April 26, 2014


A few weeks ago, I mentioned a new feature coming to Afroklectic. You have read about my experiences and some of the experiences of my friends’ for the past four years, but it’s time to broaden that narrative. Overall I feel like I have had a positive upbringing in Australia. Of course there have been some questionable experiences as well as my personal battle of trying to balance two cultures on the pendulum scale. However, the narrative of the ‘Afrostralian’ (A term I learnt from Ed Cross on Twitter. Get familiar! I will start using it) has many story lines which are not told enough! At Afroklectic we have always encouraged fellow Afrostralians to submit their experiences, but we want to make their stories an official part of this space.
If I could record every reaction I have received when I have told people I was born and raised in Australia, it would be a very long video of confused and shocked faces. Some of my friends now use me being Australian as an introductory opener just to see the reactions on people’s faces. Introductions always follow with people asking me about my upbringing because I don’t represent the Australia they know. I think to myself, ‘Hey I am the first Afrostralian they have met, I could possibly be the last‘. That doesn’t settle well with me. Why should my story be the last? There are heaps of stories to be told, but there just doesn’t seem to be the right opportunity for those stories. 

I recently watched a TV interview with an up-and-coming African creative based in Sydney. The interview was broadcasted on an Australian channel during prime time news (I think or at least a decent hour where lots of people were tuned in). The creative was asked about Africans in Australia and he went on to say that when he came in the early 2000s and there was a non-existent African community. I gasped and then I was fuming. Fuming because he basically wiped out the existence of myself and many others who were here a long time before him. The early 2000s was just yesterday in comparison to people I know who came in the 50s, 70s, 80s and 90s or for that matter, born here during those times. So really, what does he know about the community? However, I was more frustrated by the fact that hundreds of thousands of people would have watched that interview. He could possibly be the first and last Afrostralian they would see, and they will take that information as fact when it is miles from the truth. I did not shy away from telling him that!

In the Yes I am Australian: Aftermath post, I mentioned one angry commenter who just couldn’t understand how I could have a good upbringing in Sydney based on what he/she saw on TV or read. I told them they should go and live in Australia and then we can have a well-rounded conversation on the topic. This person had heard or read one story based on who knows what. Heard a small snippet of mine and disregarded it based on what he/she already knew without actually really knowing. As Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie said ‘There is a danger to a single story‘. 

I am tired of this one-sided-story business and this why we are introducing a new feature titled A.squared. We at Afroklectic want to know about your experience in Australia. The good, the bad and the mediocre. Whether you were born here, came here at 5 or 35, went back to the the mother continent because you were fed up and so forth.

Being a mix of two (> or more) cultures is simply not just two (>) elements added together. It’s two elements (>) with baggage multiplied on all levels. That baggage contains traditions/culture, thoughts, family and so forth. Then being in a country so isolated from the rest of the world adds to the equation, as well as how people perceive Australia and our migration to Australia. That’s why we have titled this feature A.squared. There are so many levels in all of this. 

If you want to share your story/thoughts/experience about Australia, just email us at info@afroklectic.com along with your story, name (optional), age (optional) and a photo (optional. Doesn’t have to be of you. If it’s not your image, please send us the credit), Subject: A.squared.

We look forward to reading and publishing your experiences.