I have been living in the Netherlands for the past 20 years. I had lots of cultural shocks in positive and negative ways. I have learnt to laugh about very simple things like my own identity just because I never wanted people to see me as a bad person.
Which also means accepting something that is a bit disrespectful to my own culture. But as I remember most people were always curious about how I have lived in Africa.
What changed me were my children? I had my first child in 2008, Instead of having to explain my culture again and again, I started practicing it.
I realized I had a lot to explain to my children. Most difficult was that there were not so may things that represented me as an African princess, African Doll and even in the windows where people did the window shopping.
I felt really bad about it and realized it wasn’t something I could change very easily than embracing who I was.
In Zimbabwe where I grew up, we lived mostly according what we imitated from colonialism.
So when we thought of buying a doll, it was always a white doll, shops were full of them. I also think there were people of African origin who may have wanted to see something or someone who represented them as nice, black people who did not only fought wars and went through slavery.
I am really happy that I started carrying my baby’s and breastfed them as I remembered from the village in Zimbabwe.
In the cities especially Harare where I went to school, my parents explained to me a lot about different classes. You would be considered rich when you lived in a low density suburbs and poor when you were living in a high density suburb.
So many people would embrace the rich culture more. For example, when you see a black person buying a very big car for a better status or trying to lighten skin color to be able to look more prettier because this was perceived as beauty.
I have realized that if we cannot teach our children our African history, no-one else will. So it starts with self acceptance, self reflection.
Please hear more of her story. She promotes self love and together we promote self reflection. she is lovely with her lovely family. I have already bought 2 dolls for my little girls and they love them. Teaching African history is much easier to understand when history is presented positively.
Representing my self, my origins, my well being has become a big lesson such that I begin to realize how important it is for schools to learn the positive things about my origins.
We need more embracing, more people helping us doing this. I will share some of my shocks:
-On television there were not so may people represented as African origin without that they were called poor.
-Every child I know from school is taught to help poor African children. I do agree that there are countries that went through a lot, such that they need help, but not at all the time
If there was a commercial on television and there was an African origin family, it always looked like they were not organised. Those few things disturbed me.
So now that we can buy a black doll just like a barbie it means we have a good start of self acceptance without having to explain.
Category: carrying baby, cultural differences, Culture, cultuur, Diaspora, Dragen van je kindje, Emigratie, Emotions, bonding, hechten, verbinding, verbonden, families, family, children, education, opvoeding, merry christmas, greetings, seasoning greet, wishes, best, foreigner, groceries, heavy, immigration, Intergratie, Intergratie, samenleving, Taal en kennis., kinderen Moeder zijn voor het eerst, Mama zijn, papa zijn, Mixed couples, Moeder zijn voor het eerst, onderwijs, papa zijn, samenleving, televisie
Melissa was now living in the Netherlands, far away from home and her extended family. Perhaps it was the distance or the time away from her roots that led her down a path to reconciling her traditionally African approach to child rearing with the new modern European scientifically tested advice she was consistently receiving. In doing so she began to craft out a unique path for herself and her growing family.