On becoming African

On becoming African

Never knew what it meant to be African, until I left Africa, when I became African

In Africa, Nigeria was Chinua Achebe, Nollywood  and Evangelical Pastors

But on becoming African, Nigeria became corruption, Boko Haram and impostors

In Africa, Ethiopia was Haile Selassie, beautiful women and Rastas

But on becoming African, Ethiopia became famine, wars and disasters

In Africa, South Africa was Isidingo, Big Brother Africa and Debonairs

But on becoming African, South Africa became Aids, crime and despair

Whilst in Africa, Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o was the most celebrated Kenyan writer

On becoming African, Ngũgĩ was just another ethnic writer

In Africa, Nyerere and Nkurumah were founders and friends of independence fighters

But on becoming African, they were just like other autocrats who failed Africa

I’m not a denier; it’s the depiction of Africa that I detested until I became African

I hail from Dar, the city beset with beaches, skyscrapers and population the size of Scotland

But on becoming African, Dar became the city infested with militias, hyenas and black mamba

In Dar, Diamond was the most loved and decorated Bongo Fleva rapper

But on becoming African, Diamond became bloody, Sierra Leone everything wrong with Africa

In Dar, Swahili was ‘simba’, ‘rafiki’ and ’hakuna matata’,

But on becoming African, simba, rafiki and hakuna matata became Africa

In Dar, I was Royal who descended from the highest mountain in Africa

But on becoming African, they couldn’t care, I am just another African who work in care

Scotland, you heard about David Livingstone, a Scottish Explorer who discovered Africa?

But I found no records of Africans who conquered outside Africa and died for causes not African

When I became African

You ask me about the continent larger than China, America, Europe and Russia

Whilst I’m yet to decipher who in Tanzania matters, Sukuma, Nyakusa, Haya, or Chagga?

I may be the son of the soil, but a mere soul in the continent of over a billion souls

Who Am I? Chagga, Tanzanian, African and when did I become African and do I speak African?

I can only say ‘Mungu ibariki Afrika’


Albert is a Tanzanian working on Africa- related issues in Edinburgh. He can be reached at albert@vijana.fm and followed at https://twitter.com/ngisongoya


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