Sunday, 20 May 2012

Am I Afropolitan? - "a rose by any other name"

I define myself as being the person I see in the mirror. My friends define me as what they see now, my community define me as what I have achieved. However, how does the world, who does not know me, define me?

If they cannot define me, they find it difficult to interact with an unknown. We might hide behind the pretense of not seeing differences, but that would be lying to ourselves.

So, rather than disagree with you on what you call me, I embrace all those labels!

For each label, I am able to attach myself to another group to find similarities rather than differences.

Recently I came across an article about being Afropolitan. This word means:

  • An African from the continent of dual nationality 
  • An African born in the Diaspora 
  • An African who identifies with their African and European heritage and mixed culture.
  • An African free from local, provincial, or national ideas, prejudices, or attachments; at home all over the world.

Let's examine if I fit into these meanings, and who of you are also in that box?

Africans with dual nationality

I was born in South West Africa. At Independence, I received Namibian nationality. That is the passport I carry and I am proud to be a Brave Warrior. Nonetheless, South Africa recognises me as having a right to citizenship, even though I have not exercised that right. So, I have dual nationality.

Who else in Namibia has dual nationality?

my Namibian born friends who also have German or British passports, you too are Afropolitan.
any other Namibians with dual nationality - including everyone born before Independence - and living in a cosmopolitan area

Born in the Diaspora

Not me. But all my exile friends born in the rest of the world - "Welcome, Karibu, Onde Kutambulako!"

Identifies with the Mixed Culture

I call myself a "Cool Coloured Chap" - you may too. I recognise, and appreciate both my African and European cultures. I can enjoy the music of the penny-whistle (african) and electric guitars (european) .

In addition, I have made the effort to understand the history of the other cultures in my country. This is important. An AFROPOLITAN must make an effort to understand Africa, its similarities and its differences. Our strength in calling ourselves "from Africa", is our diversity.

Without Prejudices

OOPS. Will have to work on my -isms. I consider capitalism to be a system that does not work for the majority of its people.

Jokes aside, I am comfortable in a church, temple, synagogue, ashram or any other place of worship. This is a start.


We are more the same than what we recognise.  Now I have one more name that can help me see people who are just like me.

No comments: