The passing of an elder within a family feels like the ending of a novel with pages left unread. I felt this deeply with the passing of my grandfather in 2021. Though he lived in Lagos, the handful of times we spent together in person, he would share the wildest family stories and histories.
One of these was our connection to Brazil. After his passing, I became more interested in this history and this interest solidified when I found my great-great grandfather mentioned in Afro-Brazilian literature. He was born in Salvador, Brazil and moved, or “returned”, to Lagos, Nigeria at the age of six with his parents and siblings.
One book, titled Brasileiros na África by Brazilian writer Antonio Olinto, included intimate conversations and encounters the author had with my great-great-grandfather.
It revealed his feelings of jealousy towards those who were able to go to Brazil, his desire to keep up to date with Brazilian slang and how he even sold his belongings to travel back to Salvador, as well as the crucial role he played within the Afro-Brazilian community in Lagos.