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Deciding To Do My African Studies PhD in Nigeria Forced Me To Confront My Own Internalised Racism

I never intended to study in Nigeria. As an Ivy League educated lawyer, working at a UK law firm, I doubted whether I’d even go back to school. Then Covid-19 hit, just after I turned in my notice, and I realised that I’d rather face what felt like the apocalypse at home with my parents in Lagos.

Moving back to Nigeria forced me to think critically about what I wanted to do with my life. I’d read Black Studies as an undergraduate in the US and having established that practising law was not for me, I decided to pick up where I’d left off and pursue a PhD in African Studies. The challenge was figuring out where to study.

The US seemed like the obvious choice, but I had already left America to be closer to my family and spending another six or more years living in a country that I had no plans of settling in, did not seem realistic.

The UK, in contrast, seemed to strike the best balance between proximity to my family and academic opportunity. After all, it was a hub for Africans from all over the continent, and I figured that I’d have access to more African Studies experts than in America.