When questioned about my background I am always eager to praise and glorify the love affair I have always had with my heritage. Growing up, having pride in my roots was something that came without option. My parents insisted on that pride coming from an intrinsic place so saying something like ‘my parents are from Africa’ was asking for punishment. In addition to this, having the privilege of traveling back home nearly every year not only helped to develop and solidify that pride but it also gave me the yearning to eventually return home and use what I learned abroad to make significant contributions.
Regardless of that seemingly unshakable pride there has always been an underlying battle, almost a paradox. Being a first generation African abroad means being lost in translation a lot of the time. There are times when I find myself single-handedly defending an entire continent because someone refuses to believe that Africa can yield anything apart from war, famine, poverty, and injustice. And there I am, feeling like a little girl describing an imaginary friend, insisting that she’s blessed with artists, writers, musicians, architects and designers and brilliant minds all yearning and striving to get that slight nod of approval from the rest of the world.