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Melody’s Article: Ignorant Stereotypes of Nigerians as Cannibals

Article #15 in the YCC Kids Club Ghana Student Life Stories Project
Nigerians Don’t Eat Human Flesh!!!

By Okeke Melody, Age 11

My Father came from Nigeria and my Mother came from Ghana, so for the first three years of my life, I lived with my Grandmom and relatives in Nigeria.

In Kindergarten One in Nigeria, the kids always spoke the Nigerian language and never spoke “Good English.” For example, they would say “Atten-SHI-on!” instead of “Attention!”

Melody, the student author of this article.
Melody, the student author of this article.

For this reason, my Mother hated sending me to school there, and so both my parents decided that I should come and attend school in Ghana to learn “Proper English.”

My first day at school in Ghana, I felt very curious and very shy. I was with my Father and Mother and I was only three years old. The teachers were asking me, “What is your name?” and the Proprietor said, “Welcome, Melody!”

At this point, the other kids stared at me and then began to laugh because I was acting so shy. The teacher yelled to them: “Come over here!”

Melody, balancing a sack on her head.
Melody, balancing a sack on her head.

When the kids came, the teacher sternly warned them: “Do NOT laugh when some stranger comes to campus. We must follow the rules and regulations, and we must be polite!”

But even after the teacher advised them all, one of the kids laughed again. Immediately the Proprietor took a stick and lashed her six at her buttocks. At that moment, I felt like the school would protect me well.

But the school could not protect me from everything. Ghanaians can sometimes be very mean to Nigerians (just like Nigerians can be very mean to Ghanaians), and I was often teased. To make matters worse, around that time, there were several popular Nigerian movies and TV shows that featured Nigerians eating human flesh.

Melody in the YCC library.
Melody in the YCC library.

One day I came into class and the teacher herself said: “Melody’s hometown is not good.”

“Madam, please,” I said, “Why do you say that?”

The teacher replied: “You have been eating people’s flesh as meat!”

I screamed: “It is a lie!!!” I told my whole true story to her. Nigerians are not cannibals!

But despite this discrimination, I remained a diligent student.

When I first moved to Ghana from Nigeria, I didn’t speak Ewe, only English. However, my Ewe is now so good that I teach it to Madam Lillie every afternoon as we walk home from YCC after-school classes! I work hard in my academics so that I can learn to read, write, and speak fluently and be a good student.

Melody with friends in Ghana.
Melody with friends in Ghana.

When I started school, my mom warned me to beware of “bad friends.” But not all people who say mean things are bad. They may just not understand the truth.

If you find yourself in the same situation as me and people are discriminating, you must have the courage to tell these people that what they say is incorrect. Then you must work your hardest in school and in life to prove that the prejudiced things they say are wrong!

Lillie’s Note: Please leave a comment for Melody, stating your geographical location!


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Payton A.

Wednesday 25th of February 2015

This article refers to what we were discussing in class. As much as I blame the people for making accusations based on something they heard or watched, it is equally as bad that people made a T.V. show representing Nigerians in a bad way. I have respect for anyone who can peacefully stand up for themselves and make a difference!

Stace Hamilton

Sunday 14th of December 2014

Aw, I wonder how Melody is doing now since you have last been there. Loved reading her story!

Boston, Massachusetts Stace

Alessandra A

Tuesday 19th of June 2012

That's a horrible accusation to make about someone just because of what TV shows or movies portray. It's stereotyping. And it can hurt a lot. Especially when the accusations are as serious as eating human flesh.

Malaysia S.

Monday 6th of December 2010

I'm glad you set those people straight in a non-violent way.


Friday 16th of July 2010

Hi Melody!

Thanks for sharing your story. I myself don't know much about Ghana or Nigeria but I know there is a lot of discrimination and wrong perceptions about Ghanaians and Nigerians, in addition to many other cultures. You are so correct when you say we must have courage and perseverance to educate people that are ignorant about a subject (like Nigerians "being" cannibals). We must do our best to share our knowledge and point of view and hope that they are open enough to receive it as a constructive criticism.

Never let yourself down by the discrimination or negative/ignorant comments a person might have of you or anything related to you.

Keep it up!

Norbert from Puerto Rico, Living in New York

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