african · Diaspora · Sierra Leone

I Love My Africa

I am African.

I have never felt shame in saying that.

However, I have come across some African millennials who were either born, or are currently living in the diaspora, and they do not always feel the same.

I tend to hear stories about struggles of growing up in the West, from being called ‘African booty scratcher’ first of all what the heck does that even mean?!

Growing up wasn’t always easy for some of us because of the negative connotations, and the narrow mindedness from the First World.

Being in England for a few years, even at the age of 18 where you would anticipate that people would be a wee bit more educated I would still get asked about malls – if we had any, and if we did, were there any lions that would come in???

FAM!

Anyway… I have lived in Africa for most of my life and I am proud of that. I have gotten the opportunity to experience various cultures, languages and meet some really great people. I find it particularly interesting that yes, we are all Africans, however we speak different languages, eat different food and so on. However, even in those differences, there are a whole lot of similarities. Take for example, a local Kenyan delicacy like Ugali could be compared to Fufu in Sierra Leone, and even Banku in Ghana although, Ugali is a much heavier version.

We all make and wear various versions of Africana from Batik in Mali, to Kitenge in Kenya, Okulapa in Sierra Leone even!

Speaking of Africana, when I was younger growing up in East Africa, I could not stand to wear print or Africana material.

It sounds so bad, but when I was between the ages of 10-16 I legit associated Africana with old women. I always preferred to rock my jeans and top wherever I went, whatever the occasion.
I thought Africana was for old people, and rightfully so could not tell the difference between batik, print, okulapa… None of them! And that did not bother me at all.

Things have changed since then, and I don’t know if it’s an age thing, but my peers and I have definitely switched up. I’ve got a tailor who  I send different designs and pictures to when I want a new outfit. I’m always on Instagram looking for inspirations for fresh new designs to wear.

I also see creativity with Africana material being used as head wraps – which isn’t new, but what we are seeing now is fashion from our African culture with a modern twist.

Nowadays, everywhere you look, you see African inspired themes. From the Dashiki design making it into mainstream fashion, to African music playing in clubs in Bristol. It’s pretty cool to see Africa being embraced, especially in the West. Not only that, but Africans appreciating Africa as a whole as well. Kenyans jamming to Nigerian music, Ugandans living in and loving Sierra Leone. Even with weddings – Nigerians, Ghanaians, Sierra Leoneans…when we get married now, there tends to be two ceremonies, one white, and one traditional, with the traditional one incorporating our customs and culture. I think that that’s pretty darn cool.

Ultimately, we have to be proud of our heritage, and our culture. It’s what makes us who we are.

No matter where I may live, Sierra Leone is my home and that will never change.

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african · Funny · Sierra Leone

You Know You’re In Sierra Leone When…


So it’s Thursday, one more sleep before Friday, then THE WEEKEND!

I wanted to post something light and not too serious today.

Have a read, and if you have your own points to add, feel free to do so in the comment section below!

Enjoy!

  • Wifi is pronounced as “weefee”
  • Sam is not only a boy’s name, but also a way of referring to someone. Example – Ay Sam you bin watch da game yesterday?
  • Your name gets shortened whether you like it or not. Vanessa becomes “Van”. Sorry guys but I would appreciate it if you could call me by my actual name as I am not a mode of transportation. Thanks.
  • Wherever you go be it to the salon or an office, you get welcomed with “Anytin?”
  • “False life” is a phrase you hear all too often.
  • Again back to names! If you’re female you’re probably going to be referred to as “baby” or even “sissy oh” on more than one occasion.
  • You will definitely come across dem aunties at parties who start to pack away food into large foil trays to take home, even before everyone else has had a chance to serve.
  • “Tree” is what comes after the number two.
  • The H in Hamilton village tends to be silent.
  • Ordering a drink? Beer perhaps? The choice tends to be between going for “Normal Time” or “More Time”
  • Col res for breakfast is a lifestyle.

I love my Sierra Leone, no place like home!

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Photo Courtesy of Larry Tucker #RonniesPhotography

african · Personal · Travel

Travelling Alone in Your 20’s

I love to travel, the thing is… I hate flying.

I am petrified of take offs, landings, and everything in between. I am not entirely sure what brought this fear on, because when I was younger, I couldn’t get enough of it.

Is it because I’ve gotten older, and learnt more about the world, and how things work? Is fear learnt?

Anyway, maybe part of the problem is a majority of the time that I fly, I do so alone. However, thinking about it now, when I fly with mum, she has complained (a little too often) of her arms going numb…guess I hold on to her a bit too tight.

That aside, why do we tend to be hesitant when it comes to doing various activities alone? It can be as small as going to the cinema alone, to travelling alone.

I do think that I would be open to travelling and seeing the world alone. Doing something like that would definitely put me waaaay outside of my comfort zone, but what’s life without adventure?

Just imagine it, making your way through various countries, taking in majestic scenes, creating unforgettable memories.

When else in your life would you be able to thoroughly enjoy an experience such as this? At this stage in your life, you’ve probably just graduated from University, but are not sure if you want to go into a full -time job yet. Why not go travelling, see the world, and explore different cultures before settling down into your new “adult” life?

Here are a few reasons why travelling alone in your 20’s is super ideal:

  • I-N-D-E-P-E-N-D-E-N-C-E
    You can literally pack your things and go explore! Not trying to sound too cliché but honestly it is such a great way to find yourself. Discover your strengths, weaknesses, pick up new skills, learn a new language even!
  • Think of the stories you’ll have to tell?! Just like with your parents, you too can have some “back in my day…” tales to tell your kids.
  • If you are shy when meeting new people and striking up conversations (like me) this is a great way to practice your social skills. Drawing you outside your comfort zone, and socializing with different people from different cultures.
  • For some of you that could do with money management. This is a great opportunity to learn how to budget your money.

The world is a big place. I challenge you to see more of it!

african · Personal · Sierra Leone

Young West African Driver


For those of us who live in Africa, the legal driving age is 18, but it’s not unheard of to have friends using their parents’ car and taking off at 15/16.

My mum made it clear that no child of her’s will participate in underage driving, and just because I had friends that could drive in year 11 didn’t mean that I should be doing the same. I would have to wait until I was 18.

Well, I am 23 now and only getting the hang of it, despite having a driver’s license from Kenya, Ghana and now – Sierra Leone.

Let me explain.

I turned 18 in January 2012, and started my driving lessons just after my A levels in Kenya. A few months later, I completed said classes, and got my driver’s license. However, less than a month later we had to relocate to Ghana.

The thing is in Kenya, we drive on the left, whereas Ghana, it’s the right. No biggie I thought, I’ll just go through driving school again as a refresher and to gain confidence in driving on the other side of the road.

I didn’t get to do this until 2016! Because I moved to England for Uni a few months after we arrived in Ghana. In any case, I started my lessons in late January and by March I had passed my theory and practical exams. However, by July, we had moved back to Sierra Leone, which is where I am now. Taking my time to get the hang of things.

In Kenya, I had often heard “If you can drive in Kenya, you can drive anywhere”. This is because of one major reason –matatus aka poda podas aka tro tros aka mini vans. They go by different names in different countries, but one thing doesn’t change – they are a nuisance.

Having lived in Sierra Leone for just under a year, I now feel that if you can drive in Sierra Leone, you can drive anywhere. Not only do we have unruly drivers in poda podas, we also have pedestrians walking in the middle of the road (exhibit A Eastern-Kissy Road), okadas/boda bodas (motorbikes), keh kehs, as well as an odd stray dog running across the road from time to time.

I have been driving for a few months now and *TOUCH WOOD* I haven’t had any incidents with either of the above. So, I guess it’s safe to say I’m on my way to being an expert driver… I mean, before you know it, I’ll be driving with one hand, my seat pushed all the way back, cruising the streets of Freetown!

What age did you start to drive and what are some of your driving experiences? Let me know in the comment section below!

Photo Courtesy of Larry Tucker #Ronnie’sPhotography

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african · Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone – The Pictures You Don’t See

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What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear “Sierra Leone”?

Do you picture the pristine clear water and sandy white beaches at River Number 2? (I have a bucket list to visit all the beaches Sierra Leone has to offer, but this is my favourite one yet!)
What about the creativity and originality that is Big Market? Or how about the hidden gem Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary in the village of Regent?

Sierra Leone is a country with a whole lot of potential, with resources just waiting to be tapped into.

The youth recognize this, and are constantly rising up and taking chances to explore their talents, bringing light and recognition to their country in the process. They are achieving this by taking on “non-traditional” routes such as photography, fashion, and music just to name a few.

When you hear that young people are the future, and that the future of our nation is in our hands, it is so true!

For those of you who have never been to Sierra Leone, or those of you who are Sierra Leonean but don’t live here anymore and are missing home, enjoy the pictures below of the Sierra Leone you seldom hear about or see.

Pictures courtesy of Larry Tucker– @Ronnie’sPhotography

Enjoy!

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african · Funny · Personal

13 Experiences Of Being An African Child – Parents Edition

  1. Calling you from upstairs to pass phone/remote that’s 2 inches away from them.
  2. Showing them a joke and being lectured about it

 

  1. Showing them a funny tweet and being asked how you know that person

 

  1. Being told not to drink that particular juice/soda because it’s for guests

 

  1. Misbehaving when you were younger, being given THAT look and knowing exactly what it meant

 

  1. No such thing as sleepover. “You have your own bed”
  2. “In my days I was always number one in class”

 

  1. “In my days I used to walk to school”
  2. Buying school uniform that’s 3 sizes too big and being told you’ll grow into it.
  3. Ask a ‘silly’ question, don’t be shocked at the response.
    Me: Mum where should I put your phone?Mum: Put it on my head.

 

  1. Me: Mum can we eat out today
    Mum: There is rice at home
    Me: But I don’t want rice
    Mum: Then you are not hungry
  2. Going to restaurants/parks and there is a deal for children under 10. Guess what? No matter how old you are, that day…YOU ARE 10 YEARS OLD.
  3. Having guests come over, and being told to clean your room. But… they’re not coming.to.see.my.room???