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.
Celebrating Africa’s Founding Mothers
Let me start by pointing out that even before the founding fathers of the Organisation for African Unity established the organisation on 25 May in 1963, African women, under the leadership of activists like Aoua Keita from Mali, Jeanne Martin Cissé from Guinea and Pauline Clark from Ghana, founded the Pan African Women’s Organisation (PAWO) in 1962.
In the period when countries around the continent where fighting for political independence, notable women played prominent roles both in their own countries and regionally.
Dare not decline African hospitality!
In a good number of African cultures, it is impolite to turn down a meal, especially if you are a stranger or rare visitor. Many are the countless times when I have partaken of food even when I was not hungry or the food did not look at all appetising.
As a child, I would observe how some mothers in the peri-urban neighbourhoods I ventured out in to make friends, would give the choicest morsels of beef or chicken to visitors during meal times, while their children were left with scraps or at times only vegetables. As soon as special guests arrived, out would come the special china from the display cabinet that the family never used and the visitors would be served tea from the dainty cups and saucers which the children of the home were forbidden to even touch.
My take on weddings in Africa!
A question casually and frequently asked to single adults is, “So when are you getting married?” Perhaps young men do not feel the pressure to get married as much as young women do. A certain lady I once met lamented that the question was thrown her way from the time she barely turned 20. When one bumps into long lost friends it is not long before talk on mutual acquaintances gravitates towards the question as to whether mutual friends are married and how many children they now have. Marriage on the continent is definitely a family affair and at best even a whole community’s business.