Category: History, Reference, Travel,

Here and There

A Perspective in Igbo Diaspora

By: Mathias Chinonyere Mgbeafulu


About the Book
This book ‘Here and There: A perspective in Igbo Diaspora’ attempts to present a concise narrative of the worldwide migration of the Igbo speaking people of Nigeria through the lens of its diaspora. The migration that produced the diaspora in its various forms is not just a response to the internal Nigerian environment, but also relates to the changing nature of the global forces. With historical insights, the author investigates the different phases in centuries of Igbo diaspora with notes on voluntary and involuntary movements. It highlights the ways in which new movements are connected to older flows, and how displacements across physical borders are intimately linked to the reworking of conceptual borders in both sending and receiving states.

The book cast some new lights on the contemporary history of the Igbo through the experiences of the larger Igbo people now settled mostly across the western world, largely in North America and Britain, and is gradually spreading to Asia and the eastern hemisphere. The progenitors of these migrations left centuries ago through the Atlantic world and there are recent arrivals too who are trotting through land, sea and air. Placing the migration and diaspora settlements in historical contexts, the book shows how the experiences of Igbo in various metropoles across the world have been shaped by the social dynamics and politics of settlement locations as much as the transnational connections and the economic forces of globalization.

Around the globe, people leave their homes to better themselves, to satisfy needs, and to care for their families. They also migrate to escape undesirable conditions, ranging from paucity of economic opportunities to violent conflicts at home. This book shows how the Igbo have spread globally from its original heartland in southern Nigeria. It examines the social, economic, and political factors that propel households to decide to send members abroad, along with the cultural beliefs and traditions that can limit migration and accentuates the connections between the different phases of Igbo migratory communities. ‘Here and There’ provides a valuable portrait of the Igbo in countries other than Nigeria and articulates how Igbo diaspora can better be engaged and mobilized for maximum advantage. Issues of diaspora transnational social practice and community building, identity, institutionalized racism and the centrality of culture and homeland euphoria are highlighted and presented as fresh perspectives on relocation and resettlement. It stands as a valuable contribution to the wider literature on migration and diasporas.

About the Author
Mathias Chinonyere Mgbeafulu (MA, Ed. S), educator and freelance writer, born in Nkume, Nigeria and lives in United States. He served both as a Social Mobilization Officer, (MAMSER) and NOA as a Principal Orientation Officer (1989 -1997), during which he coordinated the task of mobilizing Nigerians for lasting democracy in areas of Imo State; a mission accomplished with the enthronement of democratic rule in 1999. Mgbeafulu is currently an educator with Detroit Public Schools.

Mgbeafulu earned his bachelor and master’s degrees from Abia State University Uturu in Nigeria before proceeding to United States. He has since obtained additional degrees in Business Administration and Education. An avowed Igbo diaspora activist and field operative, Mgbeafulu has led Igbo community in Michigan as President, served World Igbo Congress as a member of its Board of Directors. He was Secretary General of Council of Igbo States in America and Imo State Congress of America. He was also the founding editor-in-chief of Orlu Regional Assembly (ORA USA) news magazine – ORA Newsflash.

Mgbeafulu has written extensively on migration and topical issues. His other book, Migration and the Economy: Igbo Migrants in the Nigerian Economy – 1900 – 1970’ was published in 2003. He is married to Mary Nkechi Mgbeafulu and both are blessed with four children – Victor, Angelica, Justin and Joel.

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