We often expect that when we see a fellow African person in any country other than our own, they are going to be friendly. We often expect the African values of ubuntu (oneness, unity, brotherly love) to be present even when we are not at home. It is such a disappointment when you meet an African who looks just like you and they are not friendly to you. We think, how unAfrican, right?
For instance, I always expect that when I meet an African person in a country other than my own outside the continent of Africa, we acknowledge each other with “the nod” Urban Dictionary. Any black man who does not do “the nod” is a snob and is automatically disqualified as a brother.
Living abroad is not as simple as we expect it to be and often meeting someone who looks like you, comes with expectations. Especially if you live in a country where a black man stands out in a crowd because we are not many. Having a social circle becomes one of the most important things. So, meeting unfriendly Africans is the last thing you expect. When you do meet with unfriendly Africans, it hurts more than racism. The thing is, we expect that our black skin is a reason to come together against a common enemy, then you meet those who are just black on the outside, but are essentially trying to live like the majority. In Hong Kong, my biggest pet peeve is African people who live and act like they are Chinese. In Europe, I was irritated by black people who had been brainwashed by whiteness that they forgot they are black. Looking down upon another African person or wanting to distance yourself from them just so that you appear better off, is more a reflection of you as a person, than the person you will be trying to look down upon.
One of my new colleagues is struggling with Africans in her department who are not friendly. She came with the expectation that being African we are one, but instead she was met with competition and a less than warm welcome. It saddens me to know that as Africans we hate on our own and compete against each other, instead of joining forces to become greater than we left our countries as. I am not saying that we must just remain isolated as Africans, but we must use every opportunity to get together and help one another instead of competing when we are outside our countries. The colonisers used the divide and conquer rule back when they colonised us and it feels like we carry around this colonial mindset wherever we go. And when they see us go against our own, do we really get their respect?
Could this be what is wrong with Africa? That we are not united?
Day 14 Blogtember Challenge