Last week, in continuation with the themes and topics that ran through the #selfdiscovery #retreat in #Ghana, we asked our engagement groups on Facebook and Instagram how far they identified as African Women. We asked; "who is the #AfricanWoman in your eyes, and who do you think society sees her as?". As always, we were stunned by the response and the super enlightening perspectives on the matter.
However, there was one answer that stood out and really resonated with us. This is a viewpoint from a young queen from #Togo, #WestAfrica who has come to understand and love her heritage, and who's outlook has been shaped by her traditional African values as well as the Western influences she has had growing up in the Nordics.
Do I see myself as an African woman?
My answer is; Yes, very much. Even more specifically, a Togolese woman.
Growing up in Sweden, surrounded by Nordic values and with the pressure of integrating and assimilating to Swedish norms and standards, it has been a constant battle to feel safe, respected and appreciated in the academic sphere, the culture and society as a whole. Thankfully, being a part of a somewhat advance socioeconomic network, I have been granted a very solid support system including both (Swedish) POC and Swede families. Thanks to this, I feel safe with having Swedish as my first spoken/read/written language.
My heritage, in which I am extremely proud, is one that I have been taught by traveling back to my country of birth (once a year for approx 14 years in a row), and by researching my family history. It has permitted me to understand my way of thinking, to love my features and to be proud of where I come from. I do no longer feel that I have to justify being African, but I have come to rather brag about it. Unfortunately I do not speak the language, Gen, only the colonial language, French.
These pictures were taken in Aheno, the city my family (Lawson) is from. A picture with the current king of the family as well as a video of me holding a book handwritten by our forefather. It weighs approximately 7kg and dates back to the mid nineteenth century. It is safely guarded and will never leave the country. There has been a book published by The British Academy called “An African Family Archive - The Lawson’s if Little Popo/ Aneho (Togo) 1841 - 1938” which includes parts of the archive and details the acts of resistance to colonization.
As to how I think society sees the African woman.. as a magical and powerful creature. My (spiritual) theory is that we vibrate on a higher level and that everyone can see it except for us, unless we actively work on it. We have been wrongly treated for centuries and because of that can sometimes doubt our power. This is why I am such an avid believer in communities like this, it allows us to align with our power individually and with each other, grow, accomplish great things and spread the light that was placed in us as African women.
Much love and light to you all!
Crystal is a student, an entepreuner and a creative consultant in the luxury fashion industry. Please check out her website luxeimg.com, and her brands instagram page @luxeimg. She is also an active member of our engagement groups on Instagram. To join or engagement group on Facebook or Instagram, please reach out to us on either page @shetribeconnect. You will be connected with likeminded women of colour across the world, to discuss self care practices, share body mind and soul tips, and support uplift one another.