I am African

Abiola Temitayo-Afolabi Written by Abiola Temitayo-Afolabi · 1 min read >

As a young girl, I loved the word Anglophile because of what it meant and I felt I fit into its connotation. I grew up noticing I was different. The average African person was very traditional and cultural and hold premium certain African beliefs that does not make sense to me. My environment was domineering. You were not allowed to have your views or hold contrary views to your parents. The space that I grew up in demands you to assign a respectful prefix to someone older than you by just a month or two. The parent dictates the course to study in the university and you dare not object to it. All these constraints made me feel like an Anglophile since I do not subscribe to their worldview even as a pre-teen.

As I grew older, I understood that my worldview is not necessarily anglophile but simply my interpretation of what should be. I read books and watch mostly American films so you could argue that I was a product of the western interference in my thought pattern. For instance, I used to love the fact that white kids tell their parents ‘don’t be silly, dad’. I do believe African parents, especially the father is often placed on a pedestal that destroys them. It is an unquestionable, infallible pedestal that belongs only to God and is embraced by dictators.

As a 44-year-old lady now, I have come to embrace my Africanness. I am in no way Anglophile and I do not wish to be regarded as such. My worldview is influenced by my faith in Jesus Christ. I still don’t subscribe to many deeply cultural activities that have no scientific or logical rationale. The difference between my younger self and the older me is that I understand that I do not approve of those activities because they make no sense to me and those who practice them have not been able to provide a cogent reason why it should be done.

There is this practice whereby wedding guests or funeral guests are made to buy or pay for the fabric that will be worn for the occasion. The guests can make any style with it but they are made to pay for its actual market price but sometimes, it could cost higher. The profit margin is used by the couple or deceased family to buy a souvenir for the wedding guests. The souvenirs are presented as gifts but really, the guest did pay for the gift. Some couples will quarrel with you if you do not pay for uniform or aso ebi as it is popularly called.

This is where I defer, why should I be made to wear a certain fabric to your occasion? Why can’t I have the liberty to choose what I want to wear? Why will you quarrel with me if I choose not to buy the aso ebi? Why will you compel people to buy it to fit in? Some of the excuses that I have heard is, so we can look the same, so we can be happy, so the picture looks nice and so the couple can make some money for their event. You be the judge if those excuses make sense to you.


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One Reply to “I am African”

  1. You are indeed African, Abiola!
    I had a similar experience regarding the “aso ebi” but I took my stand and everyone has accepted me without taking offense knowing that my decision not to participate is not for lack of money but principle. I believe the paradigm is shifting and more youths are holding on to sound principles without disrespect to the “elders”.
    I love the write-up. Thanks for sharing your perspective.

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