Who is an African?

Who is an African? I’m I an African just because of my skin pigment or because I originate from Africa? I have no definition of an African. Being African is more psychological than physical in my opinion. Many people would disagree with my stance but just like a strand of hair in a weave, that may not bear much meaning to me. I believe Africa has the potential to generate wealth for the whole world if given the optimum conditions. I can’t say the same about Africans though. As much as we claim independence, we are still stuck in colonialism.

I’m probably telling you something you already know or most likely have heard but just choose to ignore. Why I’m i saying this? Well, take a minute or two and look into the mirror. How much of Africa do you portray? It doesn’t have to be the skins and hides or missing teeth. No. Even cultures outside Africa do that. If Luanda Magere or Waiyaki wa Hinga had a piercing on their tongues or lower lip but Tupac didn’t have a nose ring or Pink didn’t have all those decorations, would you still get them? If Femi Kuti or Franco sang about how much money they made and how many women they’ve laid, would they be held in the same esteem as Jay Z? When we say the West are looking down upon us, what exactly do we mean? Are they looking down upon us because we are African or because we give them a reason to look down upon us?

Why I say being African is psychological is simply because it’s all about ideologies. What happened to communalism? How many people know if the person living next to them is ok or not? How many people even know their neighbours in person? I am not immune to what I am reflecting on, but just because I can’t see the log in my eye doesn’t mean I am blind to your twig. We are quick to say we can make it on our own? But have we thought of the road map to how we will make it on our own exactly? The coffee and tea factories that we proudly boast about are majorly foreign owned. And it’s not foreign Uganda. No, either European or American. We are in debt to international monetary institutions and to pay those debts, we borrow more money. Are we not shooting ourselves in the foot?

How many Kenyans know  Robert Napunyi Wangila won a welterweight gold medal at the 1988 Summer Olympic Games? But how many would stay up till 4 am to watch Floyd Mayweather beat Canales? We are proud of producing an American president, but is the president proud to hail from Africa? How proud of Africa are you? And if you are, are you proud of the African heritage? Most people will not eat “traditional” foods instead preferring to eat junk food and exquisite dishes. Do those foods not originate from a certain culture? What makes that culture more superior to yours? How many of us can fluently speak our mother-tongues as we can English or French? If it wasn’t up to your parents, would you still go to your rural home at any point of the year? I am not in a position to answer any of these questions for anyone. That is a failure as an African on my part but, I think if you did some self evaluation you would be in a better position. Africa can’t speak in voice. Africa speaks in different voices but has the same message. What makes you, you?

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