Africa, The Beautiful
Let’s face it. The tendency to underestimate, undervalue and discriminate against all things African isn’t a new revelation – unfortunately. During my college years, I learned about African history and African American history after fighting the board to have those courses offered at the university. As a Staff Writer for the college newspaper, I paid a hefty price of expulsion (later I was welcomed to return following a warning from a state official) for using my writing as a tool to fight for the right to learn about my heritage. I also deemed it necessary to include those African based courses in the electives offered within the Humanities core so that all students would have the opportunity to be educated about people that have benefitted the least and sacrificed the most. After absorbing all that was taught to me in those classes, I came away with a sense of immense pride of the people before me. I also swelled with anger toward the injustices that were committed, repeatedly – and continue to this day. Living in the light is more about truth than smiling and unlimited happy feelings. Some posts focus in a lighthearted way on issues. This issue is too dear to my heart and far too underreported to be less than honestly serious.
The latest disgrace over what was said about Africa really only reflects how the countries are quietly regarded by many. Somebody finally said it – publicly. However, I think Mama Africa needs some light of truth shone on this issue for a change.
Most Africans that I’ve known from Senegal, Kenya, Nigeria, and Ghana have all commonly stated that they would never have left their home to come to the United States if not for financial reasons. There is so much beauty found in African countries that never receive the spotlight. I respect African culture for its imagination, spirit, and variety.
Africa designs imaginative and flattering fashions – As someone with a degree in fashion, I’ve never been more struck by any other fashion in the world. There are so many different ways of expressing beauty through garb in the eyes of the African designer. Whether at a party or just visiting a friend – rarely will you find mediocre. Women’s fashion is particularly cut to flatter all figures and body types. Intelligent use of color combinations in fabrics easily please the eyes and suit many shades from the lightest to the darkest. Throughout the world, I haven’t seen any other culture truly aim to bring out the beauty of all people.
African cuisine is incomparable to any other. I have not been able to master the dishes (unfortunately, I have tried) but I continue to crave Senegalese mafe, bassi-salte, and Nigerian egusi soup with pounded yam. In fact, Caribbean dishes are also a favorite of mine and it’s not surprising that most of the dishes can be traced back to African ancestry. I find the combination of spices, the use of natural ingredients and original methods of cooking to be addictive and fascinating. French, Italian, and food of other cultures are world-renowned. No offense to those influences but African food will always draw me a thousand times over.
African people have so much heart and spirit which spills over into their craft and their words. I respect that they don’t speak “loosely” but after careful consideration of you and of what they mean to say. You will rarely find an African using offensive language or willingly try to hurt you in any way. This quality is most admirable and I hope it doesn’t evaporate due to the many influences of outside cultures. I have learned that watching TV, social media, and tourist often introduce unseemly behaviors which often taint the younger people in Africa and present challenges to keeping them true to their values.
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The economies throughout Africa are making progress, despite the many challenges and obstacles inserted by companies and governments throughout the world. Everybody wants a piece of Africa, so they continue to take, take, take. Allowable by African leaders because of entanglements and traps that they are not willing to prevent, or escape due to unavoidable and personal consequences. The trap has been a winning strategy of European and American interests for centuries. What an injustice, a hypocrisy, a LOL in the most painful way – that anyone should question welcoming Africans from the continent and throughout the diaspora (including the Caribbean) to the United States. It’s the very, very, very least America could do and it would never account for or repay what is owed to African nations for slavery, unfair stripping and robbery of the land which in turn paid for these nice shiny building and the stock markets that are built upon the backs of Africa’s sons and daughters. Major corporations budded from free labor such as Lehman Brothers and JPMorgan Chase. America’s boom (along with other thriving corporations internationally) can be directly linked back to slavery, Occupy Wall Street. It’s why racism was born. America would never be able to pay the debt to every descendant which is why there has been no real discussion of reparations. So how dare there be a discussion of immigration and closing our doors to people of African descent? Or any other people for that matter. Whether we are speaking of Mexicans or Nicaraguans, the greedy intrusion of European and American corporations and governments has contributed to the downfall of nations throughout the world, for centuries.
For those who ask the question “If you love Africa so much – why not go live there? Why are people trying to come to the United States from Africa if life there is so admirable?” The answer lies in the fact that life is so challenging as much as it is beautiful throughout Africa. Mama Africa’s daughters and sons have managed to ride the waves of challenges bestowed upon them by the international intruders. These daughters and sons are tough and strong to withstand such injustice and obstacles. But should they have to be? Shouldn’t they be allowed to relax and enjoy their resources and benefit from their own land? Why not? Why should any other people’s, corporations, generations, outside of Africa – continue to benefit from Mama Africa more than her own daughters and sons? Only to be deemed indebted to the robbers. A true disgrace.