Today we have Glorioustriumph with us! Welcome!
1. Can you tell us a bit about yourself and the different cultures you are part of?
I am a half-Yoruba, half-Urhobo Nigerian who grew up in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa. I grew up around mostly English-speaking South Africans, so I developed their characteristics (accents, interests, etc.), while still having the privilege of experiencing my Nigerian heritage at home, at church for a season, and through Nigerian family friends.
At home, my parents spoke Yoruba to each other, but they had decided that our language of instruction would be English, perhaps so that we would be well-trained in the language that seems to rule the world. For that reason, I am an English-speaking African who only knows the scraps of her beautiful mother tongue, but I am eager to gain more and more of it with time and exposure, through movies, music, and other forms of media.
2. What is the strangest thing you have done as a TCK?
Attending high school in Swaziland was my first time living outside of South Africa, and I did not know whether I would need to carry around a form of ID or not. Would the police stop me for a bribe, like the stories my parents had told me about life in Nigeria? So for the first few months of boarding school in Swaziland, I carried my Nigerian passport around with me wherever I went, even to class sometimes. Just in case, you know?
3. What is an advantage of being a TCK?
In my opinion, the biggest advantage of being a TCK is also the most difficult part of being a TCK. It is the fact that you are not a natural part of the people you are surrounded by. This fact should make you more observant in order to understand, more accepting in order to be accepted, and generally more malleable – that is, willing to open your mind to learning. I have been most grateful to be an unnatural part of the South African community for the mere fact that it forces me to grow. But it was also my place of pain for many years until the Lord showed me that even as a Christian, I have been grafted into His family (Rom. 11:17–18). Does that make me miserable? Actually, quite the opposite.
4. How has being a TCK helped you when interacting with people?
My TCK background is a topic of conversation when I run out of things to say. Nowadays, people are really interested in the fact that I’m Nigerian, and I have more to share with them now than I did before I delved deeper into my cultural heritage.
Other than making me a more practised wider thinker (because I have learned to make room in my thinking for the differences between myself and the person I am speaking to), being a TCK makes me someone interesting to speak to, if I may say so myself. I’ve seen things through different perspectives and heard a lot of other points of view. Now I have a richer bed of thoughts that are really fun to engage with, and it makes it fun to speak to other people.
5. What characteristic of God have you learned most about in your life as a TCK?
“But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace.” Ephesians 2:13–15 ESV
Being a TCK gave me an understanding of what it means to be alienated from the commonwealth and to be a stranger to the promises that are for the people. But in Christ, I have become one with His people and I am now at peace with all people from all lands in Him.
6. What is one thing you would like to tell your fellow TCKs?
“The LORD is my chosen portion and my cup; you hold my lot. The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.” Psalm 16:5–6 ESV
As believers, we are all foreigners on earth; we are in this world but not of it. Yes, as TCKs, we may have real identity questions and troubling thoughts and concerns about our futures in lands that are not our own, but the Lord is our chosen portion, He holds our lot, and He is our inheritance. We need not worry about today or tomorrow, we need not feel hard done by because we are strangers in another land. We can rejoice and be glad because we have a beautiful inheritance and because we get to experience Christ our peace as we travel/live on mission in a foreign land.