A Person of My People

Reflections from Summer 2018. A piece by Sandra C. Bamisile ©

Being Nigerian in Nigeria is something nearly profound. There is a comfort that creeps over my skin. It is almost suffocating how magnificent it feels to be your own person among your own people. It is almost bewildering how ecstatic I am to eat the food of my people by my people, with my people.

For when I so choose to leave my glorious natural locks out and up to the wind to control, no one takes a second look. If i so wish to put in a weave, or wear my gorgeous braids, I am but one among millions of women. For even our most unnatural of looks and selves remain the most natural in our own home among our own people.

If I so wish to wear the strangest of my local attires when I awake, I step out and notice that everyone else is just as pleased to be in their ankaras and hollandaise, and jalabiyas.
For this is who we are. Nigerians. Africans.

If I so wish to stop on the streets of Lagos to pray to my heavenly Messiah, and King of kings as a Christian, no one tosses more than a glance my way. If i so wish to perform my abolution, lay out my mat and perform any of my daily prayers in front of my car, no one gives more than a glance. For the freedom of worship is pervasive.

Despite the profound comfort of being black in my black nation, I begin to feel an oddity. The need to witness the length and breadth of my country’s potential begins to stick into my belly like needles. The need to explore this earth eats at me. The need to move. To take Nigeria with me everywhere I go. The need to show Nigeria off to the world thugs at my nerves. Fraying them and leaving me unsettled.

By Sandra Chukwudumebi Bamisile


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