Towards mutual understanding: Continental and Diasporan Afrikans
Something I've noticed is a general lack of understanding between continental and diasporan Afrikans on very rudimentary levels especially on initial contact. While I can list exceptions to this, I'll write generally for the sake of the discussion.
For many Afrikans in the diaspora, it seems unbelievable to come to Afrika and to meet continental Afrikans who may have been born without any Afrikan name whatsoever. Like Harry Sawyer. Or to meet many who have never practiced any traditional Afrikan spiritual system; whose parents were born into the church/mosque and that's all they've ever been exposed to. Or to find continental Afrikans who can't speak their language at all and, those who do, can't go 3 words without switching to the colonizer's language entirely or at least making 50-60% of any conversation in the colonizer's language. Continental Afrikans who find it weird to wear Afrikan clothing except maybe to church or a funeral. Particularly among modern/urbanized youth but also the not-so-modern and not-so-urbanized youth. It's like diasporan Afrikans have read the books, know about neocolonialization at least as a concept, but to be confronted with a white jesus everyday and "Afrikans" who have never even considered worshipping anything else...tends to lead to a breakdown in understanding.
By the same token, oftentimes it seems inconceivable for continental Afrikans to meet Afrikans from the diaspora who have never had european names. It's like, what do you mean? Those who wear Afrikan clothes. Those who speak Afrikan languages are like a novelty. And the most unbelievable, who practice Afrikan spirituality. For many, it's literally like, that last one is actually impossible. While this may be different in Benin (in reference to spirituality) or other places (in Burkina Faso there was a stark contrast with Ghana in terms of people wearing clothes made by Afrikan hands at least back in 2001), generally, the expectations of continental Afrikans and diasporan Afrikans in reference to the reality of who their counterparts are and what is possible tend to be skewed at best. While I'm mainly speaking about the youth, much of the values or lack of values for anything outwardly or inwardly Afrikan are inherited from the parents and the parents may have gotten it from missionary schools, churches, mosques, t.v., radio or various other orafices of attack. The result can be someone who literally says to you word for word, "the African can only mess things up and destroy things. Only the white man is good. Only the white man can do anything good."
The point of this, other than sharing personal experience mainly in Ghana but also in Nigeria, Senegal, Gambia, Burkina and Mali where I've traveled, is to ask the question "how can mutual understanding based in reality occur?" For those who are familiar with the prologue of Ayi Kwei Armah's historical epic Two Thousand Seasons, the view from the ground is largely one of those hustling towards the white city of death and destruction and those who have already tasted its bitter white death and are looking for a way back to our way. What are the steps to bring about an understanding of reality of who the counterpart is to use as a basis for mutual understanding, interactions and work amongst Afrikan people.0 Thanks, 0 Likes