The Nigerian diaspora has been spread all over the world, with many Nigerians calling Cape Town their home. However, being fully accepted into a community outside your home country is not always an easy task.
Lester Kiewit spoke to executive director and CEO of Bold Moves Africa, Mama K (Kemi Akiyode-Adebayo), about the reality of being a Nigerian living in South Africa.
Mama K was born in Lagos but has lived all around the world and now splits her time between Nigeria, the UK and Cape Town.
She said that her reasoning for leaving Nigeria was the same as most people she knew who left, which was finding adventure.
When I left at the age of 21 to go to the UK, I didn’t know where I was going, I didn’t know who I was going to meet, but I knew what my father and my mother had given me as a foundation was wherever you find yourself, make it home.Kemi Akiyode-Adebayo, executive director and CEO of Bold Moves Africa
She said she had always learnt from her family to assimilate into and celebrate the culture of wherever you are, while also maintaining the connection to your own roots and culture.
Unfortunately, in South Africa, there is often a xenophobic narrative that affects the lives of foreigners who are trying to build a life here.
Despite the fact that many Nigerians may have settled in Cape Town following all the legal processes, there is often an association with criminality which affects how their community will see them.