OLUWATONILOBA ONI

June 16, 2018

 

People tend to group Africa into one "country", ignoring the fact that it is actually a continent with an abundance of wealth. Each country in Africa has its unique treasures and cultures and for some reason, many people are completely uninformed about what Africa truly has to offer.

To me, being African is a blessing. The culture is something that I couldn't imagine my life without and I am proud to represent Nigeria. For me, growing up in an African household in America was a bit tough because other Americans would question why I do things the way I do them, wondering why I'm not trying to be more like them. I wrote a paper in the Yoruba language a couple years ago addressing the conflict of being an African who grew up in America. I talked about how I was told I wasn't "American" enough by individuals who were expecting me to conform, as if it was wrong to be Nigerian and proud. I talked about how, people used to ask me misguided questions like if I spoke "Nigerian" or if I could translate the opening of the Lion King for them.  I wrote about how someone asked me if I had a pet monkey or if my backyard was a safari.

Despite where I grew up or what questions people threw in my direction, I consider myself blessed to be African. I hope that with time, people begin to understand that it is nearly impossible to generalize Africa. There is so much diversity in the continent that many attempt to bury by creating and spreading false claims.

 

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