African reflections....          - 21/11/2011      <--Prev : Next-->


Roses to Jenni Williams from WOZA who, as Amnesty International turns 50, the organisation salutes 50 amazing women worldwide, whose stories of courage and determination are an inspiration to us all. Jenni is the thirteenth bravest woman in the world !


African reflections....

The past few months have been tumultuous as the African's have banded together in their support of the South African rugby team at the World Cup in New Zealand. And boy oh boy, have there been some interesting moments. My friends who normally have been 'rugby oblivious' have now become armchair critics and the bantering and choosing of allegiances has been so amusing! But through it all, it has made me think of the concept of patriotism and showing your love for your country. Being an African is an inherent part of who I am. It transcends borders, timezones and criticism and always brings me back to my heart space. Whilst my heart is Zimbabwean, my last 11 years have been in South Africa and through the work I performed, for the last 3 years I have seen many African countries.

So when I think of myself, I believe I am an citizen of Africa - rooted in the amazing camaraderie and community that Africa means for so many people across the world. I could probably count, on one hand, people who I know have shunned being an African and who never wish to return. But for that (literal!) handful, there are 55 handfuls of others who, even after spending 30 years on another continent, would move back to Africa tomorrow. You can take the African out of Africa, but you can NEVER take the Africa out of an African.

Recently there has been a migration back to Bulawayo, Zimbabwe of youngsters. People with heart and soul, who see the potential of raising their kids under African skies, who smile at the thought of kikuyu lawn being cried on by African thunderstorms and who love love love the red stains on their feet when the African soil powders your legs! I have such faith that they will make a go of it. They are the lucky one's - who still have citizenship and an entrepreneurial spirit. Some days I envy their vision.

Africa is the holder of my heart - and I am not alone in this. There is no way that Africa d s not move any person who takes their first step on African soil. It is almost as though Africa is the DNA link between those who are and those who are not. It's like chutzpah - you either got it or you don't!

Africa is in my heart for the following reasons...and please do not take this as a desperate pithy attempt at quelling homesickness. I am totally loving my London life right now. But at the root of it all - I know that I will be back in Africa. Whether it is now or then or maybe later or just now or around the corner or around the bend....I will be back...and this is why....

1 - we are admired the world over for our unerring, unshakeable sense of patriotism
2 - we know how to make a plan - for ANYTHING - literally....
3 - the word community extends to your mother's auntie's sister's ex-husband's kids from his first marriage...I jest, but seriously - in Africa you grow up knowing that EVERYONE is always welcome, there is always enough food to feed a 1000 and you often need not ask - just arrive with extra's!
4 - there is always a reason to party and celebrate...we make fireworks with damp squib's (figuratively not literally...that would be impossible!!!!)
5 - there are African's everywhere. I bought a pastry from a Cheese and Wine festival on Friday night on the South Bank. I looked at the man behind the counter. I knew he was from Africa. I cannot tell you how or why - no tell tale signs whats ver. So I have now become totally accustomed to asking people - I am a curious being. Matt is gradually coming to expect this from me (he was with me!). And I was right - he was from Kenya!!!!
6 - people are so willing to help - even complete strangers will assist you in a pickle.
7 - someone always knows someone who knows someone who has a spare bed/car/freezer/school uniform/hockey stick/horse to ride, etc etc etc - you get the point!
8 - there is always something to laugh at in Africa - sense of humour abounds and what d sn't make you laugh makes you insane!
9 - lift a rock and underneath it you will find an African. We are everywhere. Like a large, underestimated virtual network. One day I like to think that we will be able to make a drumming circle around the world with all of us so dispersed.
10 - Africans come from a place of inherent goodness. So much suffering for so many reasons on our beloved continent. But always caring, compassion and concern for our fellow human beings.

I am proudly African. I know many of my friends and family are too. Are you? If so, why not share some of the reasons why you love Africa with me -

Yours in passion for our beloved continent xxxx