We’ll Travel Across The World To Bali, But Won't Consider Traveling Home To Africa
Pemba Island, Tanzania (Source:@planetxancarapembaisl
"The so-called dark continent is bursting full of beautiful colors, and pristine beaches
I’ve traveled to Uganda for nearly 25 years, and for all the white, smiling faces I see on the plane, and enjoying themselves in the country, I can’t remember ever meeting an African-American on my journeys. As an avid traveler living in the “golden age” of #BlackTravel, I often ask myself, “Why don't more African-Americans travel to Africa?” I’m convinced the media and education system brainwash people with their negative narratives about Africa, and we need to unite versus arguing in these divisive times.
Mercedez-Benz Fashion Week South Africa (Source: Suitcase Magazine)
"Fashion week doesn't only happen in NYC, Paris, and Milan."
Contrary to popular belief, Africa is more than the war-torn, disease-infested continent portrayed in the media. And, while the western world deals with ageing populations, and less than impressive growth, in contrast, Africa boasts the youngest population in the world, an abundance of natural resources, and blossoming fashion, art, and creative scenes around the continent. So, what gives? And, what's it going to take for more African-Americans to take an interest in the land of their origin? Celebrities, public figures, and even our beloved hip-hop culture have positively highlighted Africa to the masses. But, where Nas, Jay-Z, and more recently Cyhi the Prynce can inspire a generation to crave a lifestyle of sneakers, cars, and clothes, it hasn’t had the same effect on African-Americans taking an interest in Africa.
Afriart Gallery, Kampala, Uganda (Source: Afriart Gallery)
"Contemporary African art is HOT, and is allowing African artists to share their interpretations of Africa with the world."
The media plays a major role in shaping our perceptions, and is public enemy number one for its negative depiction of Africa as a continent. While politicians today can quickly label unwanted publicity as “fake news,” Mama Africa doesn't share the same liberty. Regardless of the positive stories of entrepreneurship, creativity, and innovation widespread within the continent, we are constantly force-fed images of famine, disease, and war.
"Cities containing all the amenities you'd find in Western society can be found throughout the continent."
Additionally, Western educational systems are the other culprit harming Africa’s image. As a child, I remember school lessons on Africa largely focusing on slavery, the movie Roots, and then transitioning to the civil rights movement. Often absent from the dialogue were conversations about great African civilisations, and their important contributions to the world.
A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin, and culture is like a tree without roots.
I feel blessed to know the origin of my roots, and also know the great accomplishments of my ancestors. I’ve witnessed the power of Black Twitter and black culture in general, and often wonder how strong the black community could be if it knew the truth about the royalty in its DNA.
The conqueror writes history, they came, they conquered and they write. You don’t expect the people who came to invade us to tell us the truth about us.
Therefore, we’ve created our #SocietyShift series where we’ll attempt to collectively shift the narrative by engaging in constructive dialogue around several themes--the first being “Why Don’t More African-Americans Travel to Africa?” What boundaries and misconceptions are holding you back? What would make traveling to Africa more appealing or feasible for you?
We’d love to hear your views. Tweet us @colorwheelmedia or email audio/visual files to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
As a community we can shift the narrative, but the change must start with us.