My Name is Moyo, part 1

Eric Falquero

Alex Haley was the best story writer in America. He wrote “Roots,” a globally syndicated television series that told the story of one man’s search for his black roots during the 17th century.

This is my story. It starts a long, long, long time ago. I was born in a military hospital for World War II veterans in north London. My mother was an art historian and pharmacist for a huge hospital in London. She was of German descent. My father was an electrical and mechanical engineer, working with the Steven Spielbergs of the time in the ’50s and ’60s at Pinewood Studios in London. He did all the electrical work for the studios.

By the time I was six months old, I was obese. Around the time I was five years old, my father decided he had reached his peak in England and wanted to return to Nigeria to set up business as a mechanical engineer. My mother, a white woman, decided to return with him.

In the early ’70s, I believed that people in Africa lived in the bush, built mud huts, wore palm tree skirts and were hunter-gatherers — which was true of a huge section of the population at the time. When we reached Nigeria my father became immediately disillusioned and shocked.

Corruption was widespread, colonialism still existed, the temperature was always above 100 degrees Fahrenheit and infectious diseases were rampant. The country had just concluded a civil war in which millions had died, more from disease and famine than actual bombs.

Many questions must have plagued my father: where to live; what school to enroll me in; and so on. I do know at the time, his brother—my uncle—had just run to be elected as chief of over three million Yorubas. My father was extremely jealous of his brother’s success as a chief, so much so that when his brother founded the Abeokuta Social Club to promote the language and culture of West African peoples (a club that still exists today), he cried.

Life was routine for us for the next five or six years, with father traveling throughout the country while my mother kept the house, concentrating mostly on gardening the huge amounts of seedlings she had brought back from London.

Not too long after we had moved to our new home, 10 miles from the international airport, we were robbed. One night they stole most of what my father had brought back from England. Their intentions were to rape my mother and sister, but my father chased them away.

It was around this time that my father bought land to build his own homes. At present, over 80,000 acres of land are attributed to the family: huge farms with lakes full of fish and a dozen trailers and tractors combined, spread across 18 villages and over a mountain. I remember 18-wheeler trucks bringing tomatoes for the farmers to sell in the market.

(to be continued)

Issues |Housing|Hunger|Living Unsheltered|Social Services|Systemic Racism

Region |Washington DC

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