News Article

African World Heritage Day: 'An African woman' by Olaronke Bamiduro

When I think about my experience being a Nigerian woman thus far, it’s a mixture of emotions. Sometimes I laugh and smile, other times I sigh, but I wouldn’t change any of it for anything. Primary school was an interesting ordeal. My mum definitely took a traditional approach to raising me and my siblings, and that would reflect in how we interacted outside the home. We would always have to kneel down and greet her in Yoruba and in a setting where being African was already tough, you can imagine how much more difficult this made school life.

I remember when being African was “uncool” and the only acceptable Black people were Caribbean so imagine having a mum who would dress you in native clothing on dress-up days (welp). It’s a lot harder when the people you hoped would stick with you as fellow Africans would rather assimilate. And at the time, I understood the importance of who I was, but it was still challenging. 

And these struggles were multi-dimensional—from my hairstyles (irun kiko, shuku ologede and the likes), to the way I would interact with elders and greet them accordingly and the food I would bring for my packed lunches (the locust beans would make them smell “funny”). Nonetheless, I like to think of this as character building. I wouldn’t have been able to appreciate my true self without facing somewhat of an identity crisis. Perhaps maybe future generations won’t have to experience this. Nonetheless embracing what made me different was what truly helped.  

Today, I wear my ankara and my gele with pride. I can cook my pounded yam and efo riro and eat it confident . I can confidently speak Yoruba in public.  

Being Yoruba, being Nigerian, being African is invaluable. It’s who my people were. What they endured. And who my people are. And all that comes with that—the cultures, the languages, the food, the music, the struggles and the fight for freedom. But from the Gold Coast, all the way to the shores of Cape Town, we are one. We are united. We are African.


Cookies allow us to provide the best experience using our kclsu website.

Read about how kclsu handles data , and more steps you can take to protect your data.

Select the optional cookies, and scroll down to give consent.