Are you an unapologetic urbanite who hates going to your ancestral home? This post is for you.
One’s nationality can be determined by where you were born, where your parents are from, where you hold citizenship – politics, geography, circumstance and even choice. There is nothing complicated about where I am from, until I’m challenged to prove it.
Lupita Nyong’o, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Idris Elba and Chimamanda Adichie don’t resemble images of Africans that Americans are used to seeing. The cumulative effect of more such stars will adjust stereotypes and leave permanent change.
All that goodness attached to African textiles is valuable, but more for the purpose of international marketing, not for Africans. We do care, but an organic tag doesn’t quite make the sale; we also want fashion, style and quality and we don’t want to wear “charity”.
There seems to be a general consensus amongst Africans that while it is acceptable to compare countries on the continent with one another (and occasionally group them together), South Africa stands alone as it is “not really African”.
When you are really ready to live in Africa you take a step back, listen and learn from those who know a whole lot more than you do about the place you call home.
A Nigerian friend, with whom I went to university in the UK, had tribal marks on his cheeks. I never felt comfortable enough to ask him about them but eventually the subject came up. He wasn’t proud of his traditional Yoruba markings and was tired of explaining to foreigners that they were not accidental scars.
There seems to be a general consensus amongst Africans that while it is occasionally acceptable to comparatively group countries within the continent together, South Africa stands on its own, South Africa is not real Africa. Are we only satisfied with a poorer, less developed Africa or has apartheid left an un-healable scar in the African continent?