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RACISM, COLOURISM

Yes we’re African, black and proud

Their knees might not be physically on our necks here, but it's not comfortable either.

In Summary
  • Black people are so comfortable with being disrespected around the world.
  • It is a struggle all black people can and should relate to and it should ignite a revolution in all of us wherever we are in the world.

On our black soil here in our black Africa, there are still some restaurants we cannot go to, there are still some places we cannot or will not be employed in, there are still some of us who grin like lizards and bow down when addressing a white person.

My mother told me that when my grandmother, her mother, got saved, she cut her hair and started wearing a headscarf (the ones that make you look like you are suffering). Her dress also became extra long. When my mother told her mother that she had got saved, of course my grandma was excited. That was in 1989. Soon after, we went to the village. When my grandma saw my mother, she asked her, “Are you really saved?” My mother still had on lipstick. Her hair was plaited and the worst part, she had on trousers.

The ones who “converted” my grandma told them a story about a fellow called Noah who got drunk one day and decided to remove his clothes. His sons, he had three of them, found him in his drunken state, and one laughed at him while the others approached him backwards and covered their father’s nakedness. Noah cursed the one who laughed and blessed the rest. (Genesis 9: 21-27)

The cursed one’s name was Ham, which means black or burnt. Black people are descendants of  Ham, hence, our suffering of course at the hands of colonisers, slave owners and we should be thankful in our suffering, cursed state. I believe hence the cutting of hair, headscarfs, drab clothing and the constant state of sadness and submission. (Ephisians 6:1). I am still trying to figure out what is so good about this news they supposedly brought us.

 

Walking along River Road for a dark skin woman like me is sad but funny. “Kuja mum, mafuta ya ku toa tint, utakua mrembo!” The shock on their orange faces when you say, “Asante, niko sawa!” Lupita Nyong’o once said colourism is the daughter of racism. Another person on social media said, (paraphrased), one of the deadliest tools colonialists and slave traders used was the depiction of the white woman as the most fragile and feminine being. So the darker your skin as a woman, the more masculine you were treated and you were sexualised rather than seen as feminine.

One of the deadliest tools colonialists and slave traders used was the depiction of the white woman as the most fragile and feminine being. So the darker your skin as a woman, the more masculine you were treated and you were sexualised rather than seen as feminine.

“You should have seen her, she was black!” Then they realise you are dark-skinned. “But not like you, you are at least pretty.” Now you have many black girls running from their melanin. If you are not lucky to have been removed from God’s oven in time, you correct him by swallowing and applying products sold to you from the West in order to achieve whiteness. The colour of purity, femininity, cleanliness.

I had an opportunity to attend an accelerator programme last year. A begging class really. They did not really want to know what our visions or missions were, they taught us what the white man wanted to hear in order to give us money. They wanted more pictures of black people in fields, walking from the river in our presentations. They told us how we must work a room of white donors, how we should greet them, how we should present our cards, how we should stand when presenting and how we must thank them. When they gave us the money, we were to rinse and repeat.

All this was done with the aim to be bought by one of the Westerners, they assured us this was good if we were bought out. Basically, they were robbing us of our legacy. I mean, how much were they going to pay us for what they were eventually going to make from our ideas, our people, our land? When we said we wanted debt not equity, we became enemies. Stepchildren. Bad Africans who did not want to grow. The good ones were ready to sell their birthright.

Black people are so comfortable with being disrespected around the world, a meme someone forwarded me said. On our black soil here in our black Africa, there are still some restaurants we cannot go to, there are still some places we cannot or will not be employed in, there are still some of us who grin like lizards and bow down when addressing a white person.

This (and many other reasons) is why the Black Lives Matter movement resonates with me. Their knees might not be physically on our necks here, but it is not comfortable either. I am not downplaying our challenges here. I just want to say it is a struggle all black people can and should relate to and it should ignite a revolution in all of us wherever we are in the world.

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