracy exist – ANYwhere?

                Nah. Some just do a better job making theirs look legit than others. I’m sure Nigeria will have a lot to talk about with the carpet-crossing happening now.

                Like

                • archaeopteryx1 October 31, 2014 / 4:24 pm

                  carpet-crossing“? – I guess I’m not familiar with that term —

                  Like

                • uju October 31, 2014 / 4:34 pm

                  Party hopping? Jumping from one political party to another. You know at some point we had over 50 political parties? And yet there’s no more than 3 active ones.

                  Like

                • archaeopteryx1 October 31, 2014 / 4:47 pm

                  I had a last-second thought that’s what you might have meant, but I went ahead and hit “Post,” because I wanted to be sure. I’ve just never heard that term before, but it makes sense.

                  Like

      • Holistic Wayfarer October 31, 2014 / 4:08 pm

        Yeah, I knew you’d followed the Race – was just referencing. =)

        “considering they suffer bouts of depression.” How about the astronomical cancer rate? The obesity? What and how we eat have everything to do with our mental and emotional health. I was so saddened to learn some years back that many Asians ditched their balanced, healthful breakfast of grain and veggies for the processed cereal with milk. AUGH. How the East embraced McDonald’s is a tragedy more profound than people realize.

        Like

        • archaeopteryx1 October 31, 2014 / 4:21 pm

          How the East embraced McDonald’s is a tragedy more profound than people realize.” – I’m an American, and I couldn’t agree with you more – not only do WE, overall, live an unhealthy lifestyle, but to make matters worse, we insist on exporting it!

          Like

          • Holistic Wayfarer October 31, 2014 / 4:41 pm

            Right. No matter what the hec it is we’re exporting – cancer, heart disease – as long as we can rake in the $.

            Like

            • archaeopteryx1 October 31, 2014 / 4:53 pm

              I guess the rationale is, if the demand weren’t there, they wouldn’t be exporting it, but that goes back to what I said earlier, about a demand being created artificially, through advertising. I no longer smoke, but when I was a teenager, TV and the movies made it look so cool, I just had to try it – then I was hooked, just like with any other drug.

              Like

        • uju October 31, 2014 / 4:25 pm

          I read a Freshly Pressed post that addressed this issues you raised, “Do something Pointless”.

          Wonder why it’s difficult to pick up good cultures and let go of what’s evil. It seems humanity’s mental/cultural filter might be faulty.

          Like

          • Holistic Wayfarer October 31, 2014 / 4:43 pm

            And – back to your post here – difficult not only to let go of the evil but see the good in our own culture.

            Like

  4. yemi July 23, 2014 / 8:24 pm

    it does work might not always but does. Know a guy who decided to work into offices on the island to submit his cv because he was tired of submitting online without response and in some cases he got to see the hr person and got interviewed on the spot and in some cases he didn’t get beyond the gateman.

    At the end he got two bank jobs through that process. Was applying to be ur EA to see the requirement you would ask for..lols

    Like

  5. yemi July 22, 2014 / 10:02 am

    Well you can tell them that you are Uju and you don’t take no for an answer. Lols but in all even people with msc from foreign uni’s are around looking for jobs o and have faced “job rejection”.

    Part of ways of fighting is knowing the requirement the firm you trying to work in wants. They might be certain qualifications and or degree level, then you ask God for favour.

    In-between I want to apply for the position of your Executive Assistant(EA).

    Like

    • uju July 23, 2014 / 12:58 pm

      I’d love to see how that works 🙂

      Yes, always trust God for favor–He is after all the regular ‘evener’.

      EA? Of what?

      Like

  6. yemi July 22, 2014 / 9:25 am

    Lols madam Uju am not saying the favoritism don’t happen, I for one considers it as an unfair advantage.

    What am only saying is as it happens in nigeria so does in other countries.

    That is why we must show we are better than he/she with such “unfair advantage”. Am sure if I told you I graduated from Harvard or OAU you would unconsciously see me in a slightly different light to if I say I graduated from university of Akungba (no offense to intended to university of Akungba).

    Like

    • uju July 22, 2014 / 9:29 am

      How does one prove himself better than someone with an unfair advantage, when he isn’t even given a fair chance to prove his worth?
      Your HR personnel sift résumés first before calling for interviews. What are your chances of being called in when yours is resting alongside say 10 people from the U.S? Of course other than that you are a 1st Class graduate? 🙂

      Like

  7. Odii July 22, 2014 / 7:46 am

    As long as you’ll bring all that “foreign charge” back and put it to good use here, by all means travel to any galaxy you want for school.

    Employers. Yeah, I’ve seen some up close and I daresay that species is largely afflicted with the same ailment – self-doubt or arrogance. Both are actually two sides of the same coin and play out in identical manners.

    Our local employers don’t value foreign education because they know that it is better, it generally is because they are afraid to break out of a paradigm. It looks good on a company’s profile to have staff with foreign degrees and the more doubting of oneself one is the more one wants to stay safe. The more arrogant one is too, the less challenging they are of a tradition that they have accepted.

    It takes courage to hold and defend one’s own identity and one’s own persuasions about life. Perhaps we should pray for courage and boldness for our employers so that they stop letting their personal insecurities hire foreign-garbed incompetence.

    Like

  8. yemi July 21, 2014 / 11:01 pm

    Yes ma such schools do exist and likewise the substandard schools.

    Remember I said it’s a global occurrence. The ivy league schools have grants, sponsors who make sure researches are carried out.

    Like

    • uju July 22, 2014 / 6:23 am

      Ok. So do your employers of labour confirm what schools have attained a certain educational standard first, or do they just take up anybody who breezes in packaged with a foreign ribbon and smells of western air?

      Like

  9. yemi July 21, 2014 / 10:19 pm

    Thanks for the compliments Arch. And regarding what my statement is based on I would summarise it in 1 John 5..

    Like

    • archaeopteryx1 July 21, 2014 / 10:41 pm

      Ujuh has politely asked that I be kind to her guests, Yemi, and in keeping with that, I’m reluctant to even address the issue, but biblical scholars have determined that John 1, 2 and 3 were all written by the same anonymous author who wrote “The Gospel of John,” and likely AFTER he wrote that gospel, which was sometime near the end of the first century or later, at least 60 years after the death of the New Testament’s hero, Yeshua, (If he ever existed). That’s it, I’m done, and I said it in a very kindly fashion (I’m almost ALWAYS kind –).

      Like

  10. yemi July 21, 2014 / 9:39 pm

    Ok. Schooling in a good school abroad as against others;

    – you would get the best of what you are studying

    – ability to maximise your potential in your chosen field in terms of resources available.

    – for those in engineering, sciences and courses dealing with research you would agree that they have a better chance of excelling.

    – take a look at the viable researches around the you would notice that they are mostly carried out in such schools

    Et al..lols

    Like

    • uju July 21, 2014 / 10:21 pm

      So Yemi, how sure are you these schools have all you claim they; have you been there before? I’m certain the American, English and Canadian have substandard schools too. Or do you presume that just because it’s outside our shores then it’s all good?

      Where exactly is “such schools”?

      Like

  11. yemi July 21, 2014 / 8:56 pm

    I do live here with you o..lols..my point is its a global phenomenal when it comes people who graduated from ivy league schools and those who didn’t especially in the case for employment.

    Also, I have friends who graduate from both the ivy league schools many through scholarships and those who graduated from a university all in the name of having an msc from a school outside the country.

    Furthermore, some of my friends have also been recruited directly from these schools especially into the oil and gas firms and are paid inconvenience fees.

    Lastly, in nigeria an hnd graduate who vies for the same entry level position with a bsc graduate would earn lower all because he attended a polytechnic.

    I hope with these few points of mine I have been able to convince you and not confuse you that going to an ivy league school either locally or internationally has its benefits in so many things

    Like

    • uju July 21, 2014 / 9:02 pm

      Okay then, this is you agreeing with me even though you don’t realise it 🙂

      So for the sake of argument, what benefits do you presume schooling abroad avails a Nigerian, as against going to a local university?

      Like

  12. yemi July 21, 2014 / 7:50 pm

    @arch my humble greetings..my “Something good did come out of nazareth” is and was not based on any four anonymous writters.

    @uju the benefits are not just the Nigerian employers but a good school would definately expose you to world of opportunities.

    For instance if you study in Cambridge, you know you are privy to one of the best lecturers, good learning environment, availability of practical materials, funding etc

    It’s not only in nigeria that employers prefer graduates of prestigious universities, some law firms in the US only employ from certain universities, check out the schools the US presidents went to. In nigeria about two months back a company was recruiting and the criteria was that you graduated from a federal university.

    Polytechnic students are fighting for equality because they are always looked down on compared to university students. Even msc students from non top university in nigeria are looked down on compared to the likes of unilag and co..

    Like

    • uju July 21, 2014 / 8:15 pm

      Yemi, you act like you don’t live in this country with me.
      Pray when was the last time you heard of anyone graduating from an Ivy league college? I bet you haven’t.
      What you get on a regular basis are stories of Nigerians graduating top of their class from schools no one had ever heard of. But who cares, so long it’s outside our shores, we’re good 🙂
      Perhaps you aren’t award that some of your employers of labour go to these schools to recruit workers, even before they place adverts for job openings.

      Like

    • archaeopteryx1 July 21, 2014 / 8:50 pm

      And hello to you, Yemi, I hope you are well. Yemi is an attractive name, and I can see no reason why anyone would ever need to Anglicize it.

      RE: “my ‘Something good did come out of nazareth’ is and was not based on any four anonymous writers.” – if not, upon what was it based?

      Like

  13. yemi July 21, 2014 / 10:16 am

    The truth is I have no problems with leaving the shores for education as long as the school you going is of a high grade because those kind of schools have benefits attached to them as unilag, oau or ui would attract some benefits when compared to some other institutions here.

    Something good did come out of nazareth

    Like

    • archaeopteryx1 July 21, 2014 / 2:44 pm

      Something good did come out of nazareth” – according to four anonymous men, writing 35 to 75 years later, whose credentials and reliability can never be checked.

      Hi, Ujuh – how have you been? Things still going well, I hope —

      (Sorry for hijacking your comment, Yemi – just your friendly neighborhood atheist, here – but I haven’t spoken with Ujuh in some time, and just wanted to say, “Hi!” – this is me, going away now –)

      Like

      • uju July 21, 2014 / 3:58 pm

        Lol Arch! It’s so nice seeing you again. Yes I’m still fine and doing great.
        Be nice to mt guests, us Nigerians place our gods on a pedestal and can argue our life for him if we’re bothered to…oh yes, apparently I’m one exception 😉

        Trust you’ve been good. I’ve missed you.

        Like

        • archaeopteryx1 July 21, 2014 / 4:18 pm

          Be nice to mt guests” – I’m always nice, that’s why you like me!

          Like

        • archaeopteryx1 July 21, 2014 / 4:21 pm

          Trust you’ve been good.” – Well, yes – good, rarely!

          Like

      • uju July 21, 2014 / 4:56 pm

        I’ll like just about anyone (not true)…
        Rarely? What’s up, old age catching up to you? 🙂

        Like

        • archaeopteryx1 July 21, 2014 / 5:22 pm

          I said I was rarely “good” – what has that to do with age?

          I was reading an article today about American actress Gabriel Union, and I was struck by how much you resemble some of the images of her.

          Like

      • uju July 21, 2014 / 6:33 pm

        I meant good as in okay.

        Gabrielle, she’s a gorgeous woman 🙂

        Like

        • archaeopteryx1 July 21, 2014 / 7:02 pm

          I meant good as in okay.” – I never do —

          Gabrielle, she’s a gorgeous woman” – as are you.

          Like

      • uju July 21, 2014 / 7:39 pm

        Dear Lord, Arch I swear sometimes your responses are robotic.

        Thank you 🙂 you’ve always thought me gorgeous.

        So I’ve been meaning to ask, why do you always use exclamations? I get this image of a man yelling his words.

        Like

        • archaeopteryx1 July 21, 2014 / 8:45 pm

          Out of everything I’ve written here to day, I’ve used only two exclamations, which imply emphatic statements – ALL CAPS means yelling —

          Like

      • uju July 21, 2014 / 9:05 pm

        All caps is just begging for a fight.
        But i was just referring to now, even on Ark’s blog too.
        How’s Victoria? Last time i visited her blog, all that science stuff made me dizzy.

        Like

        • archaeopteryx1 July 21, 2014 / 9:23 pm

          How’s Victoria? Last time i visited her blog, all that science stuff made me dizzy.” – oh, she’s still at it. Anytime I need anything sciency, I go to her.

          Like

      • uju July 21, 2014 / 10:26 pm

        Give her a kiss for me.
        I’m off to bed now, enjoy the rest of your day. It was really nice catching up with you 🙂

        P.S Be gentle with Yemi. I’m trusting him with you.

        Like

        • archaeopteryx1 July 21, 2014 / 10:45 pm

          Be gentle with Yemi. I’m trusting him with you.” – as gentle as I was with you, Love – sleep well!

          Like

    • uju July 21, 2014 / 5:02 pm

      You’re making my point for me, Yemi. What kind of additional benefit would you normally attach to a foreign school if your employers didn’t already declare them graduates better than those produced locally? Absolutely nothing.
      First you employ foreign manpower and place your country men beneath them, and then you tell your country men that if they can be like those foreign overlords, then chances of climbing the organizational ladder will improve.

      Like

  14. yemi July 20, 2014 / 10:31 pm

    The truth is majority of us here in Nigerians are suffering from inferiority complex where we feel anything coming from the white (either red, orange etc) man is way better than what we have here.

    That’s why the Chinese dude less qualified to you would come here and we rush to him calling him master and likewise the Indian, Americans etc.

    But when we get outside we surprisingly behave better. So until we have the renewing of our minds we would continually willfully enslave ourselves to the “other skin” people.

    Like

    • uju July 21, 2014 / 8:52 am

      Well said, Yemi. Also explains why a good number of us would do anything to get an education outside this shores; employers believe as long it’s from netherlands, it’s got to be better.
      Brings to mind this line from the scriptures, “can anything good come from Nazareth?”

      Like

  15. Sarah June 7, 2014 / 5:06 am

    To add, – unless we start to think for ourselves, care ourselves and become accountable – not a single thing is going to improve. My ex husband was that way – inactive, infantile and demanding, now he is sitting on imgur all day upvoting puns about jerking off. In case you don’t strive, you lose it. Excellent post. xOxOx Sarah- http://phytoceramidesreviewstv.com/
    Sarah http://phytoceramidesreviewstv.com/

    Like

    • ujuh June 17, 2014 / 12:18 pm

      Thank you, Sarah 🙂

      Like

  16. archaeopteryx1 June 1, 2014 / 5:06 pm

    You GO girl! As Shakespeare said, “To thine own self be true, then it follows as the night, the day, that thou canst not be false to any man.”

    Like

    • ujuh June 2, 2014 / 11:04 am

      Thanks, Arch 🙂

      Waiting for today on the other thread.

      Like

      • archaeopteryx1 June 2, 2014 / 2:06 pm

        I posted it yesterday – the courtroom scene – I forgot you have a god who tells you what days you can and can’t do things. Oh wait, you don’t – Jesus said the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath —

        Like

      • archaeopteryx1 June 3, 2014 / 1:37 am

        You can run, but you can’t hide – where ARE you?

        Like

      • ujuh June 3, 2014 / 5:35 am

        Lol! Sorry Arch, I had a relapse. I’m here now.

        Like

        • archaeopteryx1 June 3, 2014 / 11:24 am

          But here isn’t there —
          (And your comment was posted just after my midnight, when all archeopteryxes are roosting somewhere, high in a tree)

          Like

      • ujuh June 3, 2014 / 11:52 am

        Ok, I’m heading there now. Hope I can still find my way.

        Like

      • ujuh June 4, 2014 / 6:05 am

        No Arch 😦 My network sucked all of yesterday, and The Ark’s blog doesn’t look too good on mobile. I’ll try connecting with my tab today.

        Like

        • archaeopteryx1 June 4, 2014 / 12:27 pm

          I was just a bit concerned that you weren’t feeling well again.

          Like

      • ujuh June 4, 2014 / 12:56 pm

        I’m well, thank you 🙂
        Still can’t connect though. Will email serve better now?

        Like

        • archaeopteryx1 June 4, 2014 / 2:42 pm

          But you haven’t yet read what I’ve written, and then of course, there are others on the site whose comments are helpful. But you’re always welcome to email me – still, how is that possible without iNet service, in fact, how can you post THIS?

          Like

    • ujuh June 4, 2014 / 3:36 pm

      The PC’s network’s messed up, not my mobile device. The mobile view on Ark’s blog ain’t great, so i can’t view more than the first couple of posts *shrugs*
      I’m posting this with my mobile phone currently. The closest alternative is to switch this sim to my tab and try viewing from there. There’s no guarantee however that it’ll stay there long enough to view everyone’s post.

      I’ll send you an email.

      Like

      • archaeopteryx1 June 4, 2014 / 5:51 pm

        ‘K

        Like

  17. obzervashunal April 16, 2014 / 11:29 pm

    Beautifully realized to the page! Thank you for sharing these words and ideas. They are all great reminders: no matter who you are, be proud and not so quick to conform in order to be accepted.

    Good luck with your writing!

    Liked by 1 person

    • ujuh April 17, 2014 / 11:07 am

      Thank you, Obz 🙂

      Like

  18. Emeka April 14, 2014 / 2:49 pm

    Abi o. We Nigerians like borrow borrow sha.When it comes to names, i value and respect originality. I don’t have any English name. I’m a super proud Emeka.. I’ve actually met people who aren’t proud of their native names. It worries me.

    Like

    • ujuh April 14, 2014 / 2:58 pm

      Chukwuemeka, beautiful name. I worry too when people try to Anglosize native names; why must it sound anything outside it’s pronounciation? Nneka will become Nikky or Eka, Pamela. I just tire. Thank you for being proud to wear your name originally like a badge of honour.

      Like

      • Ella Emma July 17, 2014 / 1:37 am

        I think there are always two sides to the coin. Whilst I am a firm believer of African names – Nigerian to be precise – as I believe they have depth and meaning, sometimes some people can just twist your name so bad it can even turn to a curse in your own language. I agree that there are some people who are not proud of their beautiful native names but there are some others who just want to ‘help’ the inadequacies of their ‘brethren’ in the area of pronunciation.
        ..But hey what do I know… I’m Ella right? lol *covering my face*

        Like

      • uju July 17, 2014 / 7:30 am

        When it comes to Nigerians and pronunciations, I’ve come to realize a good number of people are just too lazy or don’t care enough about a name to take the effort. Say, our languages are tonal, so any Yoruba pronouncing my name as “Iju” must really be kidding me. The ‘U’ vowel is common to both languages–Yoruba and Igbo– and yet someone can’t pronounce that?

        Teach them to call it right. With foreigners I can understand if they pronounce wrongly, but our ‘brethren’? Nah, those ones have no excuse 🙂

        Ella, for being here today I’ll give you a free name pass 😉 Let’s consider intent today, but I still advocate teaching. Be patient and teach them how to say your name.

        Like

  19. ujuh April 13, 2014 / 10:43 pm

    @Livelytwist
    That’s a nice perspective you brought. Perhaps it didn’t occur to me to consider body types because as far as my knowledge go, those of us who grew up back here without media influence have never really bothered about being stick thin–but yeah, i get the bias. I have to ask though, what’s the craze about figure? Never did quite get it. My major worry about keeping my weight in check was that my hips and bum would literally disappear 🙂 I’m glad i still have both.

    But still, we must control the media.

    You’re beautiful btw, and your smile…just wow 🙂

    @Tyrion,
    It’s getting better now, the African tips i mean…tailor made for us and our environment.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. tyrion86 April 13, 2014 / 8:40 pm

    I really didn’t have anything to say to this. I thought it just about said everything that needed saying. But I love the perspective that @livelytwist brought into it. Truth is, we tend to conform to the things we see. So media is really a powerful force in molding our mentality.

    I too want to start seeing AFRICAN hairstyles, AFRICAN beauty tips, AFRICAN fashion, AFRICAN bodies. I have been seeing visions of hair products, skin care products, fabric and stuff like that tailored specifically to African needs – physiological, cultural and environmental needs. I really would kike to see Africa, naked Africa, without the garnishing of the West.

    Like

  21. livelytwist April 13, 2014 / 6:40 pm

    Ujuh, let me just pick on one theme from the many that you are addressing. Beauty. I like to think that our definition of beauty comes from external sources and media is powerful in this regard. I grew up leafing through Cosmo & Vogue (before I discovered Essence & Ebony), and I hated my full lips until Naomi Campbell came along and validated me!

    To celebrate our ‘version’ of beauty, we need to control media. I am happy that there are now many indigenous (African) fashion magazines. The beauty on display there has my skin, my hair? (no, I won’t go there 🙂 ), but not my body. We tend to be fuller and curvier, but I see ‘stick’ thin girls. I see this bias, perhaps because I’m struggling with my weight 🙂

    ‘Provocative’ articles like yours make us think and talk. A step in the right direction if you ask me.

    Liked by 2 people

  22. Mathew briggs April 11, 2014 / 5:25 pm

    @Op Very wise words you have up here… This piece was a nice read.

    Like

  23. sweetlittlenetwork April 11, 2014 / 1:36 pm

    I taught abroad but refused to give my students English names. As I told them, “you are Korean, there is nothing wrong with your name” I met so many Korean adults that would say, “my English name is…..” When I inquired why they had an English name, they’d say, “it’s easier for westerners to pronounce” My thinking will remain, no one should change their name so it’s more comfortable or easier for another. It is their responsibility to learn to pronounce it.

    Like

    • ujuh April 11, 2014 / 3:27 pm

      Hello Sweetlittlenetwork, that was a brave thing to do. The rest of the world should get used to foreigners instead of constantly expecting them to morph to their taste.
      Likewise people should insist on being addressed by their own identity, rather than changing to suit others.
      I do hope your students never change their names; names are personal..they are who we are.

      Like

      • sweetlittlenetwork April 11, 2014 / 4:08 pm

        I definitely agree. A name is tied to ones cultural identity. No one should ever feel they must change it and others really need to accept all for who they are and where they come from. Thank you for your response

        Like

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