Hello My dear peeps,
Yesterday, I was inspired by a wonderful lady whose speech was being discussed in one of my lecture. This Lady is one of the famous Nigerian authors and she is Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. The speech was about how every one has a single story of everything. In fact, when we dig inside her thought, we come to the conclusion that she is right. We are the results of the way we’ve been socialised, We are the results of what we have been taught, we are simply the story our parents made of us.
I live in a multicultural country. I live in a rainbow country. I live multiracial country. I live in the star and key of the Indian Ocean, I live in Mauritius. The single story of most people would be that I live in Paradise. If we believe what Mark Twain once said in 1897.. “God created Mauritius first and then paradise was copied after it..” But when we go beneath this saying we see that the paradise is not filled with angels only. That on the other hand, there is a different way in interpreting what the paradise is.
As a child, I had often been given nicknames. Nicknames in relations to my colour. In fact, I have always been the blackest of the family and since that time I had developed a skin complexion complex. During my childhood I would believe every story the adults would be telling me. I never drank coke fearing I would become darker, I would never eat fried noodles since they use a black sauce to do that and I feared i would have became darker too. When I look back at these stories I now realise that I was living up to the labels that had been given to me.
What you readers should know is that Mauritius is composed of people whose ancestors came from various part of the world. Mainly from India, Africa, China and Europe. Mauritians are according to me a mixed race if I can say so. I have Indian as well as African genes going in my veins and I am proud of that. I am the result of a mixture, I am a Mauritian.
In fact, Mauritians do not accept the fact that they are a mixed race. Like many places in the world, the very idea of being a black is associated with being a bad person. As a child then again, I could not understand why in every passage or books I couldcome accross the word black was always associated with being bad. I remember when I was 10 or 11 arguing with my dad about the following words: black sheep of the family, black eye, black market and many more…
The very notion of colour as a basis to classify what’s right from wrong had been imprinted in my mind and I don”t know why I could not accept that. I have come through many encounters that nearly made me feel that I was not worth what I thought I was. My friends always wonder why I always associate myself with the colour black and why I could feel racism around me all the time. I think now I can tell them that it is because I have been exposed and this exposure had marked me and till now is marking me.
I was a good student at school, first of the class, and when I reached secondary school, I realised that things had changed. I had to proved to others that I was intelligent to make new friends. I had to make twice the effort the “normal” children would do to be accepted. But the thing is I succeeded. I has been tough but I succeeded. Many of the teaching staff who didn’t know me thought I was not a mainstream student, worse thing, they thought I was a pre-vocational student.
At the very moment I understood I had been labelled and categorised as such, I forced myself not to live up according to this label. It was hard, really hard. I was one among the few black people, in the mauritian context the “creole” in my school. But after six years of constant fighting I became the head student of the school. I was happy, happy to see that the single story I had been told as a child had been challenged, in fact I had rewritten another story.
I am a 21 year old girl, I haven’t done much in my life but I hope for the best for my island. It pities me to see how the majority though being educated have opted for only a single story. We are not in animal farm, nobody is more equal than others. I just want people to understand that. I am not used to writing posts about my story or to lament myself about my life, but I just wanted to share a thought with all those who read my blog. I just want you to be the authors of many stories. I just want you to go beyond what you’ve been taught. Read my previous post for more inspiration.