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Africa Day celebrations while abroad makes you home sick

24 May 2020 at 20:21hrs | Views
IT is that time again when Africa comes together to celebrate being African.
It is not just jumping up and down in cultural costumes to great applause.
It is deeper than cultural display.

It is a time of deep reflection on who we are as Africans.
For most of those in the Diaspora, Africa Day shakes you into reality.
One would think having a carpeted house, a television with all the channels, super fast internet, driving a car, having a good job, the ability to support your family back home - you know, the very dreams you had at the Harare International Airport - that one would be happy living in the Diaspora.
No! That is not the case.

There are many depressed people in the Diaspora with a void that only the love of family and friends can fill.

There is a constant yearning for home that can only be quenched by being home.
The smell of the wet soil just after the rains, the sound of the rains splattering on the corrugated roof.

Things which were not important before trigger memories of home.
These feelings depress and make one seriously homesick.
Africa Day celebrations abroad are merely a treatment of the home sickness which rules supreme.
Life in the Diaspora is not a bed of roses.

The family around us always gives us a purpose to live for and this is absent in the Diaspora.
People in the Diaspora have been plunged into a lifestyle foreign to them.
The quality of life they experience is totally different from what they grew up experiencing.
Life abroad might have many things in huge quantities but it surely lacks in quality.
Africans are a communal people who thrive through interaction and close co-operation. This is absent in the Diaspora where it's a dog-eat-dog affair.

That vision one has at the Harare International Airport of a good life, a dream car, superb house and great job soon vanishes as the reality of foreign land strikes.
In the excitement of leaving, one never truly appreciates or thinks about the ‘loss' of family, relatives and friends.

Sure, living in the Diaspora does grant you most of the material needs of life. You are able to support your family in ways that you never thought possible, and sure, you can finally afford things that you never could back home, but at what cost?

The loss of the comfort of being among your own is keenly felt.
The loss of community life, the sense of togetherness and oneness is devastating.
All this ends while the family love vanishes.
As an immigrant, it is tough to adapt to being a second class citizen.
Everyday people brave racism.
Foreigners are scorned and thoroughly abused.
Have you ever tried to be friends with people who do not want to be friends with you or try to fit in a social grouping that you do not belong to; the cold stares, the cold shoulders, people ignoring you, it is a tough life?

Don't get me wrong, this does not happen to everyone and the cold shoulders are not from everyone. I have met many who have embraced me.
But when the gory side strikes, you want to be nowhere else but home.
You are reminded everyday that you are black and a foreigner.
Back home there is not a moment I am conscious of my colour.
From day one in the Diaspora, to the last day, you will have to fight the negative stereotype of your skin colour.

You will have to work twice as hard to be as good as anybody else.
You will face racism either in your face or in a subtle manner, whichever way, you will face it.
The only place a black person excels is in sports, not because the ground is level but because there is no getting around our superiority and our talent makes money for whites.
There are many who will think you are dumb, and that all you have witnessed in your life is death, destruction and disease.

No matter how educated you are, as long as you are African, even someone who has not finished his high school will feel superior to you.
Maybe we are to blame. As Africans, we have not made enough effort to make sure that the full facet of African life is taken out there to the world.

Everyday, as a black person and as an African, you have to prove yourself again and again, you have to outwork everybody else and you have to give that much more to be just at par, not on top, but at par with everyone else.

If you are a doctor, a nurse, analyst, engineer or whatever professional field, you will always have someone second guessing your every decision.

Also disheartening is the lack of unity among Africans in the Diaspora. As much as we claim to be proud of our Africanness, our behaviour towards each other does not reflect it.
Some bring their political anger and tribal fury abroad and become the devil's children.
It gets to a point where it is far much better to live life away from fellow Africans.
When all is said and done, life is what you make it.
We try to survive in the Diaspora.

Clearly being African does not mean being a charity case.

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Source - Dr Masimba Mavaza
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