19 – Ghanaian and Nigerian

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Im from Walthamstow; my parents are from Ghana and my grandad’s from Nigeria. I’m basically quite regular, I’m currently a student at UEA, studying Law, but lately I’ve been doing a lot of social awareness things, getting involved with charities.
I think I’m definitely conscious of my blackness and it got to a point where I was stopping myself from doing certain things because of it. Now I’m at a place where I feel I can do certain things because of my blackness. I feel like I have to speak up more, and do more things as a black woman. As a black person I felt limited to certain lifestyles; it often feels like we have to fulfil a prototype like the smart black girl or the funny black girl, or the goofy black girl. But you can only be one, you can’t be complex. But now I’ve learned that you can be all of those and be multi-faceted, so now I branch into whatever I want to branch into.
What I really love about my culture is the element of pride, we just embrace who we are. There’s so much pride and happiness which you often see in a person’s name; with a Nigerian name you can see it’s a Nigerian name and with a Ghanaian name, you can see it’s a Ghanaian name. Automatically people have an idea of who you are in their head, which sometimes can be good, sometimes bad. The tribe that my dad is from they don’t have Ghanaian surnames so my surname isn’t particularly Ghanaian but I’ve always felt a pride in my first name which is very Ghanaian. I was named after my Grandmother which is a very important thing. I think the pride of heritage in the name is something beautiful.
Sometimes, I think people think I come across quite harsh and serious, I feel like there’s a lot of things that if I do, I’m going to be labelled, I’m going to be struck off but if someone of another race does it, it’s not as bad so I’m very careful about what I do so that can come across as anti or hesitant. It’s something that I’m trying to get out of because I feel like I’ve been conditioned to just be one certain thing, not step out of my comfort zone, but now I’m willing to do things I haven’t done before and branch out because it’s my life, I can do what I want.
In terms of the future, I’m scared of going out into real world, not just corporately but socially, like really striking out on my own. But I just genuinely want to be happy, it’s not even about a profession, or who I’m with, like what I’m doing, just genuine happiness inside and out, being proud of where I am and accepting myself completely.




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