I was born in Nigeria almost thirty years ago and I'm not sure what that means. I grew up in a house where the adults spoke Igbo to each other at that was it.
I grew up in a house that prioritized European classical over highlife. We eat rice and stew every Sunday. I loath garri and always have. Only pounded yam with my egusi abeg. It's not that my childhood home rejected Igbo culture. Far from it.
When I was younger I thought they were withholding knowledge from me. Making a conscious effort to disconnect me but what if they didn't and still don't know.
My parents always mentioned going to British boarding schools, they have all sorts of classical training and "refinement" to show for it but as someone that has rejected traditional schooling for my own child, it is easier to see how they themselves were disconnected and reconfigured in their own land.
Igbo was my first language and I sometimes feel I can't speak my mind because I have lost the words. There is a real disconnect between my brain and my tongue, they do not speak the same language. What all is lost in the journey is what I roamed so chaoticly to find.
I used to live for Nigerian parties growing up, the music, the Malta, the suya, the boys. I remember the first time I saw my mother dancing at a party. So many brown bodies moving in unison, everyone is a distinct pattern to help you identify their people. Everyone would know we where in the same family. My chest swelled.
The year before high school we stopped going to Igbo parties and my little bit of my connection was lost. My age mates where moving on without me. I didn't complain much because I never quite got the hang off what I was supposed to be doing. I was day dreaming when they said we should come and collect social skills.
I joined the African associaltion in college but it wasn't the same. It's nice to spend time with Other Africans but that doesn't necessarily get you closer to understanding yourself or I should say it only takes you so far. It sometimes made me feel further away, listening to my peers speak their own languages made me long to learn my own again. I have tried at a few points in life with little progress.
Igbo Kwenu! A meditation before my move to the city and a consistent mood my first 5 months. I have made pretty significant progress since looking to build a community of igbos but the journey has been bitter sweet. More questions than answers like all great quests. That's how I know I'm on the right track. What I want is pre-colonial Igbo; that's the igboland strongest in my memory.
I'll keep you posted.