In the last two years, there has been an increase in the number of black people across the world visiting an African country, some of them relocating permanently, and much more thinking of visiting the continent in the future. For many years, Africa has had a reputation for being a poor, underdeveloped, war-torn place that people, especially people of African descent do not want to go to, thanks to western media.
However, the year 2020 was a pivotal year in changing that narrative significantly. I believe some of these factors were responsible; The covid situation that made people stay home and surf the net more and learn about things going on across the globe, the George Floyd incident that shed more light on the menace of racism and inequality amongst races, the increase in African solo content creators changing the narrative about Africa by shedding light on the beauty of the African continent, and the beautiful lifestyle, culture, landscape and, natural resources of African countries that most people were not used to seeing about Africa on social media platforms, at a time when everybody was literally on social media almost all the time.
I personally believe that all these occurrences together played a part in making people of African descent across the world Unlearn what they thought they knew about Africa and relearn what Africa really was and what that meant to them being of African descent. Many black people have decided to find their African origin and make their home in Africa.
African countries on their part have made effort to welcome their cousins. Countries like Ghana have been welcoming black repats long before now. In 2019, they organized a major event to welcome all and every person of African descent in the west back home. It was termed the year of Return. Some African Americans were granted citizenship. Countries like Serialeonne are currently organizing ceremonial events for people of African descent and they grant citizenship to attendees.
Sub-Saharan African countries recognize that many Africans were scattered across the globe during the slavery era and are welcoming and open to black repats who have decided to return home be it for a short visit, vacation, or to relocate.
Now, let me tell you 16 things that most black diasporans say they love about Africa;
1. It feels empowering being in a place where everyone else looks like you
If you are coming to a country in sub-Saharan Africa as a black person for the first time you will notice how empowering and motivating it is to see that most people look like you.
Everything is run by black people; the leadership of the country, the corporate organizations, the institutions, the schools, the hospitals, local businesses, and all the resources are run and managed by black people. It is psychologically liberating to see that you are not a minority.
2. Racism is not a thing that exists in Africa
Racism is a term that is foreign to most Africans. The recent George Floyd incident that sparked a global outrage across the world, however, might have brought this to their awareness even more. Most Africans are ignorant about the issue of racism across the world because they are not exposed to it until they leave Africa for the West
Race cannot be such a big deal in most African countries because everyone is of the same colour. The challenges you will face living in Africa will never be about the colour of your skin.
3. Black Expats feel connected to the land, the people, and the culture
Black returnees feel connected to the people and culture and find similarities between African cultures and theirs because they are cousins, their ancestors came from Africa and indeed the cultures passed down to them from their forefathers were the ones from Africa.
The American soul food, which is a black American cultural food has so many similarities with some west-African foods. Certain traditions and even languages in the Caribbeans and parts of Brazil are also very similar to the ones practiced in some parts of Africa. Particularly in western Africa.
Most black repats say they see Africans who look and act like one of their relatives back home in the west. They also have similarities in food, culture, and mannerisms. They have said they feel like a long-lost brother who has returned home. Many locals refer to them as brothers or sisters and welcome them home with open arms.
4. Expats say they have equal if not better opportunities for growth in Africa
Truth is, there are a lot of things to be done in most sub-Saharan African countries because it is still developing and have a lot of room for economic growth. It still remains a fertile ground with a lot of sectors yet untapped for adding value and solving problems.
Other races realize this and are moving to Africa to invest and get things done. They have the financial resources and knowledge needed to provide solutions to some of Africa’s problems and they are taking action.
There are several businesses owned by foreigners in Africa and there will be many more to come. Black ex-pats have an opportunity that most locals don’t have; access to an international market, foreign currency, ideas on new products and services that are lacking in the country they have relocated to, the untapped huge African market for their products or services, and knowledge on how to do things better and offer value to people.
It’s a level playing field because there is no purposeful intent to segregate anyone out of opportunities. If you have the technical skills, finances, and know-how, Africa wants your input irrespective of your race.
5. Black ex-pats say they are Respected
They are seen, valued, and respected for who they are and not for the colour of their skin.
6. They are not the minority
Because black people are not a minority in Africa everything is centered around their overall well-being. The issue of marginalization or redlining regarding people of a certain race is non-existent.
7. Their input and contributions are valued
They say that their skills, values, and contribution, if significant, will be recognized, valued, and appreciated.
8. A sense of community and belonging
Africans have a culture of being communal, everyone is from a community and identifies themselves by their community or tribe. The belief is that we need to build together, support, and look out for each other. Hence the popular African proverb ” it takes a village to raise a child”.
9. There is a sense of self-respect and self-confidence
Africans walk with an air of confidence and respect, and that is common amongst men, women, boys, girls, rich or poor. They are confident and comfortable because they are in their natural habitat. Everyone understands their role in the family and in society, and they play their roles accordingly. The Men in the society regard themselves with respect, are willing to build friendships amongst each other, and are no threats to one another. Same with the women.
10. Africa is a bit more relaxed and laidback
Have you heard the term “African time”? This is a term that summarises the laid-back nature of most Africans. They are almost never in a hurry and take their time to do things as though time waits for them. Of course, this can be counterproductive, especially in a planned and fast-paced environment, but the mindset behind this habit is to do things at their pace and not under duress.
11. You can plan, develop, and grow generational wealth in Africa
Many Africans have hectares of land left for them by their fathers and grandfathers. Today, those lands are assets worth millions in value. They have so many options for what to do with their lands; They could farm on it, build properties for rent on it, and or sell the land.
In today’s world, real estate and land are major determinants of wealth. Africa has a lot of lands that can be used to build generational wealth. A lot of Black ex-pats returning back to Africa, or looking to return in the future are buying up lands in Africa.
It is affordable given the dollar power and it is easy to acquire land in Africa. When you buy land in Africa, particularly from the original owners of the land, the land is yours forever the government cannot take it over from you. Your land can be passed down to your children and this is how you build wealth.
12. It’s safe for the kids
Black expats say that their children are safe and can experience life without the pressure of racism, they grow up in a system not set up to confuse them about their sexual identity, their values as human beings, or what lens with which to see life.
They are not growing up in a system where there is a cap to what they can achieve or worse where they might get killed on their way to the grocery store by an angry policeman or depressed person on a killing spree. Many Black expats are relocating to Africa particularly because they want to raise their children in Africa.
13. The culture places value on the family
Most African cultures place high importance on the family unit. Families in Africa are usually extended but the members of the family maintain a close relationship with each other. Everyone in the family plays their part towards continuous unity and achieving goals. For instance, if a family member needs support to start a business, family members can pull support together to raise funds for their relative.
14. Exposure to a different culture and lifestyle
They get to learn culture, language, food, clothes, and a way of life different from what there are used to which adds to their wealth of knowledge, exposure, and experiences as human beings.
15. Most Africans are friendly, hospitable, and communal
The way of life of most African cultures is to be hospitable and friendly to people. This is why people open their homes to guests and ensure that guests are well entertained with food, drinks, and good conversation. Men relate with fellow men as brothers, as friends, and not as threats, the concept of seeing another male up close as a threat is non-existent in most countries in Africa.
16. Unadulterated Food, Water, and Natural resources
Most Subsaharan African countries have a rich tropical climate and good soil. Hence, most people make their living as farmers. The majority of the foods sold in the market come from food produced and harvested directly from the farms.
They are natural, authentic, rich in nutrients, and void of GMOs. Also, the habit and lifestyle of living in Africa will help you eat more healthily because there is a limited number of fast-food and burger spots around. Most restaurants make properly cooked meals and the ingredients used are mostly natural.
Africa has had its ups and downs and still does, but it’s home to a majority of black people. If you are a person of African descent thinking of visiting Africa, you definitely should. Africa is not what the media told you it is. It is beautiful, diverse, culturally rich, enchanting, and home to billions of black people. Don’t sleep on Africa.