African, What does it mean?

Conquering always | Nandipha Mabuyangwa

May 25th is Africa day. It is a day that we as Africans celebrate our African-ism. The one question that I have had ever-since this day is, “What does it mean to be African?”. I spent a lot of time pondering on this question. As we wrap up the month of May, I just thought to share on what I think makes me African.

It is said that when you are born in Africa, Africa is also born in you and that is where your African-ism begins. I fully concur with this statement. To me, being African goes beyond Africa as a place of birth. My birth may have qualified me to be African but that is only the beginning. Africa has come alive in me. I call Africa home. To me, the diverse cultures, races, religions and, languages and how they are intertwined make Africa what it is. It is more than geographical confinement. Africa lives me, in as much as I live in it.

To be African, I believe, is to choose to embrace the struggles of my ancestors. They fought for freedom and today, I carry those stories as a beacon of hope for the dreams I possess and the future I hope for. To be at peace with the fact that I stand for something. The world sees Africa as a place of violent tribal wars, but for us Africans, we know that our purpose is bigger than us. Our purpose is to preserve the wealth of the continent for generations to come. To ensure that the next generation has a far more better experience than us.

I am not African because of the colour of my skin, the texture of my hair, the curvature of my lips nor the roundness of my nose. Yes, my skin absorbs the sun’s rays and my hair defies gravity but does not say anything about my intellectual capability as an African child. Being African goes far and above physical attributes.

African child, let African come alive in you. I Nandipha, stand proud to be called African. Knowing that the coarseness of my hair does not define me. My skin colour may not be the world’s kind of beautiful but that is me and I love it. As an African child today, I stand hopefully knowing that one day, thousands of ‘malnourished children with swollen bellies’, as the world perceives us, will lead one of the biggest industries there is. The world may say we are in abject poverty, but I know I am changing the narrative. My mind is rich and will bring great development.

African-ism is all this and more. I am an African and I am heading somewhere to happen!!

Conquer always-♥

Nandipha Mabuyangwa

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