black white

I was shocked last week when my manager introduced a colleague to me, a Kenyan. What was shocking about it? He is Asian! I mean he is Kenyan –though amused, this was something he vehemently insisted upon when I displayed disbelief -, but he is from Asian descent, he isn’t black.

I have met people from a different origin integrating and even identifying with a group different from their descent but this came to me as a shock. Africa is to most foreigners, a place where you they go to experience the Safari and maybe to volunteer with a charity, not a place to identify with and happily and willingly belong to.

I was intrigued so I did further research on this and I came across the book, Another Mzungu Passing Through by Jim Bowen, a teacher who had gone to Kenya to teach after some misdemeanour with a pupil in an English school.  He talked about how Kenya is mixed with Black, Asian and White population and how “it takes an age to be accepted by the families of the earliest white settlers”.

I also found out about the White African farmer, Michael Campbell, who had stood up to President Mugabe and fought for his right to remain in Zimbabwe as a white African and landowner. Another example is the white man, Guy Scott, who was recently elected vice president of Zambia.

Many have turned their nose up at these changes and are sceptical about the effectiveness of this integration. Mugabe had accused white Africans of stealing the fortune of the land and rendering black Zimbabweans poor. The popular side of immigration story we hear is of Africans leaving their home to greener pastures, mostly Europe and America. I remember when I arrived in London, the prevalent news at the time was how immigrants were stealing the locals’ job. The same way Americans are clamouring about Mexicans causing unemployment for citizens.

Though it can be argued otherwise, I realise that immigration is part of humanity and no law can take it away especially since these nuisances known as immigrants are an integral part of the economy and the initiators of a diverse and multicultural society.


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