The term “coconut” in case some who haven’t yet come across it are thinking “Whoa! Hard men! Is actually a term that is used to describe folks who are black/brown on the outside but white on the inside. In fact the more commonly term is “bounty” This a popular British candy bar that is shredded sweetened coconut covered by dark chocolate.
Rather than be a compliment, this is actually a derogatory term used to describe people of black origin who by their attitudes and thinking are more white than African. These are people who have Naija names, Naija parents, Naija education, Naija breeding….. and yet insist on doing things and thinking the Oyinbo way.
A coconut or bounty Nigerian thinks and believes that everything Oyinbo is better than anything Nigerian. Complains about Nigerian traditions, culture, education etc. Such people never have anything nice or complimentary to say about Nigeria or fellow
You will find a bounty man most likely to date and marry a white woman because he thinks “Nigerian women are unmanageable” or “too troublesome” or “too materialistic”. A coconut Nigerian will claim thy do not eat Eba; that Amala is yucky; that Nigerian food is unhealthy and too fattening. They hate Nigerian parties, will not wear Nigerian clothes and most of their friends are oyinbo.
In fact, such folks will find nothing good to say about their origin and will say derogatory and negative things about Nigeria at every given opportunity.
Amazingly, these are not just our third generation Nigerians born in this country and have never in their lives been to Nigeria. These young people we can understand as some of the things they know about Nigeria is what they have learnt from the British press whose main aim is to paint anything Nigerian in a negative image. It is highly baffling when you see a Moshudi, Ramoni or Sunday who comes into the country illegally, marries an overweight Sharon of Marieska (Polish) for no other reason than to get his papers – and suddenly becomes Moses, Ray or Sly. In the few cases where the bro actually might love his oyinbo wife, the speed at which he not only naturalises but also “oyinbolises” will make your head spin!!!
The former area boy from Ojuelegba immediately becomes a quasi-refined “Jamo” and attempts to speak in a ridiculous British accent that no one but himself understands.
I come across groups of people on outings and see this only black guy in the mist of 6 or 7 white guys. He is the loudest, the more prominent but also the only one that everyone is wondering “what a prat” about. He is shouting at the top of his voice in his strange not Nigerian and not quite British accent, often with incredibly poor grammar and pronunciation and you can’t help but shudder with embarrassment on his behalf.
But there are many other kinds of Bounty Nigerians in London and it is not limited to those who will not fraternise or socialise with fellow Nigerians.
We have parents born (mostly) bred, educated and even married in Nigeria – refusing to teach their children or speak to them in their natural dialect. One of my fellow Yoruba friends, who graduated from UI, married to a guy that graduated from Unilag told me point blank – none of her children will ever kneel down to greet anybody!!! As a result of mothers like this, you find many Nigerian young ladies and boys who will rather hug you than do a slight bow or bending of knee to greet their parents’ friends!! One of such refused to do the “Dobale” at his own traditional engagement ceremony – to his own parents eternal shame and embarrassment!
We also have the Corporate Coconut or Nigerian business men who will claim they can never employ or do business with Nigerians. I remember when I first left civil service and embarked on my Events’ Planning journey. I approached one of the already established Nigerian owned businesses in London and asked that they take me on as an intern. The lady who works with her husband is well known for only taking up high end clients told me point blank “I don’t work with Nigerians. My partner is a white lady and she doesn’t like Nigerians” Even though I pleaded and offered money for the “privilege” of being trained by her, she refused and when my grovelling became too much for her, she “relented” and promised to have a word with her partner. “I will call you back in a few days” she told me. A week passed and I hadn’t heard from her so I decided to call her instead. Alas, I was never able to reach her. Her number became permanently unavailable. Mine had been dumped in the reject list!!!!!!
Recently, I visited one of the top Nigerian fast food outlets in South East London. To my shock and surprise, this guy employs white people from Poland to fry Akara and make Moinmoin!!!!!!!!
At this point, I am going to repeat a question I asked on my radio show last week – “Why do some Nigerians hate fellow Nigerians so much?” A lot of Naija owned businesses in London make their money from being patronised by none other than Nigerians but they will rather close up than employ fellow Nigerians to work in their “hallowed” organisation. In a country with high unemployment and a great percentage of this number is from among ethnic minorities and by consequence, Nigerian community – but yet Nigerian businessmen will rather employ Polish or Chinese. The nail shop I patronize in Woolwich has Nigerians making up over 90% of their clientele but all the workers are Chinese – not a single Nigerian. (I have now changed to a Nigerian owned salon – New Look Hair and Beauty Salon who proudly employs Nigerian young ladies)
None of the corner shops or African shops owned by Asians in London but highly patronised and kept in business mainly by Nigerians will EVER dream of employing anyone but their own people. So what then will make a Nigerian open a business that relies on Nigerians to stay in business, prefer to employ other nationalities when there is a huge pool of their own people they can employ from?
Following the highly publicised visit of the British Prime Minister David Cameron to the RCCG’s Festival of Life in London a couple of weeks ago, and the massive debate that ensued as to the motives behind the PM’s visit which coincided suspiciously with the coming UK General Elections, I asked if it was time for us Nigerians in the UK to have a common representation to lobby for the interest of Nigerians at 10 Downing Street (The PM’s official residence) There are currently over 2 million Nigerians in the UK – a massive vote affecting number even if discounting the non-documented or illegal immigrants – but we do not seem to have a voice that speaks up for us like the Asians and other nationalities in the UK. Yes, we have a couple of Members of Parliament and 1 Minister in the Shadow Cabinet – but in another High Level of Naija-bounty-ism, you wont find any of these at any Nigerian gathering or publicly fraternising with other Nigerians. As a matter of fact, many Nigerians in the UK are not even aware we have any Nigerians in Parliament! Yes, they will make their token visits to our churches and our doorsteps and attend one or two Nigerian events during their election campaigning months but once they are elected – you never see them again.
However, the Coconut Naija Bro Ray, Sis Beatrice, The Bounty Naija Entrepreneur and the Bounty Naija Politician in London all have the same 1 thing in common. When troubles come and they are toppled off their high horse, they suddenly remember they are Nigerian and either approach their fellow Nigerians for assistance – or moan that their fellow Nigerians never help them – the same Nigerians they turned their backs on when things were rosy for them.
At the end of the day, I can candidly say that for each of this fake Oyinbo Naijas, there are many true daughters and sons of Africa that are proudly African, proudly Nigerian and waste any opportunity to flaunt to their Nigerian-ness, no matter what, no matter where.
GOD BLESS ALL TRUE NIGERIAN LONDONERS!!!
Copyright Baroness J
(Also published in City People Magazine)