African diasporas give their reflective views on their first time going back to the motherland and what lessons it taught them.
SSOZINHA asked people on Twitter to respond to the below tweet with their views on what it was like to travel back to their home.
To my delight, loads of people joined in on the discussion and shared what it was like for them when they first touched African soil. Every answer has been put together and labelled them by country to create this post which is titled #BackHomeDiaries.
So, whether you want to see if anyone is from the same country that you are from and has had the same experiences, or if you haven't been yet and want to get an idea of what to expect. Or, you could just want to see the views of over 50 tweeters on their experience back home.
In total we had over 100 responses on this tweet, all from African diasporass who live in the the west [UK, Europe and America's], originating from all over the African continent. Their @ names are included, just incase you know anyone or want to connect with them based on what they have shared.
@Hey_Hels: "Best Fanta is in Africa"
@TrippyTrinss: "I'm not going to lie, I enjoyed my time in my father's village & stuff. The islands are fun and that, but you learn so much in the rural parts of Nigeria. The food is waaay better & its more entertaining. There is a sense of community there, no one thought they were better than anyone else apart from when it came time to have a bath or use the toilet [lol] but the experience was really enjoyable".
@twtvs22: "Can't fit it in 240 characters, but after visiting Nigeria for the first time at age 10, I realised I wasn't as Nigerian as I thought I was, because people were differentiating me as "omo britico" [British Person]".
@FolaMuziq: "Nothing, I went back with £4K and lived a fantasy lifestyle for two weeks".
@thegathering89: "I lived in Nigeria for two years going back taught me you can literally condition yourself to live anywhere without constant electricity. It isn't that bad, being around immediate family is everything".
@fabfaidat: "1. I didn't feel the need to tone down my behaviour nor reiterate the pronunciation of my name. 2. I had a mild identity crisis. Ibadan taught me that I'm not as fluent in Yoruba as I thought. 3. Going back showed me the true definition of absolute and relative poverty".
@ImaniDH: "I went back in Dec after 11 years and I haven't been the same person since. It was so good".
@SosoMunaChi: "I was a kid but my siblings said it put into context everything that we do culturally. They also felt that the context now made them feel connected to being Igbo, whereas before they stated it as just a fact".
@_CherMyWorld: "The thing that always sticks out to me is the sense of togetherness and family. Always helping each other out. Also making a way out of no way. Lastly just being happy with what we have".
@mmeuraa: "Ethiopia makes me feel at home. The second I step out of the plane I just get this feeling of being completely accepted and welcomed which makes me really happy. Visiting really showed me how different living over there is from here and it made me love the culture even more. People over there are way more open, I don't really have many Ethiopians around me, so its good to be with people from my country".
@Bersiye: "Getting your strength from your community is much better than getting it from yourself sometimes, I learn that every time I'm in Ethiopia".
@MiskeenCentral: "A rush of Euphoria, belonging and home I didn't even know I was missing".
@mahayesuf: "A sense of belonging. All the confusion I had about my identity were answered. I felt at home mentality. All in all, it was a beautiful experience. My dream is to able to visit every year. I moved to the USA when I was 12, so 11 years ago. I've visited Ethiopia twice now".
@SerwaahAkoto: "Lived in Ghana for 6 years and visit regularly. There is a lot of talent and potential but many lack the resources. It's very much who you know in most areas that will get you ahead rather than merit".
@PodierEden: "My most recent trip to Ghana showed me that no matter where you were born or grew up. Home [your origin] is really where the heart is. I have never been so happy, comfortable and at peace than during the week I spent there".
@oheamaa: "Going back home to Ghana taught me that there's so much more peace at home".
@Anneok_: "It taught me to be grateful in life. When I went back home for the first time I saw good/bad things. I wasn't used to seeing kids younger than me hawking in the heat. The corruption is also very mad! Also realised that you're either rich or poor no in between".
@LadsForShort: "Ghana showed me that people are still so happy and positive about life eve through struggles and having far less than what I have here. We take things for granted in the UK".
@Kwaku_junior: "Returning to Accra in 2016, after 11 years and hearing amazing experiences of it being "lit, live" etc... I felt proud to be back but underwhelmed at the same time as I expected so much more after 11 years+. I realised that the review I was told was from a privileged standpoint".
@Amachinaa: "We honestly don't have a better quality of life as compared to out there. With a few tweaks, Ghana is perfect. Also as soon as I land there I feel automatic peace".
@N_FROMTHE9: "When I was 6 my siblings and I were sent to Ghana... I always tell people it was the best 3-4 years of my life! I don't even wanna imagine what kind of person I'd be if I never went. I learnt so much and observed a lot, we were always happy even in the village".
@elmagister: "Touching Ghana I just instantly felt at peace. It was sensational".
@DSBAma: "I was 13 when I went to Ghana for the first time, and it changed my whole outlook on life. I didn't understand why the standard of living was SO different and my first reaction to it was "I must do something to help change this". From that visit I knew I wanted to contribute to its development. I became even more patriotic, I loved that everyone looked like me and I understood the language. I fell in love with it then and fell deeper with every visit".
@kwamxna: "Went to Ghana in 2018 after not going back for 6 years and immediately felt at home. I had a different level of peace that i can never get from London".
@LadsForShort: "Ghana showed me that people are still happy and positive about life even through the struggles of having far less than what I have here. We take things for granted in the UK".
@curtzdicko: " I remember saying to my brother these man ain't even got half of what we have and they wake up and smile! All I know is the value of going back home put in on what life really is. I thank my grandma and my mum and dad, they did really well to ship me! Plus I know more about my culture and dialect!".
@Niitweeted: "Don't remember my first trip but I remember going in 2002/3 and feeling this weird duality, I felt more comfortable. The weather suited me and especially in the village [Angola] but in Accra one or two people went out of their way to let me know that to them I was British".
@JxcinaLamina_: "First time I went to Angola, it made me appreciate life a lot more. Seeing how carefree everyone is, despite their struggle. There isn't a moment when Angolans aren't throwing a party or just enjoying life. Going back home allows me to reset and pushes me to be more creative. Speaking to the locals seeing how they have their own individual talents but don't have the opportunities to pursue them. Every time I go to Angola I think of how I can close the gap and contribute to creating more opportunities? Reall inspires me to take all my crafts seriously".
@myselfbrans: "I had tears in my eyes the moment I set food in Kin, the feeling was beyond me. I learnt to appreciate life and that people are still happy without the use of phones and technology".
@callmemicah7: "Peace of mind and business. So many opportunities back home, diasporas are scared of going home for no reason. Last year was my fourth year and there's more Chinese in certain areas than Congolese diasporas. You really have to be there for at least a month to fully understand your country, walk around and see whats going on".
@billiesha: "I went to Congo in 2017... seeing children walk about by themselves in the dark with ripped clothes and no homes to go to was heartbreaking. We see it on TV, but in real life it hits you 100x more".
@leahloms: "The first time I went to Congo was just magnificent. I got to explore where my mum used to live, her primary school etc. But what made me adore the country more was the fact even when people were struggling with money or food, they were all just so grateful".
@Anye_emmanuella: "I went back to Ghana for the 2nd time after 10 years, when I first touched down I felt at home. The weather was perfect, I spoke the same language, we all looked the same, I didn't feel different. It also made me realise how stressed and busy over here [Canada]".
@eyram_k: "First time I went to Congo I was like 9/10 and I loved it! Couldn't believe I was from such a beautiful country and the people are so happy and grateful, the way of life is so free and laid back. I definitely learnt that people have different priorities".
@conamorgloria: "I really think it's necessary for people in the diaspora to critically reflect on how we can have colonial saviour mentalities regarding people on the continent, their lived experiences and going back home".
@monicalkxx: "First time I went to Congo was last year October and I loved it! Seeing how carefree everyone is, despite their struggle. the food was so nice especially ntaba".
@sophiekanza: "Felt home. Like I belong".
@lo_hussle: "First real time in DRC, spent 3 weeks there. After some adaptation it was the best feeling ever to feel like being at home surrounded by uncles, aunties and grandmother. Strangely enough that was like understanding and discovering something something inside of me that was missing, it hard to explain actually".
@thengmi: "The only thing that was the same are relationships I had before I left. Slight nerves of seeing my cousins because I wondered if they thought I had changed, but apparently I'm still the same and that validation felt good. Maybe it is because of how family oriented my family is and the fact that I'd grown up closely with so many aunties, uncles and cousins - how they saw me was important to me".
@Tiniwana: " The classism and how religious the country is as a whole struck me. I remember walking through Harare and counting every church I came across in shock. But, I miss the sense of belonging as I never got that in the UK. I cried when I had to come back here to the UK".
@mazvitagerry: "To be humble and also learning your native language is important".
@LadyBlxsm: "Thank God I grew up here because life is so easy but ah I wish I had that community. Everyone in my village knows everyone and here it's just isolated".
@Dohnji: " I went to Cameroon 8 years ago, it was the most humbling experience ever! Especially seeing the children hustle, that's what impacted me differently. I've been meaning to return for years to be around the plug of what makes us black. I can only describe 10% of what I was going through".
@_ItsJustInes_: "I last went to Rwanda 2 years ago and I faced culture shock because so many new places had been built and so many new things were happening. I hadn't seen anybody for long so I was confused but impressed with the growth. For the first week I just quietly stared at everything".
@BenEdsyGodard: "Going back to Congo from India for the 5th time, after nearly 8 years abroad and each time I landed it always felt different. The poverty, the struggles and the unemployment, nothing changed since then...".
@KolaBoof3: Going back to Africa as an adult just confirmed for me that MY REGION [North Africa] is pure hell. It's The Satan's Chair and unlivable unless you submit to a rigorous mental slavery".
@MiskeenCentral: "A rush of Euphoria, belonging and home I didn't even know I was missing".
I hope you enjoyed this post, hopefully we can do a part 2! Thank you to those who responded to the tweet with their views, reading these experiences was really enjoyable and insightful for me so I hope you guys feel the same about reading it.