“The reason why lions hunt successfully as a pride, is reason enough for Africans to unite.” – Thabiso Daniel Monkoe
Omg this post is like 2 days late – forgive me. I’ve been sooooo ill because aunt flow decided to really play with my hormones but I’m feeling better now. From now on I will at least post every Tuesday and Saturday. Hold me to that.
Also happy belated Africa day but I ain’t ever celebrating it until we learn to get along looool
Let’s Address the Assumptions
Before anyone tries any rubbish lol let’s get some things out the way. I am Congolese and Angolan. No I do not hate Nigerians I’ve just had bad dating experiences with them. So pulling up tweets when I’m referring to my experiences with Nigerian men will not go to prove this weird idea that I hate Nigerians because there’s a blog post that explains my previous relationship in detail. But also I personally have found it easier to date within my culture. However, I’m not ignorant to the fact that a massive percentage of black people within the UK are Nigerian and it’s more likely than not that I end up dating one – which I have no problem with. I lean towards the idea of panafricainism but I’m not completely sure about it because prior to the colonial encounter we were not one people to begin with anyways.
So approach this article with all that in mind.
Sigh – So What Happened?
A NIGERIAN made a snap post in which he mentioned Congolese people and a CONGOLESE girl simply asked for people’s opinions.
Now three things happened after this:
- People thought the post was written by her and started attacking her
- People were upset that she as a non-Nigerian posted the snap
- People actually engaged with her and had conversations with her that were either constructive or went left.
My take on the actual snap is that it was highly inaccurate for several reasons:
1) French is also a colonial language and in Congo we have our own issues with certain tribes not wanting to speak Lingala so they make their kids speak French because it’s “proper”. So the snap was misinformed. Most African countries have suffered the harsh consequences of the colonial encounter so rather than comparing two very different struggles, educate yourself on the differences first.
2) There were no specifics. Which Congolese people was the snap referring to? The fact that Lingala is widely amongst Congolese people spoken is mostly only true within the diaspora. But in Congo, although Lingala is like a universal language that connects most people (who would also have their own tribal language), many people also do not speak Lingala. There’s an estimated 500 – 700 languages spoken in Congo. Nigerians do not have a “connecting” language like Lingala so the comparison is just ridiculous because if you’re Igbo you obviously can’t speak to a Yoruba person in Igbo or learn Yoruba from them. It’s a lot more complex.
3) Which Nigerians was the snap referring to? 1st, 2nd or even 3rd gen Nigerians? There are definitely massive differences between each in relation to how culture has been adapted.
4) Which Nigerian have you met that isn’t proud to be Nigerian?! On which planet is a Nigerian not proud of their heritage. Not knowing your language ≠ lack of pride.
So overall, the actual snap itself was extremely reductive and misinformed. And yet, as always, I saw it an a learning opportunity. When I quoted the girl’s tweet and had a discussion with her, I saw it as an opportunity to point out why the comparison just wasn’t fair and that colonialism did a number on everyone.
My Take on the Situation
Personally, the girl did nothing wrong in asking except misjudging Twitter as a place to have meaningful discussions about the progressions of communities.
However, Nigerians were offended that a Congolese person asked for opinions…. which I’m struggling to understand. I think language, culture and heritage are very sensitive topics because it’s about who you are. But nothing rude or offensive was said until other people started commenting 🤦🏾♀️ Congolese people started to display their ignorance and started making statements about the Nigerian community which it just wasn’t their place to make. And then everyone started attacking the girl who dropped the snap in the first place… I’m pretty sure that if Congolese people were not mentioned in the snap, she wouldn’t have said anything. And when she proceeded to ask questions or try to find out basic things like “is pidgin just a form of English?” Rather than explaining the answer to her, people acted like she just should’ve known that it wasn’t. And yet if I ask a Nigerian some things about Congo they probably wouldn’t know too.
I have several issues with all of this:
1) Twitter isn’t the place to have these discussions
2) We need to find positive ways of educating people when they ask questions because people don’t actually know the answers.
3) Attacking someone for starting a dialogue on something that affects us all isn’t the way to show that you don’t want them speaking on it.
The most important thing here is that we all MUST take accountability for our ignorance. This really all wouldn’t matter if we lived separately and didn’t date or build friendships with each other. But the reality is that the next generation is going to be filled with children who are a blend of so many beautiful cultures with so many options of which languages to learn.
My nephew is Congolese, Angolan, Zimbabwean and Nigerian. It’s a whole different conversation when you have about 6 languages you could end up speaking. So rather than this being a battle between the two countries, this should’ve been an opportunity to educate each other. Having spoken to many Nigerian people online there’s a lot of misinformation or lack of information they have about Congo and vice versa with Congolese people. And yet… you’re all f*ckin…
The actual truth is that so much of the information that was shared on Monday are things that people just didn’t know about each other before. We honestly can’t keep being ignorant. You may say you don’t care now but if that is the case, you better date within your country and leave everyone else alone, lest you infect them with your ignorance.
Not everything is a competition. And when someone tells you about ignorance they’ve seen or experienced or when they tell you that your take on something regarding their culture is wrong – the logical step to take is to apologise then listen to the correction. But also when someone is seeking that knowledge this attitude of “this is our culture so it’s our business” is becoming futile since you’re all having babies together.
The amount of hate I saw towards Congolese people on Monday showed me how you really feel about us, so thanks for being yourselves. I was very close to denouncing the term African a couple years ago. I didn’t want to call myself African because I was struggling to find my position in the continent as a whole. I’ve experienced so much ignorance that it almost feels as though this shared idea of Africanness is just internet rubbish so I might as well just be Congolese and nothing more. My people aren’t loved or respected. But to depersonalise it – there’s just so much ignorance. Basic ignorance from tiny things like eating spicy food. If you knew anything about Africa you’d know that when you hit the southern sides, they don’t really like spice – does that make them white? I started to feel like I would rather just be Congolese than call myself African because some Africans had no clue what was happening beyond their own country and were really comfortable and happy about that. And fairs that’s their choice.
But when I call myself African – I say it with the pride of sharing the continent with so many people from so many tribes, with so many languages. That’s what being African means to me. Although I may be ignorant or unaware about some things rn, I aim to learn as a form of respect to my fellow Africans.
Happy (belated) Africa Day
What a joy it is to be African. To be from a continent so beautiful, shared by people so talented, hardworking and strong. I love you all and pray that one day we can actually be united and push forward the progress of Africa.
But, if Africa is to progress we MUST stop judging each other or competing with each other based on lines that were drawn as a result of colonisation. You’re fighting over borders which the white man made to ease his process of dismantling our continent. Are you serious? Sigh. There’s much to learn about each other and it’s honestly your choice to learn or not. But if we’re ever going to go anywhere we must support each other and understand the differences in our Postcolonial struggles.
I’m over this post already. I’m over this dumb war. It’s your choice to educate yourself on other cultures or not. But as for me personally – I want to learn more and more. I want to visit many African countries. I want to enjoy being African in its entirety.
African to the world and back ✨
Don’t be an idiot and stay blessed…
– knees ❤️