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Mojúbàolú Olúfúnké Okome and Bertrade Ngo-Ngijol Banoum - page 1 / 27





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Africans on the Move: Transnational, Intranational, and Metaphorical Migrations

Africans on the Move: Transnational, Intranational, and Metaphorical Migrations

Mojúbàolú Olúfúnké Okome and Bertrade Ngo-Ngijol Banoum

There are amazing parallels between this issue and the last. The writing of the editorial began with one member of our editorial board on the move tri-continentally, starting off from Brooklyn, New York and another in the Bronx, New York. Both Brooklyn and the Bronx are multicultural, multi-ethnic locales that are rapidly becoming hubs for Africans of all nationalities. The migration this time like the last began in New York City from which there was a road trip to upstate New York and back over the fourth of July weekend. A few days respite and then a plane journey to Lagos, Nigeria via London, U.K. Another ten hour layover which differed remarkably from the last one since it was spent participating actively in the British tourist economy by taking a bus tour of London with a colleague and an eight-year old. This was a less frenetic stopover than the last one that included a mad dash to the airport and a missed flight.

Of course, being en route from one place to the next is a process that lends itself to thoughts of migration. Traveling with a child who asks when he sees people in African attire – “Mom, Nigerian, Ghanaian, or from someplace else?” also draws one’s attention directly to the back and forth movement of Africans around the globe. So does hearing the inflection in the voice of conductors, travel wardens, other travelers on the train, in the park, on the street. Especially so does hearing someone carry on a cell phone conversation in any number of African languages. Being on a 400-seater Boeing 747 bound for Lagos, Nigeria is also a definite reminder of migration and population movement. Were one to be able to conduct an interview on this plane, it would reveal different facets of the migration story – vacationers returning home – migrants on a first visit home after a while, Nigerians resident in the UK on a visit back home for a brief or extended period, business people of various stripes completing yet another trip, already calculating the costs, benefits, and profits of this trip, a sprinkling of European/American/Asian/other travelers for business or pleasure, probably some University Professors like yours truly, maybe some researchers on a field trip, maybe an official of the World Bank, International Monetary Fund (IMF), United Nations (UN), or of a Non-Governmental Organization – the possibilities are endless.

To return to Britain, observing the economy in motion brings to one’s mind time and again, the phrase, “the empire strikes back”. The service economy is chock full of one example after the other of Indians in Sari, Pakistani in Salwar Kameez, Nigerians, Ghanaians, Gambians, Irish, Kenyans, South Africans, Zimbabweans, Ugandans, . . .

f i l e : / / / D | / P u r e H o s t - d 3 0 0 4 6 1 9 1 - e m i g r e 1 2 3 / a r c h i v e _ 0 2 / e d i t o r i a l . h t m ( 1 o f 2 7 ) [ 3 / 2 1 / 2 0 0 5 9 : 3 4 : 0 8 A M ]

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