The whole tortured musings of a “third culture kid” ought to be old news by now. I should have knocked this on the head and moved on to bigger and better things like making poverty history or championing the cause of the African woman. However a recent trip to Nigeria sent me hurtling back to confusion, shaking the confidence I had in where I’m heading (or where I wouldn’t be heading!).
I have to be honest. The last time I came to Nigeria, I was spoiling for a fight. I had just spent a year on the continent and wasn’t interested in what Mama Naija had to say. I scoffed at her acquiescence to NEPA’s silly game playing (Sure, Kenya is a “small, poor country” in comparison to our dear Nigeria; but at least they have constant electricity!). I rolled my eyes at the obvious cultural hypocrisy that excused (even glorified) male infidelity whilst being overly moralisic on homosexuality. I burned with self-righteous anger when my beer was delivered to my uncle at a restaurant without a question – an indicator that gender equality is still pure rhetoric. I suppose in some circles my attitude could be described as arrogant? Loose canon perhaps?
However this time round I was more prepared to be less judgmental. More accepting of Mama Naija, whilst remaining discontent with the way things are.
Nevertheless, whilst I enjoy her embrace from time to time – I’m still non-commital. Not yet ready to give her all of me.
So for the next year we will dialogue. We will wrestle through issues of patriarchy, imperialism, human rights and African feminism. Maybe Mama Naija will embrace me a little longer. Maybe she won’t.