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Fatia Goes to Nigeria! - Fatia KasumuJan 15, 2014
900AM-WURD's Fatia Kasumu shares her recent trip to her parents' homeland, Nigeria.
Happy January Kings and Queens! I hope you enjoyed your holiday and that 2014 is treating you well. I just came back from a month-long trip to Nigeria, West Africa and I must tell you that the East Coast met me with bitter cold. My plane arrived on New Years Day at 12:05 P.M. and I could feel the cold between my fingers as I stepped out of the Newark, NJ airport!
Oh Nigeria! My parents’ homeland is always a great time. This trip in particular was very therapeutic for me. My paternal grandmother died recently and I mainly went there to pay my respects. She was a woman that with little education, built her own house from the bottom-up, raised 9 children and has 50 grandchildren. My memories of her were of happiness and laughter. She was a woman that always spoke her mind, and never let any “elephant-in-the-room” go unnoticed.
This was my third trip ever to Nigeria and I decided to be a tourist in the country. Many people may not be aware but Nigeria has two standing slave barracoons, one in a place called Badagry, Lagos where I visited for a day. The other one is in Calabar, Cross River State Nigeria. In Badagry (see my slideshow at the bottom), the slave barracks were formed in the 1840’s and were overseen by the late Nigerian chief Alhaji Chief Seriki Farami Williams Abass (real name Ifaremilekun – "ee-fa-remi-le-kun"). During the slave trade, many slave owners gave their slaves their last names in order to easily identify them as their property.
My tour guide in Badagry said most enslaved Africans from Dahomey (modern-day Benin Republic) and Nigeria were transported to Brazil and caribbean islands like Jamaica and Haiti. Europeans came to Nigeria and offered things like liquor, umbrellas and gun powder as payment. It was amazing to relearn at this slave barracoon the ways that colonialism still has influence in Africa, and that Africans traded their own to Europeans. However, we must remember that at that time, "slavery" as practiced in Africa was comparable to indentured servitude, not lifelong chattel slavery. Africans who participated in the slave trade with Europeans had no way of knowing the horrors of the Middle Passage or the brutality of what awaited their brothers and sisters on foreign shores.
I couldn’t go to Nigeria without going to the infamous markets! Unlike the United States, where the common man goes to malls or department stores to shop, I was in the hustle and bustle of buying items in the heat! I fainted on my first trip out to the Lagos market…(but that’s another story). Check out the video below:
Lastly, for some reason, December is the most popular wedding season in Nigeria. I believe this may be because people come back to the homeland and celebrate the holidays. With most West African weddings, there are two parts to holy matrimony. The first is usually a traditional wedding, followed by a “white wedding.” The traditional wedding involves an introduction ceremony between the bridegroom families, gifts, uniform attire and a marriage proposal. The white wedding is a more modern wedding ceremony (like something you would see on cable TV wedding programs). At my cousin’s traditional wedding ceremony I met so many new family members I couldn’t count them all!
Here is a slideshow from my trip - enjoy!
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