When I started this page, ideas were swimming about in my head. I had so many things to say, and I needed a venue to say them on. I wanted to share. It turns out the amount of ideas, stories, and anecdotes I had to share is a direct result of being ‘out and about’… While my mental Rolodex have a gazillion (very funny and interesting) things stored to be released but the actual time to write it in is a smidgen scarce. Fret not, dear friends, I am getting super duper organized to provide as much new content as often as possible.
This topic has been trending on twitter all day today. It was started by Semhar Araia (@semhar), founder of DAWN (Diaspora African Women’s Network ) and has caught African Twitter on fire. It was very nice to see all those tweets from Africans here and abroad and to see what our Continent means to us. Of course, you had to have your ridiculous tweets but this is social media and it comes with the territory. Without further adieu, here are a few of the things I Love About Africa:
- #WhatILoveAboutAfrica, traditional languages where I am from do not have the word “cousin”. A brother is a brother whether you shared the same womb or not. The extended family is the close family. It truly does take a village to raise a child. And that village is THE family.
- #WhatILoveAboutAfrica, food, glorious food. The reason why all my suitcases smelled like smoked fish and Attieke. How we transform humble ingredients into glorious feasts. How a small gathering means mounds and mounds of good food. The food tells a story of where you are from and who you are. It holds childhood memories. In Africa, food is life.
- #WhatILoveAfrica, The resilience and ingeniosity of its people. In my neighborhood, there is a little shack made of woods. I had no idea what it was and how it ended up there, but it seemed to attract a fair amount of folks. So one day, I inquired within and it turns out this shop was a localized version of GameStop! Basically, the guy bought a PlayStation, a bunch of games, hooked it up (somehow) to the electric grid and charges young boys who can’t afford to have their own console a small amount of money and bingo! You are in business. This ability to make the most of the least is amazing.
- #WhatILoveAboutAfrica, clothes are made to fit ME and not the other way around. I don’t have to squeeze myself into a size X and be frustrated when I can’t find anything in the store. Here I can just have the tailor adjust it a little bit here and there, and I am good. I believe this plays a huge role in how young African girls seem to usually be less self-conscious than Western young girls, but that’s a topic for another day.
- #WhatILoveAboutAfrica , the people, the smells, the warmth, the raw beauty, the challenges, the hopes, the dreams, the hardships. I love my continent with all its shortcomings and challenges. It is ours to do with them what we can. Yes, what I love most about Africa is its potential and the assurance that we WILL overcome.
What do you love about Africa? Or what do you know about it? What do you think of this trending topic? Is it romanticizing Africa (like I have heard on twitter)? Do you think it’s important to say those things to avoid the danger of a single story? Feel free to share with us! 🙂
“It is very complicated when you live in a developed country and you are African.You see the issues there and I must say I always felt guilty. I felt there was a lot to do and I could contribute.” – Tidiane Thiam
This quote captures perfectly how I had felt for the past decade living and working abroad. Needless to say, the feeling played a huge role in my moving back. Coincidentally, Tidiane Thiam (first black CEO of a FTSE 100) was the commencement speaker at my high school graduation. His advice? Dream big and challenge the status quo. So here I am… doing just that. Ha.
Read the full article here.