What defines an African woman

4 Min Read

Is it spiritual connection? Is based on a journey, of self-identifying, or is it as simple as birthright? Is it determined by how well you can speak your mother-tongue? Is it based on your interpretation of your culture, and the effect it has in your day-to-day life? Or, is it a something as superficial as your general appearance?

Of all the questions that have passed through my mind lately, the one question that stood out the most was, ‘what does it mean to be an african woman in 2015?”

The identity of an African women in 2015 comes with a lot of uncharted battles such as our modern interpretation of customs, institutions such religion, beliefs such as sexuality, and the general thought of “african” as a unit. The identity can be interpreted differently by each individual – now, does that make you less or more African?

Many people living within the diaspora have begin to adopt the ‘to-be or not’ mentality of ‘what it means to be African’. For instance, those who were born in African opt to keep true to their heritage, and those like me, who were born and raised in a country outside of Africa have opted to pick and choose what I wanted to keep when it comes to my African culture.

I asked some friends and this what they had to say:

  1. “Things that we traditionally find unacceptable in my household are now acceptable. Mothers are now more open to concepts that were once a taboo such as interracial relationships. I think parents are not as closed minded as they use to be. I think that mentality resinates in me.” – Iman Rageah
  2. “You have choice at the end of the day. You can choose to follow the culture, and you can choose not to follow it – I choose to keep my culture in my life everyday. To me, that means speaking my language and following the traditions. ”
  3. “Culture is still imbedded in me. Things stay in the back of my mind, and the culture prevents me from doing certain things that normal Canadians would do.” – Hanna Abdulle 
  4. “To be East African is to be cloaked in a violent blanket of anxiety because you are intimately aware that to many, your blackness is always to be debate on it’s authenticity. It’s a constantly daily battle for you to shrug off conversations centred on innately exoticfying and always framing your Afro identity as being a black woman who is inherently acceptable by Eurocentric beauty standards because I don’t fit the mould.” – Riya Jama @hausofriya 
  5. “It’s complicated. I can’t say I am African because that’s ascribing to being this homogenized being some white wealth colonizer/colonizer aligned individual told me was a being. But, if we are using “African” as a simple term to make it easier for readers, being an “African” woman is to be a strong force determining my existence in a world pretty set on either telling me who I am or telling me to be who I chose to be so long as I exist within their parameters.” – Emdee Hussein @emdeehussein 

I would like to know what other readers think!

Share This Article