Maintaining Links with the Homeland through Marriage and Naming

An Exploratory Study among Nigerian Immigrants in the US

In: African Diaspora
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  • 1 Stevenson University

Abstract

The more contemporary wave of diaspora Africans constantly call upon a wide array of elements of their native cultures as they negotiate life in their host societies, signifying their continuing linkage to their homelands. This article examines marriage among Nigerian immigrants in the US for patterns expressing their continuing connectedness to their native cultures. I argue that marrying fellow Nigerians allows them to create a space where their native cultures become part of their daily lives. Legitimizing their marriages using Nigerian institutions, to an extent which is not required by US law, also signifies their connection to their homelands. When they give their children ethnic (Nigerian) names, they do so explicitly to express their cultural identity and roots and sow the seeds of this consciousness in their children.

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