Afrika on My Sleeve is a multi-platform online social enterprise that combines digital storytelling and content with third culture narratives, self-care as a form of resistance and empowerment.
Whenever I get low, I just look at my beautiful daughter, everything she does makes me laugh. She is a daily reminder that there is nothing to be sad about, the girl needs me, and she needs her mother to be okay. When I am asked what my main priority is, I don’t hesitate, I know my main priority is protecting her and being there for her. I am a mother, I am living for her, she is the one who saved me – she is my reason why.
When I first moved to New Zealand I was 14-years old and I moved here with my whole family. Even till this day when I say that I am from Kenya, people are surprised that we have houses, somebody even asked me if giraffes poke their heads through the window when we are having breakfast. I just wish people would educate themselves about Africa instead of believing the images they see on TV. They just judge us instead of getting to know us. While New Zealand is a different place, it is extremely beautiful and because my family is mixed race we sort of blended in. My whole family is mixed race, diversity and co-existing with different cultures is nothing new to us and I love it. From my mother’s side she is Indian mixed with Creole from Seychelles, her mother was part of the Indian migration when Indians moved to Africa in the 1930s/40s. My dad is Sudanese Egyptian. In the future I plan to travel to India and back home to Africa just to see the roots and to feel home again. For the last four years I have experience discrimination and this has made me miss home a lot.
You would think after many years overseas I would be saying this is my new home but now I am saying I miss home because of discrimination. When my daughter was 6-months-old and I tried to get her a passport, they did not believe she was my daughter. I even went to the extent of providing evidence of her birth certificate with my name and signature on it from the hospital she was born. Of course coming from a mixed family, my baby is not to be the same colour as me, especially because her father is Italian. I am a mixed girl, and so is she and she looks like me, she is mine.
During mediation with her father, a lot of emotionally taxing incidents occurred. I even said to him are you being treated better because you are white and I am black? I felt so small and like no one cared that I was the one looking after my daughter 24/7, studying and doing everything I can. I am not that kind of person but I felt like I was cracking. What has kept me going is ensuring that my daughter is looked after. She is a healthy girl, well fed, loved and very clever. She is one of those kids that can easily pick up on emotions and she isn’t afraid to ask questions as she wants to understand.
Another thing that has kept me going is that I am an African, I am strong and I am a survivor, I can feel when things are going to be different and as a result I know how to look after myself. At the end of the day I say yes we are here and things are getting better with each passing moment.