On May 7, I was invited to join a conversation at the BBC World Service following a disclosure on Facebook by Emmanuel Adebayor that reasons he had been granted extended leave by his employers had to do with goings on in his family
Since his first post, Adebayor has disclosed further information about his family on his Facebook Page and maintains that he is doing this so that Africans in a similar situation can learn from his experience. He said,
I kept these stories for years… But If I die, no one would know my story, no one would learn from it… Some people say I should keep these stories private, but someone has to sacrifice himself; someone has to talk about it. I know people would relate to my story and others would learn from it
Adebayor has been congratulated and condemned for speaking out in equal measures. But one thing that is certain, in opening up this way, Adebayor has done Africans both in heritage countries and in the Diaspora a favour.
What follows is a discussion we here at Africa on the Blog have had on the matter.
Interesting discussion. Ida you raised an important for me. When you look at friends in the UK and the diaspora, they post flashy pictures on social media and always have tales to tell.
But when I moved to the UK, I was shocked; their lives were not as flashy as they wanted us to believe. Reality hits you when you get to the UK and offer to visit them and they dodge you, that’s when you realise, the lives on social media are different from reality. I think this comes from pressure at home also, the idea is they left home for a better life and they should be seen to be living that better life.
That is indeed a huge problem . African diaspora get themselves into financial difficulties simply because they are looking to impress relatives back home. It is best to be upfront about what you can and cannot afford
Nqaba too true. That story of moving to the UK only to find people dodging you is classic. I was shocked just how much when I moved here. But then there is also people back home cannot fathom how you pay hundreds to even thousand pounds in rent per month yet you are in a 1 bedroom flat.
Interesting discussion. I did wish one of the commentators came back with a rebuttal on “Africans turn lazy” when they are helped from abroad. I do believe there are many Brits, Aussies etc who become lazy on the dole, except it is from govt.
It’s a big issue and the needs back home or elsewhere if you have family around the world never runs dry.
Let them help themselves Lord!
I think that was Frank from Uganda who has experienced “the lazy” Africans as he refers to them. My understanding of what he was trying to say, is that the more we give the more people become dependent and expect more and have no reason to go out there and strive like everyone else. That aside, this is indeed a serious issue and I am glad it is out in the open.
I have come across, people back home who survive by attending one funeral after another. They stay for days on end after the mourning period before moving on to another funeral. Needless to say no one challenges them about this and yet everyone recognises what they are up to.
I have been holding back from adding my comments to these discussions because it is personally very painful. Reading through Adebayor’s Facebook post, I was touched by how much it reflected what so many people in the diaspora are going through including me.
There is a big dilemma here. On the one hand, the Africans in the diaspora want to help either out of guilt or necessity. On the other hand, many people at feel that they are entitled to suck you dry. The problem here is not about helping or not but about greed. People start demanding that you give them something you can’t afford to have here yourself.
Very often, the demands are not necessity but pure leisure. I remember someone asking me to give him money to furnish his student’s room with sound system and other appliances or asking you to send two mobile phones.
Why two? Perhaps one for the girl friend.
One word: GREED!
I disagree with people saying the those in the diaspora trigger this by sending flashy pictures of themselves. While it is true that many do so, those who do not are the ones maltreated for “letting those at home down”.
I remember going home after many years and willing to just stroll down old streets and stay in the family house only to be constantly reminded how so so and so came back in this huge Jeep surrounded by bodyguards and staying in that top hotel in town. Even if I can afford it, you wonder if people have lost the humanity and humility of just spending time with your family wherever they live. Everybody wants you to give them money even for just saying hello. They make you feel guilty.
I am currently reading this book called The Capitalist Nigga and there is so much truth in it. So much to ponder about. I may review the book.
I read that book a few years ago and it brought home some home truths. I think, being honest about one’s circumstances here is important. I don’t understand why people take out loans to send money home, especially if that money is for investing but for consumption.
Perhaps I am lucky to be part of an understanding family. But even when a family member has put me under pressure I have simply stood my ground. I simply stick to my budget/what I can afford to give
Yes, standing your ground is really an approach to learn. Insisting that living in Europe/America does not make you less African.
I think one thing the people in diaspora need to insist on is that help cannot be just financial. We need to insist on people passing on ideas, skills, philosophies, knowledge and so many other things. We just need to discourage this idea that the only problem back home is many.
If we get things right in Africa, we will not need to beg money from the outside. I say this as someone working in the electricity distribution network where we have been programmed to respond to any emergencies urgently to ensure the lights stay on.
Then I wonder why electricity is so epileptic in Nigeria where we have the gas, oil, coal, sun, and money. The problem is obviously mismanagement, corruption, lack of vision, indifference. We, in the diaspora need to start challenging people on these issues instead of just giving them money.
After all, those corrupt and incompetent people on the ground are our relatives and friends. We need to make our voice heard and not shy away from that.
have a friend running a charity and sending books to rural schools back home. Ida, I know you are doing something similar. This is commendable. However, we need to train people about soft skills of dedication, hard work, punctuality, accountability, etc.
That is our take
I would like to hear your views on this matter?
Is Adebayor’s story unique to him and his family?
Is he right to speak out?
Why don’t more African Diaspora speak out on this matter?