Friday, February 12, 2010


What does it mean to be African?
An afro hairdo after college?
Leather sandals?
African print or african wear all the time?
Shopping at the art center?
Wearing "tourist shoes" like Kamau?
Having long braids so you look a little rasta?
Working in Africa?
Returning to Africa?
Knowing how to dance Kpanlogo?
Being able to speak an African language?
Being black?(Is Baek more or less African than Katakyie?)
What does it mean to be African and is it the same as being Pan-African?


  1. All I can think of right now is that, to be a true African, you just have to embrace your culture, and show it to some extent.

    On the other hand, maybe to be the "IDEAL" African, you have to embrace your culture wholeheartedly and show it to the greatest extent (speaking the language, wearing the clothes, knowing the music and dances...).
    I think we should note that there IS a difference between what we think is being African and what we think is being the IDEAL African. Because I know I call myself African (lol) but I'm not exactly fluent in Twi and neither do I wear 'mama' all the time. :D

    As far as I know, we who call ourselves 'African' do what I mentioned in my first statement, but to varying degrees.

    Oh yeah, and it isn't the same as being Pan-African. Like I said, maybe the ideal African might be Pan-African. However, there are African people existing who are not Pan-African. I don't even think Pan-Africanism is something that was already engrained in our cultures or exists as part of them now. I think being Pan-African is basically a quality you either show or you don't show.

  2. Hi,
    To answer the first question.... "What does it mean to be African?".. I think there are different ways to look at this... I mean the first thing that matters most is your nationality ( getting more technical)I mean despite the fact that Baek can speak twi etc and had mainly a ghanaian education ( shout outs to DZ toni) i doubt any of us have referred to Baek as African or Ghanaian for that matter.

    Anyway moving apart from physical features and a birth certificate what are the factors responsible for being able to identify someone as African. I mean i think its more than just the clothes and the hair-dos but they all come together to create this identity. Now this is where i will agree with Andrea that yes, in one way or the other the person must be involved or be knowledgeable about the things surrounding african culture. Now the extents to which we are a part of the culture could be used as a measure of how much of an African one is. But ofcourse if someone sees you and says you are african then there are a number of key things that the person used to assess whether or not you were truly african (including your shoutouts to Kat). And with clothes i mean just because i wear skinnies does not make me American (or wherever skinnies originated from). The point im trying to make is that there are a number of things that work together to create your identity as an African.

    The last thing i wanted to say was in relation to what Annette said when she came for one of the club meetings ; Africa, to each man is what he or she defines it as. And I remember her saying that to her African fashion food and rich culture was what Africa meant to her and what she loved most about being African. I honestly believe once you are African at heart no one can take that away from you and it forms part of your identity even though you may look exactly like Jet li.

    To answer the second question , i dont think pan africanism is the same as being african. I may be African but not necessarily hold the ideals and theory of pan sfricanism at heart. I think thats the simple answer to this question.

    Im sure others have other views so dont hesistate to blog.... =)

  3. To be African is be be proud of who you are.To be African is to be able to look at yourself in the mirror and smile and see the beauty that God has blessed us with. To be African is to be able to feel comfortable with black skin when all around you its the opposite.

  4. well said cynthia.
    I am racially only 'half' African (though I consider myself to be completely so). I think that there is not one correct answer to this question. However, being African must have a lot to do with loving your continent, and despite favouring your country, it is ideal that you support other African countries as well. Being African means that you embrace your culture and are proud to show it. Peronally, I consider someone to be an African when they always seek to be with Africans. If you shout from the rooftops that you are 'African', yet you constantly associate with people who are not African, it's like you clearly identify with those other people more, and it's hard for me to find that connection with you. Being African or knowing that someone is African has a lot to do with how you feel, and less to do with some sort of checklist.

  5. i frankly don't know what it means just as i don't know what it means to be European or American. I think these are just 'fantasies' we have imposed on humanity!!!