What Went Downs at ‘Natives’ the Screening

One of the most poignant concerns for children of the diaspora is cultural preservation. How can we have our own families, live away from our mother countries, and still preserve our culture? 

For many, language has been a predominant way of staying connected. Listening to music, watching the movies, and being able to speak with people from home integrates us into the culture. But, what happens when fewer and fewer people speak our language? Does our culture die there, too? 

The Nigerian-British Olukoga sisters are proving that that doesn’t have to be the case. Feyisara Olukoga tells GUAP that “growing up, my sisters and I were able to understand the language really well but not speak it fluently. Not speaking the language felt like a missing piece, so we wanted to document how to solve that problem through Natives” 

Directed and produced by SewaSayo, and Feyisara  Natives is a docushort that explores the Yoruba language and the British diaspora’s relationship with it. The film features the experiences of three people across generations with the Yoruba language as they encourage viewers to preserve the language and strengthen the community around it. 

In fact, around Nigerian Independence Day, the Natives team hosted a special screening of the film, sponsored by We Drink Chaps. At the celebration, the team emphasized the importance of the film reaching beyond just the Nigerian diaspora and to diasporas all throughout the UK. 

“I’d like to think our work will play a part in platforming those identity-based conversations and making them collective instead of personal” Sewa tells GUAP. These conversations are resonant across diasporas, and Natives further and encourage such dialogue.

Discover more from GUAP’s Arts and Culture section here.