Weekly Thoughts: Who is Africa?

Yesterday, 54 countries were in states of celebration and self-interrogation as we celebrated Africa Day. A day to commemorate the convening of … countries that created the Organisation of African Unity, now known as the African Union.

Amidst such celebrations, a debate sparked between a number of users on Twitter, as to regard who can and cannot be called African. I have touched on this subject earlier, but didn’t take heed of one thing: skin colour.

For reasons referred to historical mental enslavery, some African nationals do not believe that African-American, Afro Latino communities and Caribbean citizens should not regard themselves as African – some of these communities also distance themselves from being called African, even though our common similarities are identified in our cultures, principles and values.

In my opinion, the core of such need to encourage segregation is based on stereotypes and stigma that have been pushed as an agenda through media platforms overtime. Also, we have isolated ourselves due to such informal teachings referring to political and economic hardships as our own – owning to our pain and identifying ourselves solely with it. Historically, our skin colour, ethos, values and culture have been marred by others, creating a false identity of who we really are. Our true image is that which proves what our culture really is; that of pride, unity, humanity and community upliftment. That is what we are and that is what Africa is.

All those who are descendants of our soil – relating to our values and culture, where you are legally defined as “afro” so-and-so means you are African. DNA is not debatable, whether you are African America, Afro Latino, Afro-Asian, Ethiopian you are African. We do more if we are accepting of our differences and thrive on our similarities.