Everyone has had that awkward moment. When you meet someone new and they ask you where you’re from, but you’re not sure if they mean which part of the country you’re from (which would be Hampshire in my case), which part of London you live in (which would be West) or which country you originate from (which would be Ghana).
So I went to ‘Africa Gathering’ a few weeks ago with a friend of mine, and during the tea break I got into a conversation with Caroline Kende-Robb, who’s the executive director of the Africa progress panel. So… the question came up – “where are you from?” and I gave my usual answer of, “my parents are from Ghana but I was born in Hampshire, and I live in London now.”
I’ve always hated saying “my parents are from Ghana” because even thought I wasn’t born there, I’m very Ghanaian! So the conversation continued and she mentioned that young Africans are so proud these days, I was like ‘yeah, yeah I’ve been saying this for months’ but then she said she’s noticed that second generation Africans are becoming an ethnicity in its own right.
She’s so right. Growing up, I’ve often felt like I don’t fit in properly anywhere. In the UK, I was the African kid, and whenever I visited Ghana, I was the British kid. My white friends were scared to eat the orange coloured rice my mum offered them whenever they came over because they knew it would make their mouths burn, and my Ghanaian friends spent 50% of our time together laughing at my inability to speak Twi well enough. There are some things that only second generation Africans understand, and answering ‘Hampshire, London or Ghana’ to that golden question is never adequate.
One thing I talk about a lot is how beautiful it is to be a part of this generation of young British born Africans are so proud to be African. Everyone remembers how West Indians were the cool black people ten or so years ago. We all wished our parents were blasting soca instead of Daddy Lumba, come on, you know it’s true.
If you’ve got any thoughts, drop me a comment 🙂
With love, Afua x