Home Op-Ed Our evolving culture in the Diaspora, by Ik Agbatekwe

Our evolving culture in the Diaspora, by Ik Agbatekwe

For most of us that came to the United States in the Eighties, the dramatic turn of events in our diaspora community is far from what we imagined decades ago.
Our initial sojourn to the States was borne out of the quest to advance our academic life and return back to our native land to assume our role in the job sector. These dreams vanished quickly due to the economic and political instability till date.
The initial culture clash that many of us experienced have  almost disappeared for the later day immigrants from Africa. I remember back then at University of Wisconsin, when the sight of makeshift African delicacy was a treasure to cherish. There were no African grocery stores or restaurants.
That has all changed with chains of African stores  and restaurants packed with our local ethnic foods in almost every city in the United States -who are competing effectively amongst each other.
The new wave of changing culture in diaspora communities goes to buttress the fact that we have adapted to life in diaspora, since we have been marginalized by the ruling class back home.
The era of Late Doctor Nnamdi Azikiwe, Obafemi Awolowo, Chuba Okadigbo et al, who were educated overseas but returned home to join in the development of our country is gone. Our own era  has fallen into the category of a generation in extinction, when it comes to going back to our roots- which is by no means our making.
Our diaspora community is quickly changing,  up to the point  that some traditional rights of passage such as traditional wedding or (Igba nkwu Nwanyi in Igbo land) are conducted in diaspora. Inductions into Chieftancy titles have also been extended to the diaspora community- where the ceremonies are performed so to say in absentia.
Before my analysis or observation gets misconstrued for an attack against my fellow diaspora citizens, I need to state clearly that my piece centers basically on how we have all become victims of bad leadership and nothing more.
I am not driving from a negative axis, but rather simply accentuating the fact that we have adapted to make the best out of the situation we  found ourself  in.
A few months ago, I was in the company of two seasoned intellectuals from my home state of Anambra, one  a lawyer and the other a Doctor of Medicine, as we enjoyed  our lunch, the issue of mortality arose in our discourse which turned into an intellectual argument. You will be very surprised to know who won the war of words.
The Lawyer swore that he will never spend his final days on earth in the  United States, but the Doctor disagreed.
The Doctor’s standpoint emanates from the fact even those of us that migrate  back home, often come back for routine medical check up and that in severe medical conditions, they are flown overseas(Preferably United States) as a last resort for life extension or mortality.  And if the later becomes the eventuality, we will either be buried here or flown back home for our last funeral rites. But most definitely through our elaborate diaspora network, we  are always able to raise funds for the deceased to be sent home for the final funeral rites, unless the family kicks otherwise.
As an observer and de facto Judge in this friendly discourse, I ruled in favor of the Doctor against a legal luminary, who also agreed with  the Doctor’s point of view as our lunch ended peacefully.
In all we have to remain prayerful and hopeful that our homeland attain the level of  political  sanity needed for us to return back to our original habitat-because it is indeed a big struggle to fit in into  the system called America, where your presumed color of skin determines your acceptance in all aspects of dealings in a cast system.
Nonetheless,  we have unequivocal love and loyalty for our native land, although  our  so called leaders constantly rebuff our goodwill intentions.
DiasporaIke Agbatekwe
Editor @ Large
Life and Times News
Los Angeles, California.


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