Our Adesina Family… Again!
Having begun my journey with ‘the Adesinas’ on a less than enthusiastic note, I must admit I fully expected to be even less impressed by the end of the series. So was I impressed or not? I confess I am still undecided, but what I do know is this – I fell in love with this family.
Through the weeks I learned to stop expecting heaven knows what and accept this family for who they are. Mr & Mrs Adesina are parents who have done their utmost to love and provide for their family in the only way they know how. Parents who work incredibly hard to run a business, manage a home (to be honest it was quite exhausting watching mum Vicky who never seemed to rest!) and nurture a group of amazingly complex young people who were always ready, it seemed, with an answer for everything (a most un-Nigerian characteristic, I thought to myself, but then no one is perfect).
The other members of the family were a mixed bag of tricks, but my hero was Ola. The wonderful Julie did grate on my nerves more than a little – in fact most times I could have cheerfully shaken her! I was therefore particularly gleeful when in the final episode her mother smacked her around once or twice. I rolled up my sleeves and prepared for a full beat down when she bluntly REFUSED to go and respond to her father’s call to assist him, telling her mother she was NOT going anywhere! ‘Surely’ I thought, ‘this is it’. Alas, it wasn’t what I hoped for, but it helped. In hindsight though, I think the Julie we saw was a clever bit of editing by Channel 4, carefully shown 80% of the time as an aggressive young woman who was constantly moaning. Maybe she was, but there were flashes of brilliance there – showers of kisses for Ola, lots of hugs, and yes even her moaning – was a heart’s cry. Julie has a big heart and a lot of love to give, and wants her family to validate her. She may not come across in the best way, but that girl has a lot of hurt and she can’t really be much different. I truly hope she gets what she so desperately seeks.
Ayo with his rapping did not ever do it for me, but what an amazing personality. Always ready to stand up for people, and telling the truth to his family regardless of whether they wanted to hear that or not. He played the big bro role perfectly – comforting, loving, chastising, giving, yelling – and all in perfect balance.
A lot was made of the fact that the Adesinas (mum and dad notably) were not as expressive as Julie wished they were; however that didn’t seem to stop Ola from reaching out and grabbing that expression of love from everyone whenever she needed it. She hugged and kissed and (sometimes) cried her way around her family and insisted on being loved in her way. So whilst the others said ‘we just don’t do that’, she put her arms out when she needed a cuddle and got it! Where I previously thought her spoilt (and no I haven’t changed my mind), I now think her also charming and warm and completely loveable.
In the end I fell in love with this family because I truly did recognise that their love for one another is as palpable as can be. I do not think that they are representative of a ‘true’ Nigerian family, but what is a true Nigerian family? Non-Nigerians will look at them and say how interesting it is to be able to peek into a different culture, so in that regard this show does not do us justice. This family for me epitomises the coming together of cultures, where Africa’s traditions and the West’s freedoms meet and must somehow co-exist. I shudder to think of the Adesina children yelling at their parents or talking back so rudely, in a way I still would never dare with my parents at my age (no, I’m not telling my age), but these are realities that Nigerian living in different cultures must confront. When we raise our children in a different culture, we must realise that they will be influenced by all that is around them. It’s what it is, I don’t make the rules.
The Nigerian culture is one which holds family at the centre of its dealings, sometimes we get it right and sometimes we don’t, but we always try. This is a family that does that and yes I am impressed by that – I’m glad I gave them the chance.
Image courtesy of Channel 4