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.
The Country called ‘Africa’
My peers and I often laugh when we talk about meeting people who say things like, “On my last visit to Africa, et cetera et cetera,” while those of us from Africa listen attentively to know where exactly on the continent the person was. Now please do not get me wrong, I am all for African unity, the continent’s intra-regional trade and such, but often I get the feeling that there is still much ignorance by the rest of the world on the diversity and geography of my beloved continent.
Réunion, a ‘meeting place’
Back in the day, I happened to chance a trip just off the coast of mainland Africa which saw me place my feet on Île de la Réunion, in the Indian Ocean. Close to Madagascar and Mauritius, Réunion, puzzlingly, is an overseas department of France, and as such, much as it is closest to African islands, it is part of the Eurozone from which it is much farther. Hence I first had to get a French visa to be able to travel to the island, even though I was not travelling to Europe.
Reminiscing about Tripoli
It was only on the next day when I had recovered enough from my jet lag that I managed to venture out to the Tripoli Gold Market, Souk Al-Harajb. Needless to say, there was gold everywhere – golden trinkets and jewellery, gold, gold everywhere! Sold by the gram, the yellow precious metal is an intrinsic part of the Libyan culture that is centuries old. I was told, for example, that before marriage, every groom must buy an ample amount of gold to be presented to his wife to be.
- story submitted by Peter Ngoma