American teacher fails Nigerian girl for disagreeing that Africans live on trees

Top lawyer Funke Aboyade has shared an encounter she had with an American teacher many years back.

Aboyade is a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), a title bestowed on veteran lawyers of repute.

“I was born in Ibadan but then spent my first year of life in Michigan in the United States,” Aboyade said in an interview Punch published on Saturday.

“At other stages of my childhood, part of my elementary school was also in the United States.

“I am the second of four children – two girls and two boys. I grew up in an intellectual environment; so, we had quite a lot of intellectual discussions with my parents, as well as their friends and colleagues.

“I remember an incident in my elementary school in the US. As an eight-year-old, I had a good sense of self and was confident of who I was. I did not have the added burden of a history of slavery, I suppose.

“I failed it spectacularly, but only because I did not agree that Africans lived on trees and did not have houses and electricity.

Funke Aboyade.

“I was in Grade 3 and our teacher, a white American woman whom I quite liked, had given us an objective test; so we merely had to answer true or false to the questions.

“I was quite proud of my fail mark and felt like a revolutionary.

“My mum, however, was furious when I told her what had happened and was intent on storming the school — where my siblings and I were, by the way, the only black pupils — and giving the teacher a piece of her mind.

“My dad calmed her down and advised that it be done calmly and not in the heat of anger.

“I also knew that my teacher had meant no harm but was simply misinformed, as were many Americans back then.”

As Aboyade grew up, she wanted to become a neurosurgeon because “I was very good in the sciences and my classmates were shocked when I opted for Law”.

“But then again, there were several lawyers in my immediate environment whom I looked up to,” she said.


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