Africa: What Being African Means to allAfrica

25 May 2018

Cape Town — In 1960, 17 countries gained independence from European colonisers, and to mark their liberation, several states began celebrating African Liberation Day. Now Africa Day is widely commemorated among the continent's 53 countries and beyond, but is sadly only a national holiday in a handful. Every day AllAfrica's team sees the stories that reveal the joy and sadness ... thanks to our own journalism and partner-publishers from across the continent. Sharing Africa with the world is our job, but our investment goes much further than that. Nairobi, Cape Town, Dakar, Addis, Abuja and Johannesburg - this is where most of us live.

I have never considered the question why am I proud to be African. But as I look around, I see the natural beauty of Africa is unmatched. The diversity, the food, the wildlife and the scenic mountains and oceans. We take pride in our culture. We take pride in who we are. We love to sing and dance and toyi-toyi when we get the chance. It doesn't matter where you are in Africa, you will feel a sense of belonging. Africa is one place that welcomes you no matter who you are. Lastly, we made the world believe there is a Wakanda in Africa.  Now you know why I love Africa. - Melody Chironda

My love for Africa is a result of myriad reasons primarily the vibrant African music, culture, arts and crafts, being born here not withstanding. Everywhere you go you can't miss to hear African music filling the airwaves - a testimony of how many adore the music. I can't get enough of it, even from the vast collection I stock. The arts and crafts, which is as a result of creativity of the locals features in our homes, decorates our hotels... all flows with a similar theme connecting our essence with the nature which they feature. African culture, where each is concerned with others to the point that you cannot pass a person without getting to know how they are doing, makes me proud of Africa. Long live the African Spirit. - Kimani Samuel

What do I love about being African? My skin. There isn't a colour on this good Earth that I can't wear the crap out of...
Being of mixed heritage, I'm proud to specifically count myself among the descendants of the first people of Southern Africa, the Khoisan (indigenous foragers or pastoralists in the region). My favourite thing about being "mixed" is that people struggle to identify where I fit in; more so outside of South Africa. "You could be from anywhere!": I get that quite often. Yes, it's annoying, but I hope it makes people think about the stereotypes and the boxes we get placed in because we're from this continent.
And it's just more confirmation that being African isn't just one thing. It's not just your accent, that particular shade of your skin, your style, your body, or your hair... it is in you. - Juanita Williams

To be proud of where I come from, knowing my heritage, having that foundation of my background. To be true to my own nature which is my history, my own beginning, to love and having respect for others around me regardless of their culture, beliefs, gender or skin colour. And best  of all to live in a continent rich in culture. - Luyanda Qeqe

Hello Africa Tell Me How You're Doing!
It's Africa Day and its the first time I've ever really given thought to what makes me proud of being African or, for that matter, if I am indeed proud of being African.
I think that for many years I haven't been proud when I looked at all the pain and suffering around the continent and the conflict that has torn nations apart. I think I felt bitter, disillusioned and disheartened that we were always looked down upon as a charity case.
However since working in an environment where we focus on the continent, despite the wars and conflicts, and disease and famine, I've come to realise that there is still hope.
For the continent as a whole, I've grown in hope that it will overcome hardship and strife, particularly with intra-trade agreements that can bring nations together - all 53 working together to grow and benefit each other for a change rather than rely on the West to throw a lifeline our way. I remember the saying, "Give a Man a fish and profits but a single dish, Teach him the art of rod and reel and he'll never lack a hearty meal". We need to grow our tourism - Africa for Africans - we need to make it feasible for all Africans to enjoy and appreciate the beauty that the continent has to offer.
I am more hopeful that things will turn around in my country South Africa with our new president at the helm. I admit that I still grapple with the effects of the Apartheid past and its remnants. Sometimes I need to make a conscious decision that I will not be bitter or sad or be filled with rage or hate. It's a pretty hard thing to do when racial slurs, attitudes and verbal and sometimes physical clashes between different races are the order of the day, and when one feels that the government didn't do enough to make it better!
What I would like to see is that Africans, particularly South Africans, love their neighbour - sometimes its pretty hard to do - but if we can love one another and respect one another, live with integrity and have a regard for human life we would be great.
How do I feel as an African? Still not sure but I do know that we are overcomers and that we are fighters. I believe that things will turn around for the continent eventually and we will all be able live in peace and harmony with one another. - Esther Rose

I think Africa is the most beautiful continent to be born in. Despite the challenges we face our beautiful landscape makes for good living. Watching the beautiful sunrise and the most spectacular sunset is priceless. Our cultures are beautiful, especially our attire. To really experience this one could imagine an African cultural festival, the food, the dresses pulls millions of tourists from other parts of the world to the continent every year. To cap it all, the weather is very balanced - not too cold like in other parts of the world. Tourists come from all parts of the world and spends millions to experience what I experience everyday for free. I'm blessed ain't I? - Michael Tantoh

For me being African and living in Africa means I can be myself and not be apologetic about how I look. I am proud to live in a continent so diverse where different cultures, races, religions and languages are celebrated. I am proud that I can speak 4 African languages. I think as Africans we are very resilient. We come from a history of pain but we continue to prove to the world that we are not defined by our past. I love that we are vibrant and have so much humility, we believe in uplifting each other, My favourite saying is "Umuntu ngumuntu ngabantu" which means that a person is a person through other people. I believe the spirit of Ubuntu lives only in Africa. Happy Africa Day! - Nontobeko Mlambo

Being African means being part of a shared history of struggle, like living in a tourist hot-spot but never going where the foreigners do because you can't afford it or don't have the means of travelling there. It's also about having a smartphone with more features than data or airtime. It's about having the same president as your grandparents and being able to badmouth your continent on your own terms, because Europeans already had a few hundred years of having things their way here. And lastly, come World Cup time, it's about wearing your African country's flag with pride... Unless they didn't qualify, in which case you declare yourself an honorary Nigerian, Egyptian, Senegalese, etc. - Andre van Wyk

Being born in a continent so rich in diversity has always made me proud. Everything here is diverse - the cultures, the races, the food, the languages... you name it. All the other other continents are beautiful but I can't imagine being born elsewhere really.
Despite all its "darkness" Africa is beautiful. We've been labelled a dark continent by the colonisers because they want to take away our pride about this continent, yet they have for centuries been sneaking in to steal our precious minerals, people, animals, land and all the other beautiful things you can think of, because they think we are uncivilised and undeserving.
The warmth of the people of Africa exceeds the warmth of people from elsewhere. It has been instilled in us to treat other people with dignity and kindness despite their size, their colour, their background. I can't imagine people from any other continent being warmer than the people from this continent. - Sethi Ncube

For a long time, growing up, I thought I was "English". My mother's parents came out to South Africa in the 1930s, but family traditions remained stubbornly British. Then I went to visit that British family in my early 20s and discovered that I was not English at all. Everything was mysteriously quiet and hard to decode. So if I was not English, what was I? Implacably South African - direct and loud, warm and pragmatic. And if I am South African then I am also African even though it is much harder to figure out what that might mean. But I smell the rain and hear the doves in the trees and know that I am home. - Renee Moodie

Being African means to accept that you will be misunderstood by the rest of the world and that's fine. It's to know just the mention of the name Africa brings to most minds sickness, disease, poverty, slavery and colonialism. But knowing the story that the world is hearing and telling about Africa is not a story that represents me, I wake up everyday with the endless hope that I feel for the future because the African continent is buzzing with potential. - Jerry Chifamba

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