Memoirs of the forgotten

Péju Alatise

“There is no encounter without ‘cultural contamination'. Culture is a living organism, in continuous mutation, which reinvents itself by passing through the phases of decline, loss of direction and renewal, as determined by its external contacts...No society of sound mind would claim the absolute purity of its culture.” - N'Gone Fall - Things Fall apart.


There is a conflict within me each time I have to repress nostalgia of my childhood visits to my hometown in Ijebu-Ode, to maintain a present state of mind. I remember the words of N'Gone and console myself that even the past is borrowed. The real conflict rises from the fear that I may lose a part of me forever. These parts of me are my roots. There is the general anxiety many traditional communities in Yoruba Land (where I come from) express from the old to the deaf ears of the young. This anxiety is for the eventual death of all their existence. I do not want to be deaf to them. I want to take my grandmother's cultural values and evolve with them. But, is nostalgia stronger than migration? Than imperialism? Than change?