There is a seed that lives within me today that is constantly embracing the growth of new layers and paths.
The seed within me has different shades and stories.
Not only has it been blessed with a sense of purpose and a calm specific calling, but the Nigerian and The Jamaican in me has created a story that has given me the vision and the foresight to dance through and overcome many chapters in Life .
So what does Nigerian West Indian Association mean to me ?
In a nutshell, it means my history, my past , the story of my father and my mother and the vivid collection of the very best of celebrating what it means to be Nigerian and Jamaican.
There is something refreshing about standing out from the crowd and over the years people have often said to me “ Tony , I cannot really put you in a box “.
My response has always been the same ” Try not putting me in a box in the first place then “.
Sometimes, I cannot help but think , that to live and act outside a box has a strong spiritual connection to my Nigerian West Indian upbringing.
Nigerian West Indian Association means the world to me . It means the very best of cultures in beautiful layers , it represents the exotic perfection of a fruitcake blessed in strange imperfect layers that are out of this world .
It represents the ease to adapt in a vast world of beautiful thoughts and celebrations.
It represents the fragile fusion of curry goat and “isi-ewu”. It also means a luxurious table of Edika Ikong , Jerk chicken, Jollof rice , Rice and peas, Carrot juice, Afang, Ackee & Saltfish, Roasted Boli, Green Bananas , Odeku and Sorrell .
My loving parents and the amazing families of The Nigerian West Indian Association have always brought me up to believe that I am lucky and blessed by having the best of both cultures, this is something I took for granted for several years until I began to travel through the classrooms of the many lessons of life .
To me Nigerian West Indian Association means emerging from a home blessed with beautiful cultures and to shine my light through the homes and the mysteries of new boundaries, this has helped me to become that change I want to see in society.
It also means the opportunity to make the most of today through the lessons of the past and to embrace the many flags that surround my territory.
But most importantly, it means in Bob Marley’s words , the celebration of ” One Love ” and making the most of our differences.
Thank you to all the families of the Nigerian West Indian Association for making me the person I am today .
And the next time someone tells you they cannot really put you in a box , simply tell them , they will never understand, it’s a NWIA thing .
Tony Tokunbo Fernandez