Hi, I’m Juliana, but you can call me Seyi.
Although, I was born in Ibadan, Nigeria and grew in in a Yoruba household, I was raised in the UK from the age of 1 and I had never fully explored my African history until a holiday to Accra in 2011. I was amazed about how welcomed I was made to feel in other people homes, and how unlike Ghana is, from many of the stereotypes – living in the UK it’s all too easy to believe the bad press, if you are not careful. Of course the Accra sun, beaches and the clubs are great too.
So I guess I can say, that that trip to Ghana inspired me to further explore my Nigerian history and from then on my Yoruba/Ga story has accelerated and I visited Lagos for the first time last year and I had an fantastic time.
My name is Nii Anyetei. I am referred to with a combination of my first and middle names and initials Seth, Setto, SA, Gbontwi, GA, Nii-Nii and just simply Anyetei I wasn’t born in the UK but I was raised here (Hackney, north east London to exact) by my parents, both Ga and both from La, Accra.
I seem to meet and know a lot of Ga people these days but growing up I only knew few couple Ga families so I felt like we were a minority(amongst Ghanaians) within a minority (amongst Africans in London). In addition to my parents I was raised by my maternal great-grandmother who spoke and understood no English so my siblings and I had to speak and understand Ga. Furthermore she (Atei we called her) liked her Ga bible read to her so I learned how to read then write Ga a little. Still with that I would rate my proficiency with Ga at only 60% so I have plenty to improve and plan to get myself to 100% by associating with groups like GDRHF and time spent in Ghana.
Meanwhile as an African history aficionado I seek out books on Ga history, Ga music and there’s even a few Ga poems out there too which all help. The more I learn about my people the more proud it makes to me feel to be part of a small but significant African tribe rich in history, culture and traditions.
“As a child, an assumption would always follow me regarding my origins; many would assume that I was Caribbean. I seemed to blend in with those children who were referred to as Black British; the descendants of those who had come to Britain on ships such as The Empire Windrush. To my young mind, blacks were either African or Jamaican, and the latter definitely seemed to be the “cooler” option.
It’s funny how time changes attitudes. My mentality today is the antithesis of yesterday. Today I’m quick to correct people when they assume that I’m Caribbean; quick to boast of my Ghanaian heritage. I’m so proud of my homeland; proud of Ghana’s rich cultural heritage, proud of Ghana as Africa’s shining example of democracy, proud of Ghana’s reputation for its warm spirited people. I was born and raised in Britain, but Ghana will always remain home. I’m not British and, despite my love for the country, I’m definitely not Jamaican: I’m Ghanaian; and proud of it.”
Alex Tettey Aplerku
My name is Chezella Kukueley Mac
(I love both names despite them being mispronounced by most people even family members still have trouble!)
I’m half Ga, and half Jamaican.
And I live in Souf London.
Growing up has been good, weird for some people that:
1. My Dad does have a Jamaican accent as Patois (Patwa)
2. My Mum DOESN’T have a Ghanaian accent (as she was raised in the UK from the age of 7yrs)
My Grandparents are my biggest influencers of our Ga culture (in Granddad’s words Ga’s are superior! #ThatIsAll. BB face, with hand across the eyes) in terms of traditions and history, but for some strange reason I was never taught how to speak Ga. Our (my sister and I) efforts seems to be learning rhyming cockney slang (I was brought up in Stepney Green, not far from where the Kray twins were). My mother speaks Ga, as do the rest of the family members and my sis and I just stand there like Emmanuel from Forty Towers.
I didn’t think anything of it then but NOW I find it the BIGGEST hindrance to a complete holistic learning of my Ga history and as an African who is learning about my Nubian history. I sometimes get my younger cousins to translate for me (if they are nearby)
But God willing, and by force I will learn!
Although I don’t speak Ga, I love all aspects of Ga traditions, naming ceremonies, engagements etc and the food. I stand as a very proud African (as I am of mixed heritage), so much so that my sis and I developed http://www.lovelynotebooks.co.uk
which shows our appreciation to African influences of rich colours and styles.
Lovely Notebooks is the new and exclusive luxury range of paper notebooks which have been designed and handcrafted
Hey, this is Nicola Steele and I was born and raised in East London to West Indian parents.
When considering a middle name for me, my Dad confided in a close Ghanaian friend who suggested ‘Tele’, meaning first born female in Ga. So it only seemed right that my first visit to the African continent should start with Ghana! In December 2010, I travelled with three friends and spent two weeks enjoying Accra’s offering of good food, beaches, night life, cultural enrichment and of course, the glorious sunshine, which was a stark contrast to the snowy London we’d departed from.
As an ‘adopted Ga’, I’m really looking forward to returning to Ghana, hopefully exploring outside the capital a bit more and already have some Cedis put aside for my next trip – can’t wait!
Nicola Tele Steele.