I thought it woulfd be fair to explain my intentions with my blog. I have pointed out before that I will always speak for the under dog,raise issues that affects people who have no platform to air out their concerns. This of course does not mean I will not have fun. Simply my blog will be there to motivate and entertain. So watch the space.
Today I thought I might share something about myself. I came to the UK in 2006 and like most people who find themselves living abroad had expectations.I was shattered by the reality that faced me. I had at a very early start wanted to do my driving test so I made contact with an instructor called Val. She seemed a very nice lady at first,very understanding and friendly. I was happy .She would come and pick me up from work and we would do our lesson. We talked as one does and I realised she was not as nice as I thought. She did her lessons mostly with ethnic minorities in the UK-Asians ,Africans etc and I think she verbally bullied people by what came out of her mouth.She was ''Mrs- Know-it-all. She knew what was there to know about other cultures and countries.
She had done with a couple of Africans and when we started talking she wanted to let me know how good she gets on with Africans. I have always found such an explanation unnecessary so I ignored Val. She has never been to Africa and her knowledge of Africa and Africans was based on what she saw on TV and what her driving pupils told her. Her idea of Africa was of people who still wore loincloths. Of course what she knew was so patchy and I don't know why she swore she knew a lot about Africans. That didn't matter to me. All I wanted after work was to do my lesson and go home and rest. She had this picture of a wild untammed and uncivilsed Africa she even asked me how I got to UK.
''Do you have airports in your country or you had to go to South Africa?''she asked. For her the only country that was developed was South Africa. The rest was a bush full of different tribes squating and moving from place to place. Where she got this idea,I haven't got a clue and I realised it was a waste of my time and energy to try and talk to her. She had answers on everything.
I also learnt that some times Africans enjoy being made fun out of. She had been told by one of the African lady she had given lessons how bad things were in most parts of Africa. Well things are bad everywhere and it's no point seeking pity to the extend of exaggerating facts. I know things can be bad home but sometimes people exaggerate facts for pity.
At first I didn't care until she said my headaches (always had migraines) were a result of my upbringing.
''What do you know of my upbringing Val?'' I asked.
''I mean living in the forest, no proper food and all the suffering in your country,it must be hard.Maybe you will get better now since you are here'',she said
I was shocked but I laughed. It is ignorance I could tell but it was the way she pretended to know everything that made me laugh. She had no idea what she was talking about. She had been a primary school teacher before she retired to become a driving instructor but I had no idea people could be that ignorant. Then I remembered what a friend told me when I came to the UK. When this friend got pregnant she told people at her work place. They were all happy for her but one said, ''That must be a relief for you to have the baby here''.
''What do you mean?'',the friend asked.
''Well the way I know Africa,you might have had to have this child in this bush. Now you can relax because you have the comfort of the NHS''.
Like me this friend of mine was shocked that people claim to know things when they actually know nothing.
I am not saying everyone has this mentality of Africa of course. I have met people who appreciates the beauty of other cultures and countries. These are of course people who either had been to Africa or just think outside the box.
As far as I am concerned,it is ignorance that make people paint a continent withso many different cultures and people with one brush.
It's called ignorance and prejudice.Food for thought.