Our history is a process of endless discovery, separation, forgetting and rediscovery. During this process, connections in African diasporic communities have preserved our lives, culture and knowledge in difficult situations. I am Krio. Some of my ancestors were formerly enslaved people, who came to Cameroon in the 1850’s. Since then we have spread all over the west coast of Africa.
This extended network of connections stretches to Europe, the United States, Canada. Krio people have experience of long, circular migrations. In my family we can trace the last 150 years but of course throughout human evolution, people have traveled and connect and communicated. There are thick nodes of knowledge where Black people settled and thin traces where we only passed a short time.
For the last ten years, shuttling between Uganda, Southern Africa, India and Cameroon, I have been learning how “development cooperation” works in reality, while trying to support communities to make positive changes to their lives. It’s been an eye-opener. Development practitioners are not taking indigenous knowledge seriously enough, I suspect because it is not recognized as knowledge. As a creative writer, editor, and activist I like to challenge common misconceptions by sharing knowledge of Black history and cultural practices, through online and print publishing and public events. Mentoring on ezibota, is one way I can empower myself, and others in the ezibota community.