Do you live in normal houses? Do you guys wear clothes like us? Do you eat apples? Do you have foods like rice and stuff like that? If I go to Nigeria with you, will they use me for voodoo? If I come to Africa with you, will they serve me exclusively in calabashes alone? Do you see lions, tigers and other wild animals around your house?
Those are some of the questions I’ve been asked by some of my non-9ja friends and acquaintances.
I’m a Nigerian! A proud one, an educated one and would even wanna consider my self a strong ajepako (as in eh, I no dey form ajebo.) I’ve lived outside the country for years and I still got my accent strong- my ‘ehs’ and ‘ohs’ are a major part of my lingua sef. (Okay sorry this is not the focus here).
I basically want to vent over the fact that there is still an awful lot of people whose minds are closed to reading and finding out about other cultures apart from theirs. At the same time, there are lots of Nigerians who are not open to other cultures as well. So this issue doesn’t stop at one country border alone.
I mean even within ourselves, we frown at others’ cultures and way of life. When I was in Nigeria, some of my neighbors who are not my tribe squeeze their faces when we offer them our native meals. I will save that other aspect of shunning culture for another article. But for now, I’m out for non-9ja folks who think we all live on isolated mountains, in mud houses with lions roaming at our backyards and monkeys and baby giraffes as our pets.
When I arrived on the British Virgin Islands, I was walking through town from school one afternoon and omo, I was fully and proudly dressed in traditional outfit oh! And behold two teenagers walking towards me chatting away, immediately kept quiet when they saw me. This screaming silence was maintained till I passed them. My dear, those girls burst out laughing at me. In my mind I just laughed at them (mind you both of them are of African descent oh.)
That was my first encounter with closed minded folks. I didn’t let that trouble me. That was just the first experience. So many other jaw-dropping episodes followed. From people who didn’t think anyone in Africa spoke English, to people who blatantly told me I didn’t know my African geography, as Sri Lanka is a part of Africa. (This is not made up oh. There are people who really don’t think the internet could be their key to knowledge or even their ticket to other places around the world.)
I know I’m not the only one fed up with these silly questions. My friends in the United Kingdom and the United States tell me they have such people too jooor. So that just makes me feel like im not along in this “I-Have-No-Tolerance-For-Idiots,” battle.
Is it only the western media painting Africa in such an image? I’ve got to give credit to Nollywood big time oh! But some of the movies they present don’t do us any good oh. They leave people like me the tough and annoying task of having to explain to strangers that, most of those scenes don’t actually happen in the average Nigerian’s life. (I mean there’s witchcraft and all I mean, but there’s also a church in every blessed corner of town.)
I’m a Jaguda fan oh. My day doesn’t start without a click on jaguda. (Okay let me get to the point.) Being a journalist, I always thought, “oh why not write something and send over to the hard working guys at jaguda?” and for some reason, I always dismissed the thought oh. I’ve lived on the British Virgin Islands for five years. I mean dem get nice people here sha, but my dear, when dem begin ask you silly questions you go wan use them do football.
Im done ranting!!! Till next time.
By Ngovou Gyang
Image Source: www.scenicrunaway.com