Yoruba Girl Dancing

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Dominique Johnson Professor John Oriji History 430 Yoruba Girl Dancing Part II Colonization Leads to Interlacing of Cultures Reading the second half of Yoruba Girl Dancing one thing I enjoyed most was the description of the many different cultures that Remi was forced to live amongst. These cultures included the European culture of the upper class Nigerian in Lagos, the culture of being at the private school, the working class British culture, the lifestyle of Germans who wanted well and the culture of the well off Nigerians in London.

Remi was able to successfully journey her way through each of these different worlds and it was awfully impressive how she did. Although Remi made it through I was surprised at how some of the adults treated the children during this time as if they had no empathy for the comfort of the children. This was only one of the many things that helped Remi transform into the girl she becomes towards the end of the story and I was surprised to learn how the Europeans and Africans both mixed their cultures as a result of the colonization.

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The second half of the book began with Bigmama looking for somewhere for Remi to stay during holidays in Europe. She decides that Betty would be a good fit for Remi and she goes to her explaining why Remi is in Europe in the first place at so young of an age with no one from her family joining her on the trip. Many of the families in Nigeria felt that it was “imperative for their children to receive an English education, so that when the time comes and their country is given independence they are ready and prepared. ” (Bedford, 67) This shows just how much the Africans valued education in their culture.

They knew that when the country was released and given their independence, they would want someone who is educated to know what they are doing while running the country. This is an example of how the cultures are intertwined with one another because the values taught in London are European values but the Africans see it as almost training for their young to be able to come back educated and with the ability to run the African territories. One of the major things Remi had to deal with was the criticizing of her fellow peers. When she first got to school all of the little girls were fond of her.

They were curious as to why a girl would come all the way from Africa alone and be going to their school. They were almost embracing her through their curiosity but that did not last very long. Anita was the cruelest of the children but much of this can be traced back to what she has been taught by her aunt. Anita created a negative image of Remi by telling people, “If you touch her the black will rub off on you and very soon you will be black all over too. ” (Bedford, 86) This played a contributing factor in Remi’s isolation from the rest of the girls.

Many of the children believed this was quite true. Remi had her moments when she even thought it was true because of the treatment she was receiving from the girls. This issue was solved when Remi’s teacher told everyone in class her reason for having dark skin and that it would not come off. Race was obviously a big deal to the Europeans; more so with the wealthy older Europeans and not so much with the children. Anita had the luxury of listening to the teachings of her aunt who made sure that Anita had the same view of Africans as she did.

One reason I feel the wealthy Europeans have a certain outlook on the Africans is because of their lifestyle. Rich Europeans saw themselves as above everyone in their society. They were brought up feeling as though nobody was as good as they were and along with that they believed that the Africans were not people but more like creatures. Savages and darkies were only two words that expressed the feelings that the Europeans felt towards black people. The children did not know any better. They were not used to seeing anyone different than they were which contributed to their curiosity towards Remi and her life.

This proves how that particular view of Africans could be largely contributed as an effect of colonialism. The Europeans who lived through it, had a perception that Africans were savages and not worthy of being on the same level as they are. The children were most likely unaware of what took place in the past and their only connection with it was through their parents because of lack of documentation of the African history. Aime Cesaire’s work says that Europeans played the role of Adolf Hitler because of their colonization of Africans. Nobody colonizes innocently and the effects live on through the people.

Not every European felt like they were superior to the Africans but although they didn’t feel above the Africans, they did worry about what those who did have these feelings would think about them if they were seen with a black person. On page 71 we read about Betty being hesitant to take Remi into her household because of what everyone else would think about it. “What will it look like having a darkie kid in the house? . . . It might look bad I wouldn’t want any misunderstanding. ” (Bedford, 71) Betty was so worried about what people would think of her if she was caught taking care of a black child.

Bigmama eventually talked Betty out of this mindset but I felt it was somewhat hypocritical of her because she was the one who told Remi not to call her Bigmama in public because people are different in Europe than in Africa. Betty was part of the middle class and this contributed to her being willing to take Remi in, but it also contributed to her worrying what the upper class Europeans would think. I believe that many Europeans were caught in the middle of wanting to be good people to Africans but also wanting to fit in with their society.

To relate this to what Chamberlain explained about how the Europeans have no idea the history of the Africans. Some Europeans did not believe they were savages but they knew that not everyone knew the truth behind the Africans. Remi was able to see many of the effects of colonialism on not only her African people but also the European people and she was able to live amongst both sets of people during her early years. One thing that remained constant was the way that the cultures overlapped with each other regardless if it was a wedding in Africa with some European cultures, or an African student in the European school system.

The cultures kept finding ways to blend together and they showed throughout this novel. Many of the Africans incorporated European culture with their own. Cesaire explained how colonization destroyed the native culture and the Africans had no choice but to adjust. The Europeans held them back because even when the Africans wanted schools in their own land they were denied which I would say is one reason Remi ended up in school in London. Remi got caught in the middle of trying to blend in with the European girls that she went to school with.

She was forced to deal with being somewhat of an outcast coming from Africa. Remi’s experience of loneliness and isolation finally end when she finds friendship and a sense of belonging in the multicultural community of international students, including other Africans that she becomes part of. In the end, after enduring many hardships during her stay in England, Remi actually feels strengthened by her ability to overcome adversity and looks forward to returning to her home in Africa with her newly acquired intelligence and sense of strength.

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Yoruba Girl Dancing. (2017, Feb 14). Retrieved from


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