Proud To Be Nigerian

When I was ten years old, I came home to Nigeria saying, “I’m from Zimbabwe.”

Although Zimbabwe is a second home to me, it’s not my home country

Just because I was raised there doesn’t mean I can claim its nationality

For some reason, I just wanted to be a foreigner

It was sad because I wasn’t embracing my culture

I guess I was just young, unwise, and inexperienced

For wanting to be, for some reason, culturally different

Little did I know that culture and heritage were important

Even littler did I know that other people were being observant

Purposely, my father’s friends would tease me for not being able to speak Yoruba

And all I did was shrug, smile, and think to myself ‘whatever’

Now I realize that was one of my biggest mistakes ever

If I can’t speak my native language, I might as well be an outsider

It’s embarrassing to go abroad and not being able to speak my own language

Others would be disappointed with my lack of cultural embracement

That’s a sad image I do not want to imagine

Although foreigners may think of Nigerians as jungle dwellers

As people living in the trees and of lesser intelligence

I guess that’s what they show on CNN, making us look like peasants

It’s obvious that we shower, so why do they ask if we have water

Despite all those remarks, I’m proud to be from Nigeria

Although it is true that our government is corrupt

And living standards here are extremely low

And poverty is the case of most of the population

I still love and respect my homeland, my nation

Nothing can erase the pride in my heart

Even when we’re millions of kilometers apart

I will continue to represent you until I depart

From this world because I love you, Nigeria

I love you too, Zimbabwe. In fact, I love you, Africa

I guess it may have been cool to be American, or Spanish, or even German

However, I entered this world through this country, so I’m proud to be Nigerian

– Jola Oke

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