Re: Relations Between Africans and African America
Posted By: Masimba Musodza In Response To: Relations Between Africans and African Americans *LINK* (selassielive)
Date: Thursday, 31 August 2006, at 5:30 a.m.
In Response To: Relations Between Africans and African Americans *LINK* (selassielive)
Interesting, although it must be noted that one cannot address the situation in one single book.
As an African staying in the UK, I have found it difficlt to relate to Black people who identify themselves as "Black-British" or "Afro-Carribean." I never seem to have the same problem with the Somalis, Nigerians, Ghanaians etc. Even with the light-skinned north-Africans, the Libyans, Egyptians etc, there is a sense of fraternity and solidarity. My only problem is that because I have dreadlocks and speak with a modulated accent that is often mistaken for posh English ( it is, I assure you, a Zimbabwean accent) people at first take me for a Jamaican. The barriers are brought down when they find out that I am not, and I am called "brother". It was because of these incidents of mistaken identity that I came to know of the rift between Africans and people of African descent.
The other incident was when a Jamaican work colleague made a remark about Africans and how "mi 'ate dem, man!" He too had assumed I was from "Yard". In fact, many of the Jamaicans I meet soon move away as soon as they learn that I am "from Hafrika."
My friends in the States- there is a Zimbabwean community in Arlington, Texas, among other places, tells me the same thing- MaNegro (as we call Black Americans. This is not meant to be a disparaging term, it is a tribal term, like I am Buja and someone is Tutsi or Scottish etc) are not as brotherly as we thought they would be and so the Zimbabweans tend to keep to themselves.
So, what is the problem? To me, it would seem to be a cultural one. I do not have a problem with the older generation of Jamaicans, we get along fine. It's this other lot that take drugs, have babies with many partners, tattoo their bodies, speak a language made up mostly of a certain word denoting women's sanitation pads and that one which starts with F and its derivatives, that play their radio loud on the bus and drop litter everywhere and cannot read or write- well, no sense of Black solidarity is going to endear them to me.
An observation I have made is that when whites are present, these Black British etc distance themselves from us even further. They are the first with the condescending.
Oh, and one incident that has struck in my mind. A Jamaican colleague complained about the radio, and asked for one playing Black music. By Black music, he meant reggae of course, because when we chose one that plays Congolese soukouss, he got upset and demanded that we turn that "trash" off.
So, what are we saying? Can Blacks from the West be accepted in African society? Yes, despite all the above. I know personally several Jamaicans who are now resident in Zimbabwe, married locals and speak the local languages. One has even added a totem, the Rooster, which appears to be a common Jamaican totem- for example when Leonard Howell was on trial, a rooster appeared outside the courthouse and this was taken as a Paul Bogle's spirit returned. His children, born of a Zimbabwean woman, carry this totem. Even the whites, descendants of colonial settlers, have begun to have a totem and are accepted as indigenous. In Zimbabwe, to not have a totem raises questions about your mother's virtue.....
So, you see, it's possible to return to Africa. But there is a big difference with coming in with some attitudes derived from Karenga ( who dreamed up his own African festival) etc and even Marcus Garvey who never set foot in Africa and coming in to be accepted as one of us.
This is where people of African descent keep getting it wrong.
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