Edo People, The Benin Empire, and African Culture For Blacks in America (Part 1)


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You are from where?

From Nigeria

 

How long were you in Nigeria before you moved?

I mean, I grew up there; I was born and raised in Nigeria. Then I lived in Europe for a very long time, for about 13 years. So I basically grew up in Europe and Nigeria. But Nigeria, Nigeria you know?

 

So when you think of back home, like if someone asked you what is home like, how would you describe it?

Oh! Me? I am the biggest fan of Africa. I mean if wasn’t an African, definitely I would be going there, I would have a base there because Africa is the most beautiful continent ever. I’ve travelled a lot but I think Africa is still the most beautiful continent; they have the most beautiful people I’ve ever met. They are very nice people, very happy people; there everybody is human to them. I mean there is nothing like segregation because of skin or stuff like that; they don’t know that; they have never even heard of it, you know what I mean? So everybody there they smile, they happy no matter the condition in Africa people smile. Even when they don’t have no food, they still smile. That’s one thing in Africa that I see that is not here. Here, people walk and walk and have money and everything but they don’t smile. I mean people tumblr_m6ma9sFcVk1rvocbfo1_1280can’t even stand and talk to you for one minute, my God! I mean it’s just the difference. Like, there is nobody that will go to Africa that will not fall in love with Africa. I think 90% of people in the world will fall in love with Africa because there is culture, people are open minded; they are very open minded there. They open their doors for you and I think that is the biggest problem in Africa. Like these people, everybody comes in there and they just open the door for everybody, which actually ruined the [continent]; because they think that everybody, we are human so it’s okay, it’s all good; No, actually it is not, you know? They should be kind of a little bit restricted, but now it’s too late anyway. So growing up in Africa, it’s a lot more natural: walking barefoot, eat with your hands, everything grows. You know, it’s just amazing, I miss all that. It’s the opposite of the Western world.

 

I remember when we were talking before you had mentioned the soil was different…

Yeah the soil is different like in my place from where I am from in Nigeria; I am from Edo state, we have red soil, which is very silky like clay. When you mix with water it is so silky, you can see that is kind of really good for the skin. Then we have the dark soil, which is very good for planting and everything so stuff just like grows. Like if you make tomatoes, the seed, you take it out because our tomatoes are not sweet, like it kind of like bite because they it’s raw organic so they take out the seed so it doesn’t bite. So when they take out the seed to make like tomato sauce the seed would just grow on its own from the soil. So the soil is really dark or red. That’s the way I grew up, it’s everywhere.

Unidentified African potentate

Is it the same now?

Yeah of course it should be the same but now, a lot of things are different now, but it’s still Africa. A lot of things are different now because a lot of people with money like Bill Gates now just invested, I heard, invested in agriculture in Nigeria, which is really a bad thing.

 

You said Bill Gates did?

Bill Gates, yes, because Bill Gates is an American. Americans, they use GMO [Genetically Modified Organisms] in their food, they use hormones, which make you sick, it really keeps people eating, it’s killing our whole race. Africans don’t know this. They don’t know “oh, there’s GMO in this,” because everybody grows up organic, it’s all natural. So this is not a good thing for my country but the Africans will say “oh it’s a good thing so we’ll have more agriculture, more food going on,” that’s the way they’re going to see it. But if you really look behind the scenes, no, it’s not a good thing because this guy just want to make money. They’re killing off people basically. GMO’s kill people; Hormones kill people. It doesn’t make you live longer, you know, stuff like that. The soil is still the same but you know when you keep planting over and over in the soil then you have to give it some [time off] there. So what the Africans do, they will leave the soil; they will leave for a couple of years, and they will go for a new one, then they will go back, you know? Because the Africa too, the population is rising. The soil, the lands, they are shrinking because the population is getting bigger and bigger. Companies are coming from all over the world. China right now is in Africa everywhere, and it is not actually a good thing at all. In fact, the whole world going to Africa is not a good thing for Africa, period.

 

Everyone comes and takes…

Everybody is taking and taking but people think they are giving Africa… they don’t give Africa anything. I don’t see anything that the world say they are giving to Africa. No. I think they just, everybody coming to just take and take and take. It’s very said that that’s where Africa is, you know? It is very sad. What are we gonna do about it, I don’t know.

benin-art

 

So when you talk about a lot of people coming in, you know, the British…

Oh well the British is the first people that came; that’s how I speak English; I speak English because my country speaks English, you know? Because we were colonized by the British, right? So that’s how we speak English. I didn’t learn English in America; I grew up with the English language. We have in Nigeria 175 million people now and we have 250 languages; that’s different dialects, different tribes, you know? We speak English to be able to communicate. Nigeria is a country that is formed by the British. There was no Nigeria. I was from Edo, I am an Edo person. We have the Yoruba, we have the Igbo, everybody was doing their own thing until the British came to circle around…

 

And they wrote the lines…

They wrote the lines and that is how Nigeria… So we have to learn how to deal with each other. We have to learn how to like each other. Picture3That’s the problem that you see a lot in Africa today. There’s this fighting because they don’t really know each other because different tribes, different languages, and the culture actually in a way is kind of different. Most things are similar but there’s the very few differences in our culture that is very deep. So it makes people like so uncomfortable because it’s not the same culture, it’s not the same language. So we have to learn to deal with that, we are still learning that.

 

So then, would you say that is the biggest, one of the biggest impacts that British colonialism had on Nigeria?

Yeah, of course, on Nigeria, Ghana, mostly Nigeria. Like now we are dealing with the North dealing with the South. I don’t think the North and South should be together. I think the northerners, they have their own mentality because of the religion and the South, they have their own mentality because of the religion.

 

What are the two predominant religions?

Muslims and Christians; The northerners, they are Muslims, while the southerners, they are Christians. So there’s these power hungry… oh this one wants to be… I never understand it because it’s just religion. If you’re really serving God, why do you have to be killing people? So that’s another topic, that topic. So it’s only the grace of God that is going to bring peace in Africa. West Africa, because Nigeria is in West Africa, is where the western world really focused on. That’s where the slave happened. That is where the western world still focuses on up to date. They talk about HIV came from there, which is a lie. They talk about Ebola; it’s all government propaganda and guess why. This is the reason why, simple: West Africa is the richest [region] in the world when it comes to natural resources. It’s massive. It’s everywhere.

 

Can you name some of those resources?

bb064Like petroleum, gold, diamonds, a lot of things, rubber; what do they call this stuff to make this [table] on the street, marbles? We supply, just Italy alone; Italy gets marble, you know Italians they are very good at design; what Italians use is marble. If you go to Italian houses, they don’t use carpet like here; Oh my God! If you see the marble, like… you know 70%, you know where it’s from? Nigeria. But who talks about it? No one. They talk about their $10, 50 cents on T.V., you know that’s the commercial, “oh help!” In Africa, I think $148 Billion leaves Africa per year to abroad, to other parts of the world. You know how much go to Africa from other parts of the world? $50 Billion; So who is losing? Africa, we are losing $98 Billion per year… per year. Without Africa this world is nothing and the human race does not want to see that, they want to say “it’s ok, it’s all good.” But if Africans, if we can just know who we are; we just need to know who we are, and know what we have; I think that will make a big difference. The rest, everything will follow.

 

End of Part 1/3

Part 2/3 Coming March 28, 2015

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About Be Wise

Member of Wisdom From The Field, wearer of the Afro, descendant of the Garveyite blood-line, all around cool cat.

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