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Monday, October 15, 2012

Coming/Going/Back Home

**** This was a draft I had months ago... I'm so angry I didn't post it when I intended!****

I have always been a huge advocate of first-generation African youth finding ways to give back to their nation of heritage. I was blessed with that opportunity this past year as was the author of the following article.  I have the tendency to be starry-eyed about my idea of Ghana in many ways for numerous reasons, but I appreciate Afua's approach to moving back home by providing a candid "economic lens". Below is the opening snippet....  Click here to read and to comment!

Afua Hirsch: Our parents left Africa – now we are coming home

As a child in London, Afua Hirsch was embarrassed by her African roots. Then, in February, she became a 'returnee', choosing to live in her parents' birthplace, Ghana. Her story is echoed across the continent: attracted by economic opportunity and a new sense of optimism, the African diaspora is starting to come back …


Anonymous said...

This article was great, and accurately describes what a lot of people are sensing but aren't able to put into words. The article did give me pause though, I didn't know how to feel; proud, excited, or left out. I felt all these things.
I'm proud of my brothers and sisters going back to change the discourse and fortunes of our countries of heritage. But I suppose the perspective the article takes is one of a all or nothing; I don't see room for individuals who don't want to choose one over the other. "returnee" or "stayer" "African or American (or European)" pick one.
When one leaves the west to migrate back home, it goes with the assumption that they've traded in their western roots for their African ones. (Indifferent from the people who trade in Africa for the west) We can't have both? Won't this perspective eventually stigmatize the ones who choose to cheer on the movement and be part of the discussion but not to return permanently?

Ama Kyei said...

Surely, we can have both "lives" without forfeiting the other. I don't sense an "all or nothing" approach from the article, maybe because I am reading it from a different lens than you. From what I witnessed with Western "returnees" is that they never truly trade in anything, if not much. I personally feel that there can never be an "all or nothing" route toward the African heritage movement. In a sense, nobody ever really "stays". Many folks who do return tend to revel in the joy of being able to go back to their Western country when desired. Even our parents (the "stayers" in America) take on that impression as well. I can only hope the more important message of the article was to encourage others to embark on the journey someway or the other. I think the demands of the new century do not always allow people to be so.... freely ambitious. However, I do think that people can find ways to modify their personal interests in giving back to their countries without settling on permanance. We can make up another category: "givers". Individuals who take pride in their native country by giving back with their occasional presence, open pride, and precious time.

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