Africa, Thoughts
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Sons and Daughters of the African soil.

 

A lot of Africans in the Diaspora were either born on the continent or are first generation ‘diasporan Africans’. With mixed marriages being the norm a lot of their offspring are of ‘African descent’ and wear this badge proudly.

They may have to hear stories from their parents about making footballs out of plastic bags, how they played on the street with lots and lots of friends, how eating at a friends house got you into trouble. (‘Don’t we feed you here?!’)

Or how bringing home a bad grade meant being threatened with a swift trip back to the ‘village’, where drawing water at the well was your intended fate if you couldn’t be in the top percentile of the class.

The taste these kids may have, of a life even close to that, is the strictness their parents try to implement (echoing their own parents, but often interspersed with laughter and hugs, which a lot of Africans felt was missing in their upbringing. ‘Wheres your report card? ‘ was the closest someone once said they came to a hug *laughs*)

Anyway, the question is, no matter how long you have been off the continent, you would in a heartbeat, even in your Armani suit, dribble that plastic ball with the boys on street… (for some if challenged!)

How you would devour those fried delicacies wrapped in newspaper from the market, without the now beloved wet wipes which you  must have  when you have those succulent Korean chicken wings…

You are a son or daughter of that soil, but your kids aren’t.

How can we foster a love for the continent in our children that goes beyond throwing money at it? 

Or a mere visit to the motherland, to fumble over the local language with relatives that tut-tut at the child not knowing how to properly speak it? (‘Kids these days!’ )

With the influx of great African fashion ( fashionable African Fashion!) and Africa being on the rise, how can we ensure that it is seen not only as a business opportunity for our children, that it is a part of their history, and maybe a big part of their future?

We might start by asking ourselves, do we truly accept those born as half African /half (insert nationality…or race here) as African? Are they? What constitutes African?

How are embracing them? Or are they forever caught in the middle?

If so..how does this impact Africa?

How would we expect our children to have a true love for Africa if they don’t know who they are and if they are..African?

Could they ever love Africa the way we do (or claim to)?

Its something to think about.

What do you think?

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3 Comments

  1. Lungowe says

    Awesome piece Twaambo.Its really brought back a lot of childhood memories…
    I think our kids will only claim to love our Motherland,if raised in the Diaspora, unless we ensure we teach them as much as possible about Africa and ensure constant visits back home inorder for them to develop a bond then just have mere general knowledge…2 thumbs up for this one!!

  2. Its a heavy load on the parents shoulders to teach their children about their roots which some of them don’t truly understand or practice the culture. Parents in the diaspora sometimes live in a fantasy of what home is and as they remember the nostalgic good parts of the motherland they compare that to where they are giving their kids a false sense of what their roots mean.
    I have no answers as to how to connect your kids to a culture they rarely see is but I know that parents need to do more than trips here and there plus scolding in the local tongue.
    Engaging with the your root community no matter how small it is wherever you are is another good place to be.
    Lots to think about on this one. Thanks for the thought provoking piece

  3. Hadzviperi says

    I also think that children (“mixed” or “African”) should travel to the motherland once in a while, just to gain experience for oneself and to feel that “energy” that Africa brings. I do also think that we should continue to embrace where we came from and show it! (cook traditional food from time to time, embrace natural kinky, curly or coily hair, speak the mother tongue, and even dress fashionably African).
    I think it’s all about feeling confident and comfortable about saying, doing or being something (in terms of race). It’s upto us to show how wonderful home is regardless of the ups and downs, in order for the next generation to feel comfortable and relate to the place we call home.
    As for bi-racial children, society will judge and confuse you regardless, so it’s once again upto both parents to bring out the best in both worlds for the kids to stand in their own truth (in my opinion).
    What a great read on a Monday afternon! 🙂 Thanks Twaambo

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