Africans and African Americans: The Split

By Annie Wambita, Guest Writer

Let us discuss the big elephant in the room: Black Panther. Have you watched it? I have, three times! Spoiler alert: when the General pulls out her sword ready to slay the love of her life for the sake of Wakanda, you cannot help but gasp in awe for a people who are ready to do whatever it takes to protect their heritage and culture. Go watch it!

Courtesy of Annie Wambita

Isn’t it time we had the discussion: being an African in America vs being an African American. Growing up in Kenya, I did not have the luxury of understanding the importance of Black History Month in America. Being the nosy T-bird that I am, I embarked on a journey to shine some brilliance on my ignorance. Who are these children of my ancestors? My interest was sparked after I visited the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Park in Atlanta. Why was this man not in my books when I was growing up? I am still upset with my history teacher – I had heard of him, but I did not know of him. There’s a big difference. His charm, resilience, eloquence, wit, intellect and of course Ubuntu. The letters he wrote detail the civil rights struggle and how only peace and love can drive out hatred. One letter made me teary eyed. It was a letter Dr. King wrote responding to Tom Mboya, one of Kenya’s founding fathers. He wrote “So our struggles are not only similar; they are in a real sense one.” This man was ahead of his time!

Courtesy of Annie Wambita

We are truly more similar than we are different. Nappy hair struggles, mmm… some good soul cooking at grandma’s house, spankings by our mothers in public (don’t act like you don’t know what I am talking about). The code of brotherhood and the list is endless. We are constantly looking for differences in each other instead of what unites us – dear brother, dear sister, there’s no split! I am fortunate to be in an environment that has opened my eyes to accepting beauty in diversity – Thunderbird! Oh, my Thunderbird.

Moral of the story – I celebrate you, not because of your skin colour but because you have lived to prove that humanity beats all odds. Salute!

I would like to thank Dray Williams (MAGAM ’19), Shay Woods (MAGAM ’19), Chanel McFollins (MAGAM ’19), Joanne Marime (MGM ’18), Aireen Kinyanguli (MAGAM ’19), Madit Yel (MAGAM ’19), Lemmy Gitahi (MGM ’18), Ms. Angelique, and Dr. B for sharing part of your history, culture and beauty with me this Black History Month and all months to come.

Regards,

Just another T-bird living comfortably in uncomfortable situations, Annie Wambita (MGM ’18)

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