Tales of An African; American

Writing this recently after attending an event many Africans; well at the very least Nigerians are familiar with.

Short Stories by Anonymous

A celebration of life, the quintessential 40th birthday party of some relative.

To my best knowledge, it doesn’t really have to be on your 40th per say. Nigerians love to party, the older ones?

They go even harder.

The party was supposed to start at 4:00pm. But we are Sub-Saharan; Black.

African Standard Time factors in at least a 1.5hr delay.

Okay, sure.

It’s terrible that we collectively make excuses for our tardiness. Worse even that we use our race as an excuse…but this isn’t that type of story.

Nevertheless, my African-American ass had me early & in there at 5pm.

Now, those of us who have been previously strong armed into assisting with the setup to an event like this, may be familiar with the setting I am trying to describe.

Setting up church related events are also sometimes parallel to it. It goes a little something like this.

The DJ is setting up.

Aluminum trays packed with steaming jollof rice are being brought in & placed in food chafers while some one tries to locate a lighter.

Usually, from the Uncle allegedly “quitting” smoking.

Cultural disclaimer!!!

Showing up early -or really on time- for an African event is tantamount to volunteering to help.

Women are automatic servers & the men lift things that need to be moved.


New faces get a guest pass. However, that quickly wears out the more familiar & acquainted you get.

At this point in my life, my hair is grown out & in braids; my favorite protective style. Also, a taboo to my parents & their Nigerian culture.

Since doing so, Nigerians have began to assume I am African American.

Which I am.

Catch my drift though.

They react to me as such.

Saying hello in an American accent. Shooting me the weird tight lipped foreigner smile & then proceeding to joke me in Yoruba to the nearest person that will listen.

This speaks to a bigger issue on Blackness & how we interact with one another within our own community. I can’t say the animosity shrouded in ‘jokes’ are strictly one-sided.

But this isn’t that type of story.

Since then I have realized how rude Nigerians naturally are.

As if growing up around them wasn’t enough of a longitudinal case study.


Anyways, upon arriving to the party, the hired photographer was; doing his job. Taking pictures behind me, he did not fail to say something slick in Yoruba about my ‘Akata’ hairstyle.

The word ‘Akata’ is vile. It has done so much damage within our community, affecting inter-cultural relations & it needs to die.

Talk-less of the fact that Nigerians don’t know their own history because before colonization we braided our hair regardless of gender.

Ah! Good ole western brainwashing.

I mean, ‘education’.

What’s even more absurd?

Sometimes, the jokes are so funny I laugh. Then they realize I understand my language; Yoruba & they begin to stare at me like I grew a third head.

Who are the parents of this miscreant?

How come they let him out into a public like this?

You can see the thoughts spinning in their puny minds.

Who cares though?

I’m grown.

Besides, my favorite part of the party has already commenced.

The prayer over the food which means it’s almost time to chow down!

& with that, mo lo jeun mehn!

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