Tag Archives: black people

Solidarity in the Diaspora + Africa

Yesterday I tried fufu for the first time, and it was pretty delicious. It wasn’t something I grew up eating in a Caribbean household. I didn’t learn anything about Africa in my home despite the fact that my family is very dark-skinned and obviously our roots are African. My family has always looked down on Africans and had some kind of crazy assumption that they all do voodoo. So, growing up, I never really learned about Africa. It’s only in the recent years that I’ve been learning about African history and African culture, and wishing genuinely that I had been more aware of African culture, and African history as well. Even now that I’m marrying a Ghanaian, other Ghanaians often seem surprised that I can speak Twi and I love Kumawood films. They believe that Canadians of Caribbean descent are not interested in Africa–but the truth is–many of us are shunning Eurocentric cultures and wish to connect with our roots in respectful and humble ways.

Solidarity between African-American, African and Caribbean people is needed more than ever. An achievement by a Black person should be seen as an achievement for us all, whether they came from Nigeria or Jamaica or Baltimore. We need to help each other out and unify. Americans need to tell Africans to boycott all the KFC restaurants popping up like crazy all over Ghana and other countries. That fried chicken is not linked to a better social status, however, it is linked to obesity and heart disease. It could be a very clever ploy to kill more Black bodies. If Africa wants first world social status, they need to get in on the organic health food kick, get in on fitness and things that will add years to your life–not end it. Africans that are making African languages accessible to the Diaspora, Africans that are collaborating in business and tech fields with Black people in the Diaspora are helping unify us and make us stronger. We have to learn about our different historical pasts, our unique cultures and find a way to connect.

We have a great advantage–numbers. When you combine all the Black people in Africa, the Caribbean islands, America and Brazil (and Canada–I mean hey, can’t leave myself out! Joking, but no, we are truly doing things in Toronto and Montreal due to the diversity there), you have numbers. Before another endemic happens that will be lethal to more Black bodies on any continents, we need to get together and make sure we have each other’s backs. There’s so much happening in the world that is ending Black lives–from police brutality to slavery in Libya to the “ideal” mulatto child that is erasing the Black race and replacing it with a much more palatable, bronze-skinned and ringlet-haired race. And it’s up to us to wake up our brothers and sisters, and just be like, “We have our differences, but I got you.”

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African Relations with the Diaspora

We, as Black people, can only reach liberation by uniting. Colourism, tribal feuds and classism are only some of the things that are dividing us and having some Black people look down their nose at others.

I read some comments on a Naija forum about Africans studying abroad feeling horror when associated with Black Americans. To be honest,  I have never met a Black American.  I’m a Canadian- born woman with parents from the Caribbean.

Some of the viewpoints of Africans in the Motherland is that we are ignorant,  no-good Blacks whose history started with slavery and we think we are better than Africans because of our citizenship. We are all gangbangers and welfare recipients who can’t get out of poverty because we are lazy.

Meanwhile,  many people  (including  myself) in the Diaspora was taught to believe Africa is a place of cannibalistic savages, extreme poverty and sexism with high rates of female illiteracy, and the home of The Lion King. We considered ourselves superior and some of us even mocked thick African accents and incomprehensible names to our subjugated minds.

However,  the truth is, Blacks in the Diaspora originated from Africa. We are your sisters and brothers taken from your village, your country, your continent.  There is no need to look down on us because some of us don’t have the same drive to success as Contintental Africans. There is no need for us to look down on you for what we may consider to be less civilized ways of living.

We need a better future for Black people everywhere- -from Tokyo to London to Accra. We need to stop listening to this divisive stereotypes and embrace each other.  Africans are not taught the history of the Diaspora,  and we are not taught the history of Africa. Both histories are integrated and the only way to stop the African- Diasporan divide is to have dialogue and find out similarities.  The Diasporan community has an obligation to learn about African culture and history and values,  politics, art, literature- -everything.  And Africans would be wise to see a powerful ally if they could just empathize and realize that we need each other because we ARE each other  .

I Ni Ce!

I ni ce! I ni ce means “hello” in the  Bambara language of Africa, spoken primarily by Malians (people of Mali). My paternal family that was enslaved and brought to Roseau, Dominica in the West Indies comes from Mali. Many people from Dominica (the original name of the  isle being Wai’tukubuli’ meaning “long is her body” in Kalinago” come from Mali, Guinea and Senegal in West Africa.
Since deciding to legally change my slave name to Nomolanga Achieng Eksenwe and my son’s French name to Chilongola Masego Eksenwe, I’ve begun to learn more about the rich history of Mali from the Mali Empire to present day traditions and customs. I know I cannot continue the African legacy of my ancestors “Davis and Celestine” without acquiring the knowledge to teach myself and my son Malian culture including the Bambara language, which is surprisingly easy to learn.

Just as Chinese-Canadians or Indian-Canadians practice some cultural aspects of their native heritage (as well as aspects of Western culture, inevitably); I too, want to teach my son about the rich ancient history of Africa from Menes and Thebes to Queen Candace of Ethiopia and Queen Tye.

   My family has ridiculed me about my newfound Black consciousness which begun ironically, in a rural White town I moved to where I clung to a wise, white Rastafarian woman with boundless knowledge of African and Black culture as well as four, beautiful Black Rastafarian children she has that are homeschooled and taught real Black history and critical thinking. It was her who lent me books on ancient Africa and encouraged me to change stubborn Westernized views about myself and my people. In the process, though I have much to learn, I have learned to be even prouder of being African.

   With the emergence of the Black Lives Matter movement, which, with a Black son, has sparked my interest and who I hold solidarity with, I began to read the works of Angela Y. Davis, Assata Shakur, Huey P. Newton, bell hooks, Frederick Douglass and others. This furthered my knowledge in racism and sexism and also helped me to see that my people are not just oppressed and without hope. We have fought long and hard since we were removed from Mother Africa. We did not readily accept slavery, we brave men and women and we continue to fight oppression and systemic racism today. So, I say, hello, to all my African brothers and sisters and to all our brothers and sisters because we are of one race: the human race. Unity and peace is what I strive the world, and self-acceptance and self-love of my Blackness is what I strive for in this blog.

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