Flies, AIDS, dirty water, plastic bottle slippers, Ebola, stray dogs, barbarians, and bloated belly butt-naked kids – a very stereotypical representation of Africa, my motherland. Prior to the year 2014, the last (not the 1st) time I had stepped foot in the motherland was back in 2006 (or 07, I think…) During my visit I was merely a preteen, still not ‘grown’ enough to have my own seat on the ‘trotro’ and having to sit on Aunt Teresa’s lap to free one seat for 4 uncles (don’t ask how it works… it just does).
I also wasn’t ‘grown’ enough to identify the massive fucking thing my cousin put in my hands after slaughtering a bull for supper, and had me run across the whole house with it (bodily fluids seeping between my fingers and all) looking for Cousin Antonia for the answer – only for her to giggle and say that it was testicles (facepalm). Oh, and I will get you back for that Kofi… I will. Trust. I also wasn’t ‘grown’ enough to truly appreciate the beauty of the land let alone cherish it as well as I should’ve or could’ve. To be more specific: I am from West Africa, Ghana. No, I was not born there – I was actually born and raised in the London, UK by Ghanaian parents. But I don’t feel right calling myself just ‘British’. I can call myself ‘Ghanaian’, but not ‘British’ – the most I can say it ‘British Ghanaian’ and that’s about it. But that goes into a whole other topic that I may/may not discuss in future on another blog post.
But anyway – Although I had been to Ghana already and had a good time, the month or 2 spent there was no match for the approx. 8 years spent back in the UK bombarded with images of sad hungry children and the yearly anthems of ‘Heal the World’ during Christmas. My happy memories of Ghana were fading, and I could not fight back the negative images portraying my homeland from bastards people who knew nothing about it. Why was this? Maybe because I hadn’t been going there often? I tried with my might to retain the little memory I had, insisting that it wasn’t like that.
I then became angry with myself just sitting around, allowing myself to be silenced and painted over by the retarded ill-informed media. Don’t get me wrong. Yes, there is poverty, disease and corruption here. But tell me, where on the planet does such tragedies cease to exist? Is the USA exempt from corruption? Is everyone in the UK clattering golden rimmed tea cups in the Ritz, eating scrumptious scones and having a good time? … No? Well then.
The amount of homeless ‘blokes’ I see chilling around Goodge street station alone is a joke and let’s not act like the political stance of any country is bloody perfect. But discussing the UK, you don’t see these things being amplified through the media. Why? Because it is not used to define them. Why? Because there is more to the UK than that. There is the York Minister, London Eye, Warwick Castle, Big Ben etc.
Of course, that’s not to promote the over-shadowing of the serious issues at hand, but it is just as important to give the full picture and I feel that Africa as a CONTINENT has not been allowed such opportunity. So why let it (the negativity) define us? Not even a country but the whole bloody continent? Why?
I remember having a conversation with my friend, fantasizing about having real holidays. Like none of that ‘city break’ shit stuff – like real holidays: we’re talkin’ clear water, sand, palm trees, and shit (I had to leave that one there. It felt right… in my heart.). The convo went something like this: Friend: Hmm, I guess we’ll just have to go to the Caribbean. Me: Ah, well lucky for me I’m from Ghana, so I can just go back – thus, free accommodation because family lives there. ^_^ Friend: Ghana? Isn’t that in Africa? What is there to do there? Due to this being a read, you can’t really hear his intonation and the way he delivered the line. He didn’t ask it with curiosity as in: Ohh! Never actually considered Ghana, sounds cool – what can I do once I get there? He was more: Wtf… That’s Africa right? Isn’t there nothing but sand and dry shit? Ladies and gentlemen – that was my final straw. “I SHOULD POP YOUR DAMN CAP YOU SON OF A GUN” << I said nothing inappropriate but rather held my tongue and came to the realization that some will never even bother to search for answers, some will never go beyond the TV screen and the ideas thrust upon them by the media. No I am not okay with that but meh, I can’t spoon feed everyone. If you really had concern you would search for yourself. But the fact that loads of people bullshit and speak on a place they know nothing about – is what gets to me. Simply put, if you have never stepped foot on my land – don’t talk on it. The most you can do is speculate but don’t ever think for a second that you can give a solid account on something unless you have experience it yourself. – Africa has amazing countries! And there is so much to see and do. Trust me, as someone who has gone there themselves and plans to go and explore more countries – it is an experience not to be missed! And NO: going to Tanzania for 1 week+ on a volunteering expedition feeding children in a village does not count. Don’t think that’s your token to speak, because it isn’t. Neither does visiting super posh very much typical westernized-esque resort trip to Egypt, Tunisia and Morocco. – Yes, I said it.
PHEW! Didn’t mean for that to turn into a rant but I had to speak my mind in this space of mine. Now back to the main point: I had randomly started reminiscing my trip to Ghana last year 2014 and thought I would share a few snaps I have with you. My family and I were invited to an Aunt’s wedding anniversary so most of my cam memory had been clogged up with it and I also had to make some sacrifices in order to make more space. So I shall post up a few highlights that I have managed to keep:
(The following images are owned by me as I took them on my camera)
As much as I would love to show lovely family photos and events, I don’t think it’s a good idea to put my family on blast like that. So maybe another time. I’m hoping to go back again soon, hopefully then I will take a load more pictures for you guys. 🙂
And with that I’ll love to end on a simple message of: Travel, have fun and explore. (Most important: Stay safe!)
Question: Have you guys had something/somewhere of yours depicted in a similar way? If so, do tell of your experiences.
Thanks for taking the time to read this post.
I shall be back with more info on my next upcoming trip 😛
- Susan Blaustein, Victoria Okoye, (2010), Accra_Victoria_Trotro_PeopleAlight -300 [ONLINE]. Available at:http://blogs.ei.columbia.edu/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/Accra_Victoria_Trotro_PeopleAlight-300.jpg[Accessed 08 July 15].
- Map Pictures, (2011), africa-map [ONLINE]. Available at: http://www.wpmap.org/ghana-map-africa/[Accessed 08 July 15]
- Danielle, (Unknown), Afternoon Tea at The Ritz [ONLINE]. Available at: http://1000things-london.com/57-tea-at-the-ritz/ [Accessed 08 July 15]
- pixshark, (1800), Yes it is the capital [ONLINE]. Available at: http://pixshark.com/london-big-ben-at-night-tumblr.htm [Accessed 08 July 15].