I got thinking about this question when trying to figure out if I knew any Kenyans in Sweden (long story). Now, there is a Swedish school in Nairobi, but I can’t say that I am on speaking terms with any of its alumni. Ask me to find a Kenyan in just about any US state, however, and I can probably come up with three or four names without trying very hard.
My own shut-in tendencies have limited my exposure to my fellow Africans, but I know they’re around. There’s a very good group for entrepreneurs that has regular meetings in my city, the group Black Women in Europe does some awesome things for networking, and I have had drunken conversations in French with Congolese traders on the night bus home (another long story).
Nevertheless, when one comes to the ‘net to look for stories from the diaspora, it does seem that Africans have gravitated overwhelmingly to the “land of the free.” This is understandable on a number of levels, including historical, but it remains a source of curiosity to me that Africans who have eschewed the “traditional” emigration destinations appear to be so thin on the ground, at least in terms on online presence.
Is it that they don’t blog? Maybe they are too busy hustling in Shanghai or sealing deals in São Paulo to take the time to relate their thoughts and experiences to the rest of us. Maybe I’m not looking hard enough. I’ll admit I have been slack in seeking out new reading material, but I don’t think it’s all my fault. Online, the African diaspora appears, to my eyes at least, to be star-spangled in the majority.
Is this a problem? Well, one wouldn’t think so, but when we talk about the issues and problems that we face as Africans abroad, when the majority relate their experiences from a US-based perspective, it can bury or negate the quirks and idiosyncrasies that diasporans in other countries have to deal with.
This isn’t to say that all those in the USA should shut up and sit down. A plurality of voices is always better than a monolithic megaphone. But it would be nice to see more pluarity, from even more places, to expand our collective experience and terms of reference.
So, who do you know who is in a non-US locale? Anywhere exotic? If there’s an African blogger fighting the good fight in a place that is not a typical emigration destination, promote them in the comments, giving your reasons why.
[Image by AZRainman]