Prince Harry, Meghan Markle Temporarily Separated

Meghan Markle’s Nigerianness As Parody Of Identity

4 weeks ago
3 mins read

From May 10-13, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle came to Nigeria on a private visit, which turned out more rapturous than a state visit. They were in Abuja to promote Invictus Games, a multi-sport event that empowers in-service military members as well as veterans battling physical and mental challenges.

Indeed, Abuja must have gone back to its mild bustling nature after the visit, given that the city went agog for three days. Nigerian cultural troupes danced hysterically on the first day as the duo set off their trip with a mental health summit at Lightway Academy, Abuja. The visitors themselves received the kind of welcome that mistakes Nigeria to the world as one of the happiest places on earth. On May 11, Meghan spoke at a Women in Leadership event, which she co-hosted with Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala. On the last day, May 12, Prince Harry played sitting basketball with Nigerian disabled military veterans. The Duke had visited wounded soldiers at a military hospital in Kaduna, a historic city lying 150 miles from Abuja. At the hospital, he visited six wards to meet servicemen, most of whom had been injured by Boko Haram, a terrorist group operating rampantly in the country since 1999.

Meghan Says She is One of Us, Yet…

A genealogy test several years ago confirmed that Meghan is 43% Nigerian, for which she described Nigeria as “my country.” So, at the Delborough Hotel in Lagos, greeted by a gleeful crowd of mainly powerful people, Meghan emotionally accepted royal titles from three powerful regional traditional leaders.

Amidst the pomp of the visit, Meghan made reference to her African ancestry and took time to drape herself in some redly African attire that caused a social media buzz of business for its maker, Oriré, a clothing brand. One online media catchline noted that “Meghan visited Nigeria as a duchess and left an African princess.”

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Unfortunately, the visit did not see Meghan talking about the other part of a country she has come to identify with. Remarkably, some analysts saw the visit as an occasion for Nigeria to clean itself of a sorry image implanted by the UK’s Foreign Office as “one of the most dangerous countries to visit in the world”. As such, the visitors could have spared a minute to give economic and security hope (not just felicitations) to Nigerians who are experiencing some of the toughest times in the history of the country. Information had it that they were invited to Nigeria by the country’s Chief of Defense Staff, Christopher Musa, who is the highest-ranking military official. So, the occasion should have addressed Nigeria’s security challenges since the visitors met with servicemen injured on the frontlines, while battling insecurity that has crippled Nigeria’s economy, stability and unity on all fronts.

Did the pageantry of the visit merely represent today’s Nigeria, suffering and smiling? Was it a metaphor for the parlous state of Nigeria’s military, represented by a disabled military outfit in the face of daunting security challenges occasioned by daring terrorists, who curiously have access to much of western-made weaponry, intelligence and combat artistry. Many have viewed insurgency in sub-Saharan Africa in close association with foreign interests in the region. Resource-rich countries in Africa, especially those with interests from the US, the UK, Russia and China, face multiple challenges. Why is it so, and how can we explain the many security pacts with foreign powers that hardly scratch the problems?

The point is, the glamour of the event appeared to be a distraction from the real issues. Instead, the visitors linked their hosts to a partnership with their Archewell Foundation and the GEANCO Foundation to provide school supplies such as menstrual products. Is it another metaphor for a country bleeding profusely from regular economic hemorrhage due to a natural tendency to poor policy, some of which are foreign induced? The three leaders were brought together by the event, yet their tribesmen have been locked in serial bitter fights that have upended progress and good governance in Nigeria for over 60 years. Meghan said nothing about this as she tended to be teary at the rather perfunctory title bequeathals.

If she were from Nigeria to any degree, she would have said much else about Nigeria’s political, social and economic troubles. While speaking about the visit to FORBES AFRICA, an analyst and social commentator, Damilare Asiwaju said: “It’s about looking at the bigger picture – promoting social causes and impacting lives,” He added: “Nigeria right now is going through one of the most difficult times in history,” and, somewhat unfortunately, he implied that the visit was a form of “social welfare engagement,” necessary to alleviate the tough times. What a palliative to Nigerians who, remarkably, are known to profit a lot from the country’s woes through jokes, cartoons, and comedy. The Duke and Duchess may have come to play into the comedy trend as the most important filler of the employment gap created by bad governance in Nigeria. Suffering and smiling.

 

Dr Mbamalu, a Jefferson Fellow and Member of the Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE), is a Publisher and Communications/Media Consultant. His extensive research works on Renewable Energy and Health Communication are published in several international journals, including SAGE.

SMS/Whatsapp: 08094000017

Follow on X: @marcelmbamalu

Dr. Marcel Mbamalu is a communication scholar, journalist and entrepreneur. He holds a Ph.D in Mass Communication from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka and is the Chief Executive Officer Newstide Publications, the publishers of Prime Business Africa.

A seasoned journalist, he horned his journalism skills at The Guardian Newspaper, rising to the position of News Editor at the flagship of the Nigerian press. He has garnered multidisciplinary experience in marketing communication, public relations and media research, helping clients to deliver bespoke campaigns within Nigeria and across Africa.

He has built an expansive network in the media and has served as a media trainer for World Health Organisation (WHO) at various times in Northeast Nigeria. He has attended numerous media trainings, including the Bloomberg Financial Journalism Training and Reuters/AfDB training on Effective Coverage of Infrastructural Development of Africa.

A versatile media expert, he won the Jefferson Fellowship in 2023 as the sole Africa representative on the program. Dr Mbamalu was part of a global media team that covered the 2020 United State’s Presidential election. As Africa's sole representative in the 2023 Jefferson Fellowships, Dr Mbamalu was selected to tour the United States and Asia (Japan and Hong Kong) as part of a 12-man global team of journalists on a travel grant to report on inclusion, income gaps and migration issues between the US and Asia.

Dr. Marcel Mbamalu is a communication scholar, journalist and entrepreneur. He holds a Ph.D in Mass Communication from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka and is the Chief Executive Officer Newstide Publications, the publishers of Prime Business Africa.

A seasoned journalist, he horned his journalism skills at The Guardian Newspaper, rising to the position of News Editor at the flagship of the Nigerian press. He has garnered multidisciplinary experience in marketing communication, public relations and media research, helping clients to deliver bespoke campaigns within Nigeria and across Africa.

He has built an expansive network in the media and has served as a media trainer for World Health Organisation (WHO) at various times in Northeast Nigeria. He has attended numerous media trainings, including the Bloomberg Financial Journalism Training and Reuters/AfDB training on Effective Coverage of Infrastructural Development of Africa.

A versatile media expert, he won the Jefferson Fellowship in 2023 as the sole Africa representative on the program. Dr Mbamalu was part of a global media team that covered the 2020 United State’s Presidential election. As Africa's sole representative in the 2023 Jefferson Fellowships, Dr Mbamalu was selected to tour the United States and Asia (Japan and Hong Kong) as part of a 12-man global team of journalists on a travel grant to report on inclusion, income gaps and migration issues between the US and Asia.

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