The term cultural shock is very real. A split second of brain overload, a sense of loss coupled with confusion. Like the day I woke sweating and feeling dehydrated. This led me to my newly acquired Tosiba fridge. It was only when i opened it i became conscious of my being in Africa. There was a box of white sugar cubes placed on the eggs tray by my friend the evening before. Puzzled i laughed, maybe she is loosing her mind but on second thought she was very right, ANTS!
You see back in London ants where something we played with at school or watched when we where waiting for someone in the park. However in Ghana ants are not to be played with, and they love sugar. If you are careless enough to leave sugar out uncovered, in the morning you will be visited by the colony. Unwanted guest’s who systematically remove your life stock in there thousands.
Any similarity of the ants and the early white colonialists is not intentional, however understood.
I remember when i was a young boy growing up in South London in the 70’s and 80’s Africa was a word used to refer to small potbellied starving children with flies in there eyes. I hardly heard the word being used in my West-Indian household.
Until the Nigerian Biafra war started bringing waves of Nigerians to London they like us ended up working on the buses and other working class jobs. Immediately there was a isolation between there community and the resident west Indian community’s .
West Indians felt we where better in that we was there first and could speak English as our first language. I guess the dumb amongst us was glad to find someone who was considered less than we where living in the UK. I wonder what the educated whites where thinking during this time. Undoubtedly they watched to see if we would embrace ourselves.
Fortunately for them this was not the case. The social engineering of us through slavery and them through colonialism worked and they breathed easily at that time to see us still disliking and not knowing each other.
This engineering and my personal indoctrination of Africans came about in school. Where my history teacher showed Africa exclusively in a negative light “These are savages” he said “They are cannibals”. This with the amount of newspaper cartoons depicting Africans with bones in there nose’s dancing around a big boiling pot cooking a white woman was damaging to my and many other West Indian childrens psychology.
This damage like a virus left unchecked accounts for most of the negative encounters diasporians and born Africans experience. Especially in the diaspora.
In Ghana this damage although not as severe as in England still exists. Out of the diaporians who come from London UK and the USA to relocate here many have spoke of there unwelcome as a member of the family. They conclude that Ghanaians just see them as American or British. Some Ghanaians go as far as to even call us white.(obruni) One Ghanaian MP declared that “We don’t want them coming here building there ghettos”.
Thankfully this is not the norm and only a example of a dying minority who have not bothered to educate themselves to the dictates of our history. Slavery i have discovered has had many victims not only those who where sold. But also the sellers have to come to terms with there guilt.
Most Ghanaians know the part played by slavery in our history, and i have been asked by them if “i know that we are brothers”. This is also echoed in the government with there initiative The Joseph Project where Ghana is officially reaching out to us to return or invest in the homeland.
This Blog invites you all to comment i will be writing more soon and look forward to hearing from all of you peace. Will Muhammad
Wilton Muhammad Accra Ghana: Wiltons website: Diasporan Returns