So, if you are from South Africa and in particular are an African diaspora in South Africa, you have heard the term KwereKwere thrown your way. I say thrown, because it is most certainly not meant to be a compliment, it is meant to throw you off guard and hit you where it hurts most and so in essence, it is a verbal assault.
There are plenty of theories around where it started, who started it and whether or not it is meant to be an insult, but much like N*gger and K*affir could have originally had a less nefarious meaning, no-one cares. And much like that, neither do we.
So, I have had moments when I was about to pick up my shoe and beat a person with it for having called me a KwereKwere, I wondered what would happen if we took back the power, took that word and made it our own in the fashion of how the African Americans have owned N*gger? Now, I’m not saying we should start songs were we refer to other African diaspora in South Africa as KKs but rather it be the starting position that connects our shared and varied experiences of being “an other” on our home continent.
I recently came across the award winning book, The Good Immigrant by Nikesh Shukla, which is a collection of essays by British Immigrants about their experiences and wondered, and thought, why don’t we do the same here? And if you have read the collection of essays by black South Africans on their post-Apartheid experience in the We write what we like book by Yolisa Qunta, you know that now is clearly the time for collective voices to share their stories from their point of view, unapologetically.
So that’s what this blog is for, a platform to collect stories from African diaspora in South Africa. Their shared and varying experiences, their expectations, realities and hopes. They will be lawyers, students, migrant workers, journalists, actors, writers, artists, diplomats, travellers. All of them in South Africa for a different reason, but all of them sharing one thing in common, being Amakwerekwere.
I hope you enjoy it as much as I know that I am going to.