Being African In Africa is about telling the African story - the positive African story.
My work as a communication professional for more than a decade now has taken me to over 30 countries in Africa. When I meet and interact with new people from different corners of the continent, I marvel at the stories they have to tell – about themselves, the people they live with, their communities and the lives they lead.
As an African born and living on the continent, I am enthralled by the wealth of knowledge and beauty that exists on this continent. On the flip side, whenever I turn on the TV or radio, I am bombarded by news stories and coverage that is mostly negative. News that seems to sell covers crime, corruption, drought and the like… all somewhat depressing. Important, yes, but many too are the positive stories that do not receive coverage.
Being African In Africa is a platform for sharing positive news, titbits and more balanced perspectives on life on the continent. On the social front, the continent’s people are on average hospitable, with most communities looking out for friends and relatives, and even strangers. This spirit of “Ubuntu” as it is called in southern Africa, is formed on the foundation of what it means to be human – people do not exist in isolation but in families and communities. Being African In Africa endeavours to bring forth the untold stories, unsung heroes and the pioneers that shape the beautiful continent I call home.
Growing up African
Suddenly the scene changed from comedy to sheer terror when all at once the bathroom door swung open and the granny flew at us with a nice, long, slim switch from the weeping willow that grew outside in the front yard. “I told you all to be quiet!” she yelled at us. The switch landed briefly on the back of my legs and we all screamed as we scampered out of the bathroom and ran for it. After that, we naturally stayed away from that particular friend’s house until her grandmother left.
My African hair
A part of my Africanness that I have battled with all my life is my hair. In its natural state, an afro is not always an easy hair-do to wear. If you lean back in your chair, for example, it gets messed up. While in primary school I had my mother and older siblings take care of my hair for me. Back in the day when hair-relaxers were not that common, we would stretch our hair for special occasions with a hot iron comb.
Houseboy and No Longer at Ease
I remember enjoying Oyono’s Houseboy (published in 1956) which I found to be an honest but humorous work. For instance, I could not, for the life of me, picture Toundi, an African man, working as a “houseboy” and washing his Madame’s soiled undergarments. This was just too appalling in the African context.