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“My heritage is Nigeria” – Anthony Joshua

by Alli Mustapha

Anthony Joshua has presented himself as a proud Nigerian and British while stressing the need for commonwealth countries to be united irrespective of the differences.

The World heavyweight champion also presented pounded yam and Egusi soup to Queen Elizabeth II, members of the royal family, the Commonwealth and the world in general at the Commonwealth event that held in the UK.

He identified himself as a Nigerian who grew up eating pounded yam and egusi soup while emphasising the importance of unity amongst the Commonwealth nations during his speech in front of the Royal Family at Westminster Abbey about his heritage to celebrate Commonwealth Day.

The 30-year-old Watford-born boxing world champion also celebrated his Nigerian roots in front of the Queen and other royal members.

At the event, Joshua climbed the podium and began his speech with: 

“My name is Anthony Oluwafemi Olaseni Joshua and like many of you here, I’m a child of the Commonwealth.

“I was born in Watford and my heritage is Nigerian.

“I come from the Yoruba people who are the largest and some might say the loudest ethnic group in all of Africa.

“I am proudly Nigerian and I am proudly British.

“I join a long line, perhaps too long to count, of UK citizens of Commonwealth origin who’ve made enormous contributions to this great, multicultural society of ours.

“In my world, that would include names such as Joshua Buatsi, Lawrence Okolie, and Ramla Ali.

“Like me, so many children of the Commonwealth have two homes, two identities, two cultures and two ways of viewing the world. Some even have more than two.

“These days we hear so much about division and difference that some might be tempted to see that as a bad thing.

“But on the contrary, it’s a beautiful thing, a thing to be celebrated and cherished – and a great source of peace and stability.

“I feel opportunity should be there for the taking along with hard work, dedication, and perseverance regardless of one’s background.

“We need to strive harder collectively to create unity. Egusi Soup and Pounded Yam

“It takes a village to raise a child and in the same vein, it takes a whole community to stand together to tackle some of the challenges we are confronted with today.

“In the same way boxing gave me the opportunity and framework to become Olympic champion, Commonwealth champion and now heavyweight champion of the world.

“I ask myself, ‘what does the Commonwealth mean?’

“The second part of that word is key for me – a united, common future could create opportunities for our Commonwealth cousins.

“So, here’s to fish and chips and egusi soup and pounded yam, to the UK and Nigeria and the children of the Commonwealth.”

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