Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

Africans in Exile

Expand Messages
    The vast majority of Sub-Saharan Africans who live outside of the continent are in exile. For these Africans, their condition may either be self-imposed or
    Message 1 of 9 , Sep 1 3:45 PM

      The vast majority of Sub-Saharan Africans who live outside of the
      continent are in exile. For these Africans, their condition may either
      be self-imposed or forced by the prevailing conditions in the
      continent. And the general conditions in the continent are not healthy
      or enriching, or conducive to personal growth and happiness. Although
      conditions differ from one country to another but, by and large, what
      we have is a continent where a sizeable number of the people --
      especially those between the ages of 18 and 45 -- cannot wait to go
      into exile. They cannot wait to get out of their respective
      countries. Nigeria is an archetypal example of a country where, if
      embassies assured travel visas, 70% or more of college students will
      leave on their own volition.

      The majority of those in exile either have nothing substantial to
      return home to, or their own governments do not want them back. We
      also see that in some cases, the political, economic, social and
      cultural space is not large or absorbent enough to accommodate exiles;
      in other cases, some exiles got blinded by the security, comfort and
      predictability of their host countries so much so that going back home
      becomes less attractive. Nigerians, for example, habitually points to
      the lack of basic infrastructure, poor personal and human security,
      and a sickening and corrupt political system. To be sure, there are
      other discouraging and encouraging factors, but mostly, the aforesaid
      accounts for why most exiles remain in North America and European

      Whether one knows it or not, acknowledges it or not, living in exile
      is horrible. It is one of the most painful of all human experiences.
      The pain and the anguish is less for most who vacated in their pre-
      teenage years. For them, acculturation and assimilation is much
      easier. With time, their memory of the old country fades; cultural
      chips become less powerful or insignificant; and ties to friends and
      family may become loose or non-existent. Essentially, therefore, they
      lose one country and gain another; lose one set of identity and gain
      another. They transfer their love and loyalty to their new country.
      For most of these early exiles, they will know one country and one
      country only. This is generally the case and the pattern unless of
      course a mother or a father or an influential relative kept the flame
      and the desire for the old country alive.

      The United States, of which I am most familiar, is home to millions of
      African immigrants. Data may show that the US now houses more Africans
      than Western and Eastern Europe combined. For a while, Europe --
      especially Britain, France, Portugal, Belgium and Germany -- was the
      preferred destination for Africans particularly because of their
      colonial relationship. In other words, until recent years, colonial-
      Europe was the port of call for Africans. Today, the whole world is
      present in the US: every language and culture and nationality is
      present here. They are present here for different reasons. But above
      all else, people come here for the freedom, the opportunity and the
      option to live in manners that are guaranteed by US law and customs.

      However, sooner or later, immigrants -- African immigrants of whom
      this essay is about --will come to realize that the longer one stays
      in this country, the deeper the pain and the agony. They may have big
      cars and big homes; they may have beautiful wives and successful
      children; and they may also have investment portfolios that are the
      envy of most. Yet, most will and do feel empty. Every so often, they
      travel to the motherland to see friends and family. Still they feel
      empty. Most act and feel like tourists in their own father’s land (as
      most can only spend 2-4 weeks at a stretch before running to the grind
      and their predictable lifestyle). There are those whose eyes swell
      (with tears) at the thought of returning to Oyinboland. It can be
      lonely here. And they know it.

      If you were a “nobody” before coming to the US, and if you are still a
      “nobody” after all these years, the ache and the grief may not be
      much. What may matter to you is that you are now a success compared to
      your previous life. But if you were “somebody” before your departure,
      and you are still a big deal here, you are more likely to feel the
      pain. Even if you were a “nobody” in your previous life, but once you
      become “somebody” here, you begin to, after a while, feel a gradual
      pain -- the type of pain that get more discomforting and unbearable as
      time passes. First the pain and then the anguish, followed by a sense
      of uselessness and sadness. If left unchecked, acute sense of loss and
      actual depression may set in.

      An accomplished Nigerian author and teacher once told me: “most of the
      professors and successful African immigrants you see in this country
      are sad and depressed…especially the professors…most are angry, and
      are not respected by their non-Black peers…” From his vantage point,
      “most of these Africans are better read and smarter than most of their
      counterparts, but they generally are saddled with supporting or
      subservient roles; they have to defer to their non-Black colleagues.”
      To make matters worse, “even their students complain about their
      accent and mannerism, and assume they must be less qualified than
      other professors, especially the Whites.”

      Faced with such a situation, “they are angry at their home government,
      angry at their colleagues, angry at their students and subordinates,
      and are also angry at themselves.” But within their enclaves and
      between their own people, “the African professors are the most
      pompous, most condescending and most irritating. Most cannot explain
      simple concepts or simple phenomenon without resorting to antiquated
      language…they have the need to impress.”

      Indeed, the western world -- and increasingly, South Africa
      universities -- is filled with Nigerian and Ghanaian professors. I
      can’t think of a colleges or university, anywhere in the United
      States, without at least two Nigerian and or Ghanaian teachers or
      administrators. I also doubt if there is a medical establishment,
      anywhere in the UK, Canada and the United States, without Nigerian and
      Ghanaian doctors and nurses.

      In all these places and beyond, I doubt if the majority of these
      Africans truly enjoy being there. The financial compensation is good,
      but my thinking is that they would rather be home: helping their own
      people and helping to advance their own countries. But here they are
      -- needed primarily for their skills and services; needed just to help
      develop and advance a country that is truly not theirs. How terrible
      it must feel to be just a hired hand.

      If you are a South African, your lot in life may be a lot better. The
      same goes for those from Botswana, Malawi, Zambia, and a few other
      countries. In the West African subregion, Ghana is the newest darling,
      home to quarter-of-a- million or so Nigerians. If you are a Nigerian,
      then, you know you are violated. Twice over! First, you are violated
      by a government that is utterly incompetent, utterly corrupt, and
      utterly wayward. You have a government, a succession of government,
      which takes pleasure in exploiting and brutalizing its citizens. And
      then you have a citizenry that is too scared and falsely religious to
      fight back. And so they lay there and take it.

      Secondly, it is not a good time to be a Nigerian anywhere in the
      world. It has not been a good time to be a Nigerian anytime in the
      last two decades or so. The world knows you have a well endowed
      country that is badly run; the world knows about your soiled-
      reputation (even though it is highly exaggerated and undeserved); and
      the world also knows you are scared to return home. For more than 30
      years, to be a Nigerian was to be respected; in the last 20, it has
      become a hindrance. So, as an immigrant or as an exile, you feel it
      and you know it. How painful to know that people deal and interact
      with you from the other end of a long rope.

      To be an African immigrant in the West or anywhere else is not easy.
      Within the international political and economic system, Africa is an
      afterthought; socially and culturally, Africa is also an afterthought.
      And even at the individual level, most non-Blacks do not think much of
      the African. Sometimes one gets the feeling that non-Blacks think of
      Africans as incapable of complex task; a people incapable of governing
      themselves without generous assistance from the Western world.

      Such attitude and conviction, whether state or unstated, is
      condemnable. Even so, there are times when one surveys the continent
      and the various governments therein and wonder if, if, if -- oh well,
      just take a look at Nigeria and its leaders (and leadership) for the
      last 30 or so years. If you are educated, enlightened, polished,
      decent, and with renaissance thinking and living in the West, is that
      the kind of country and condition you want to return to?

      In the end though, if you have been living in the West for much of
      your productive life, and you are now clocking 55, 60 or 65 and with
      the urge to return home, you are likely to have headache or develop
      insomnia for a few days or weeks. One might even have panic attacks.
      Long before this period, one may have planned it all out. One may have
      methodically planned it all out, in which case the transition --
      assuming home is where one wants to spend the fourth quarter of one’s
      life -- is as smooth as possible.

      However, whether planned or not, several years of the exiled has a way
      of making one a stranger in ones village or community. How well and
      for how long you’ve planned the transition may determine your place
      and comfort in your new environment. Planned or not, smooth or not,
      you will, every now and then, get your bearings wrong, your traction
      will be shaky, your worldview out of sync, some of your mannerisms
      alien, and your thought pattern criss-crossed. This is the price you
      must pay for being in exile.

      Sabidde@gmail. com

      Share your memories online with anyone you want anyone you want.
      White South African Claiming Racist ‘Persecution’ Is Granted Asylum in Canada By Robert Mackey South Africa plans to ask Canada to review a ruling last
      Message 2 of 9 , Sep 2 3:08 PM


        White South African Claiming Racist ‘Persecution’ Is Granted Asylum in Canada

        By Robert Mackey
        South Africa plans to ask Canada to review a ruling last week by an immigration board in Ottawa granting asylum to a white South African carnival worker who claimed that he was forced to flee his homeland after being attacked seven times because of the color of his skin.
        As The Ottawa Sun reported on Friday:
        A photograph of Brandon Huntley posted on the Web site of Canada’s Globe and Mail newspaper.
        A Canadian immigration and refugee board panel ruled Thursday that Brandon Huntley, 31, could stay in Canada because he presented “clear and convincing proof of the state’s inability or unwillingness to protect him.”
        “I find that the claimant would stand out like a ’sore thumb’ due to his color in any part of the country,” tribunal panel chair William Davis said in his decision to grant Huntley refugee status.
        Mr. Huntley, 31, claimed that he was called a “white dog” and a “settler” by black assailants while being mugged seven times during the years he lived outside Cape Town. According to The Globe and Mail, Mr. Huntley said that he had failed to report any of these attacks to the police in South Africa because he “did not trust them.”
        The immigration and refugee board ruling said that Mr. Huntley had proven that the South African government, through “indifference and inability or unwillingness,” was failing to protect “white South Africans from persecution by African South Africans.”
        The Ottawa Sun reported that Mr. Huntley said violent crime against white South Africans by black South Africans was racially motivated: “There’s a hatred of what we did to them and it’s all about the color of your skin.”
        The Globe and Mail noted that the decision “has ignited a firestorm of controversy in South Africa, damaging relations between the two countries and denting Canada’s image in a country where it was once seen as a stalwart of the anti-apartheid struggle.”
        On Tuesday Reuters reported that a spokesman for the African National Congress, which now rules South Africa, said “Canada’s reasoning for granting Huntley a refugee status can only serve to perpetuate racism.”
        On Wednesday Agence France-Presse reported that Sue van der Merwe, South Africa’s deputy minister of international relations, said the decision “shows a lack of familiarization with the facts and reality of South African society.” Another A.N.C. official called the ruling, “preposterous and laughable.”
        A spokesman for the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada told The Globe and Mail that the body is intended to operate independently, but added that Canada’s federal government does have the power to ask for judicial review of any decision.
        In South Africa, the BBC found a unanimity of opinion from seven citizens of various races who said that while crime is a problem, Mr. Huntley’s claims were “absolute nonsense,” since “thugs attack you because they believe you have something they want.”


        1. 1. September 2, 2009 3:35 pm Link
          The Canadian Immigration and Refugee board has a history of strange decisions. Allowing some refugee status when it is not warranted and denying some which are warranted. I would trust the result of that tiny poll that the BBC conducted, saying that the claims were absolute nonsense, rather than the Canadian board.
          I’m Canadian, by the way.
          — Gary Marantz
        2. 2. September 2, 2009 4:18 pm Link
          Thank God that that there is a place in the world where white people can live free of racial oppression.
          — Jose
        3. 3. September 2, 2009 4:26 pm Link
          Well, if the BBC conducted a poll than it (whatever the result is) must be true!
          After all, it’s not like the Beeb is consumed by moral posturing in a continual (and all too often embarrassing) effort to show just how down with the darker peoples of the world it’s lily-white structure is.
          Perhaps this man’s claim has little or no basis. I don’t claim to know. But really, you can’t cite a BBC poll as a source for anything but what’s currently received ‘Guardian’-reading middle-class privileged white opinion, fantasy or desire.
          LEDE BLOG REPLY: We’re verging on the off-topic here, but to clarify, we did not say the BBC conducted a poll; we said that they spoke to a handful of South Africans who agreed that this claim is preposterous. Whatever your feeling about the British media, it is possible that most South Africans find the idea that the country is not safe for white people absurd.
          — Maria
        4. 4. September 2, 2009 4:29 pm Link
          Fleeing From South Africa
          Fourteen years after apartheid, why are the best and the brightest leaving Africa’s most successful state?
          The primary driver for emigration among all groups, but especially whites, who still retain the majority of South Africa’s wealth, is fear of crime.
          — Wes
        5. 5. September 2, 2009 4:29 pm Link
          Poor, poor Canada…
          — Emmanuel
        6. 6. September 2, 2009 4:29 pm Link
          Please someone, grant me asylum for being Black in White America.
          It’s only fair, right?
          Decisions like this in no way help alleviate a racist system, rather they uphold it.
          — Tam
        7. 7. September 2, 2009 4:30 pm Link
          A follow up on the Newsweek article: “Another largely unnoticed problem is the growing number of attacks on South Africa’s white farmers. As in neighboring Zimbabwe, some of the attacks appear to be racially motivated. Others seem simply opportunistic, but the result is that white farmers’ numbers continue to decrease, leading to fears that despite the government’s good intentions, a Zimbabwe-style crisis—where the flight of skilled farmers led to an agricultural collapse—is possible here too.”
          — Wes
        8. 8. September 2, 2009 4:34 pm Link
          I am Cuban and live in the U,S.,according to laws here ,if you are mugged or beaten while being called a white dog or settler ,it would constitute a Hate Crime since whites are a minority in South Africa.
          — Ricardo
        9. 9. September 2, 2009 4:34 pm Link
          Cape Town is a big city and not some backwater village I doubt he stood out as a white person. And the area outside of Cape Town is surrounded by wineries, shopping and other touristy things. Are we really supposed to believe that this guy constantly found himself assailed because he was white? Because they thought he had money maybe….Although maybe he got mugged cause he looks like a major tool.
          — LaToshaDC
        10. 10. September 2, 2009 4:36 pm Link
          Regardless of how plausible the claim is, I don’t see how the “indifference and inability or unwillingness” of the government of South Africa could be established if the incidents were never reported to them. If the expectation is that the government will stop crimes they don’t know about, he’ll probably be disappointed to discover that Canada does not employ psychics, either.
          — JD
        11. 11. September 2, 2009 4:37 pm Link
          I know personally of many Indians being killed, injured and robbed of their belongings by Africans and so are Africans, Coloureds and Europeans. The head of the Jewish board has made a statement to the effect that this is not racism (Zev). Many Jewish people were involved in the struggle in South Africa. The African people were deprived of basic human rights because of their race by the Europeans since they arrived there in l652 until Mandela took over in l994. The Europeans may well be called racist names and so are Africans themselves, Indians and Coloureds. The ‘moral’ evolutuion of the Europeans in particular will take many generations like in the deep American south.
          — Radha Pather
        12. 12. September 2, 2009 5:58 pm Link

          Your comment is awaiting moderation.

          I find the language of the Canadian Immigration and Refugee Board particularly troubling when it stated that governmental “indifference and inability or unwillingness,” led to the persecution of “white South Africans…by African South Africans.” Are not white and black South Africans all Africans?
          I thought Whites in South Africa have since made the claim to their African identity? But the Canadian ruling seems to reinforce the apartheid construction that African identity is exclusive to blacks? Do South African whites become Africans only when it suits?
          — Nkossu, Nditi


        With Windows Live, you can organize, edit, and share your photos.
      • AKOH ASA'NA
        Hello, I d encourage everyone here to check this link below. Go to the site and sign up and ask the writer of this story celebrating Chantal Biya whether they
        Message 3 of 9 , Sep 29 7:35 AM

          I'd encourage everyone here to check this link below. Go to the site and sign up and ask the writer of this story celebrating Chantal Biya whether they are aware of her husband's human rights record in Cameroon.
          Biya likes to function under the radar but Chantal is attracting a lot of attention. Through her we may get the international community to focus on Cameroon especially after the recent high profile visits she's had with the Pope and President Obama.

          Live, you can organize, edit, and share your photos.

          See all the ways you can stay connected to friends and family
        Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.