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How A DNA Test Complicated My Sense Of Identity

I was sat with two friends when my DNA test results arrived in my inbox and the first thing I felt was amusement. I was amused with myself and instantly humoured with the fact that what I have always believed to be a plain and monotonous actuality, suddenly become a complex and varied fact. I then felt overwhelmed because what I have always believed to be a simple, yet whole truth was, in fact, half a truth. I looked up at my friends trying to speak but my left hand was subconsciously covering my mouth, I was trying to tell them that life as I had known it, as a full-blooded Nigerian owning her Britishness, whilst re-claiming her Dutch birthright had just about become far more complex. Instead, I shouted: “I’m half Nigerian?!”

About a year ago, whilst sitting on a panel as a speaker for an event, I realised how complex I found my cultural identity, talkless of racial identity and for the first time ever, I decided that I needed to take time to figure out who I am on my own terms and that there is no such thing as having ‘too many’ identities. Needless to say, this was before I sent a test tube of my saliva to Ancestry DNA and discovered that I have ethnic ties to NINE different countries.

This time last year it was a lot simpler. I was a 24-year-old, with an annoyingly distinct east end twang to her accent, a love for the juxtaposition of wearing aso ebi and dancing to Skepta at traditional Nigerian weddings, whilst choosing mash potatoes over pounded yam, but egusi over quinoa and of course Nigerian jollof rice over Ghanaian Jollof rice. I had finally accepted the concept of being both black and British in a society that appears ever so fond of asking me “but where are you really from?”.