I Don’t Believe in People with Single Identities

For participants at the recent meeting of the Ford Foundation’s Special Initiative on Africa, the topic of ‘Citizenship and Identity’ turned out to be challenging in unforeseen ways. Most people arrived with the intention of having a discussion about the practical problems Africans face in asserting their chosen identities and citizen’s rights. Yet it quickly became clear that for most, there were deeply personal dimensions to the debate. For some Africans, living in the diaspora had meant a loosening of the ties with home, leaving children born abroad without deep roots and with uncertain roles and rights; for others, being born into families combining different national identities, living in exile, being in an ethnic or racial minority had meant learning to negotiate painful issues and grow defensive layers to cope.

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By Akwe Amosu

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