As a human race we all inherently have an identity. It is said that when you are born in Africa, Africa is also born in you and so the love affair with your homeland begins. Moreover, being African seems to be more than simply a coincidence of birth, it is a choice too.

African dancersBut what does it mean to be African? We who claim this great continent as our home are vast in numbers like stars in the galaxy yet, sundry like the colours of a rainbow. Our cultures, religions, races and languages often differ greatly, nevertheless they all hold the commonality in their unique splendour, we are all bound not only by the geographical borders of this continent, but more importantly, by the imperceptible conviction that this is home.

Africa has infinite verve and distinctive soul, which offers a foundation to an unprecedented amount of knowledge and wisdoms only limited to the confines of how far the mind is willing to stretch.

However this beautiful description of what Africa has to offer simply does not answer the question of what it means to be African. There is no simple answer, this is so because we mistakenly let the idea of ‘identity’ define us. We use man-made constructs to give sense of self and provide continuity and sameness to ourselves and our personalities over time.  We fall into the trap of hiding away in sameness instead of using our diversity to enhance and add dynamism to our ‘identify’.

In saying this, the question comes to mind how do we add meaning, dynamism and celebration to being African? Not to be trapped in the mindset of how the notion of being African defines us. Let being African be reason to come together and celebrate our unique differences, come together and pass on and share wisdom, knowledge and unique cultural assortments and rejoice in ourselves.

Let us use the fear of discomfort and lack of understanding to be the driving force of positivity and integration not the catalyst of oppression and breeding hatred.

Being African is an exceptional beauty, being African is an everlasting and unconditional love, being African is majestic symphony of art and poetry, being African is a patient and tolerant teacher. Now how are you going to enhance and enrich the extraordinary joy of being an African?

Words: Yvonne Kgame

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