I grew it up in Nigeria where many young people’s dream was to relocate abroad, especially to United States (Yankee) and UK (Jan) for obvious reasons. By the time I completed my masters’ degree, I also had the same desire. I did TOEFL and GRE so I could be accepted for postgraduate program in US, also they are required to qualify for graduate assistantship/scholarship.
Because I couldn’t get graduate assistantship though I gained admission into one or two universities, I turned to UK. I also got admission but no scholarship. Eventually, a colleague of mine undertaking his PhD then at University of Pretoria, told me to consider South Africa. It was in 2006 after attending a conference in Stellenbosch in Western Cape, South Africa that I finally made up my mind to relocate to South Africa for my doctoral study.
Fortunately, I didn’t have to pay fees and also I got scholarship for the program which started early 2007. After completing my PhD and started working in SA, my interest in Europe and North America, United States particularly, didn’t diminish even though I was not desperate to relocate there. I first visited US in 2009 and have travelled there more than ten times visiting more than 9 states.
Likewise, I have visited several countries in Europe. Unlike these two continents, I was not interested in exploring my continent. I only visited one African country, i.e., Mauritius (courtesy of SELAMAT- a Global Food Safety Network). Neither did I establish tangible partnership or collaboration with scientists in Africa (apart from SA) like I did in those two continents.
However, I have repented now. By the grace of God, I am going to visit more African countries and establish partnership(s) with other Africans. I have determined to love Africa more despite our messes at the same time concentrate and focus on our strength and opportunities. Not only that, I will be more intentional about giving back to Africa. And I will do everything in my power to encourage those I can reach to do the same. That is what Love Africa initiative wants to achieve.
May Africa be at peace and may she prosper.
God bless Africa!