African-Americans on why they settled back on the continent

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Photo credit: Joe Raedle | Getty Images | AFP

What you need to know:

  • Marcus Pace planned a two-year stay in Africa but has decided to make it permanent.
  • Brian said that immediately on arriving in Africa, he felt at home and filled with peace of mind.

You could not call it a movement, nor even a trend, but a number of African-Americans have returned to their continent of origin and are glad that they did so.

Rukiya McNair, from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, settled with her family in Dar es Salaam, Marcus Pace chose Uganda, and Brian Wheeler has been in Namibia for 11 years. All are perfectly happy and have no plans to leave.

At a ceremony in Accra marking the recent death of the black American George Floyd, Ghana’s Tourism Minister, Barbara Oteng Gyasi, called on African-Americans to “leave where you are not wanted”. She said, “You have a choice and Africa is waiting for you.”

Hers was the latest in a series of invitations from Ghana to black Americans, but the three mentioned above were ahead of her. In interviews with the BBC, they explained their reasons for making the relocation.

Plain racism

For Rukiya it was plain racism. She said, “I grew up in a white suburb of Pittsburgh where racism was staring you in the face and there was no way to fix it. I couldn’t tell you the number of times I was followed around a store, pulled over by police, not offered jobs.”

In Tanzania, she said, “I feel much safer. My children made friends easily. Also, Africa is beautiful, magnificent.”

Marcus planned a two-year stay in Africa but has decided to make it permanent. In Uganda, he said, “I don’t feel like I’m targeted for my colour.”

Without identifying them he said, “There are situations here which are questionable, but the cost of living is better so I’m not constantly worrying any more. I have no reason to go back to America.”

Brian said that immediately on arriving in Africa, he felt at home and filled with peace of mind. He said, “There is some prejudice here and some stereotypes, but the children integrated well and I felt it was a natural place to be.”

He goes back to America to see friends and family, but only for visits.

There have been no signs of a Return to Africa movement in the UK, probably because the majority of black Britons hail from the Caribbean countries. That is not to say that the reasons which drove Rukiya McNair to move do not exist here.

Fighting racism

Just last week, police arrested two men for racially abusing a retired black England footballer, Kieron Dyer, at Hintlesham Golf Club in Suffolk.

Dyer said he had not heard the words but resigned from the club, saying, “It is clear we still have a long way to go fighting racism in this country.”

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Maria Protheroe claimed financial support from the state on the basis that she was jobless and penniless. But when police searched her home in Coventry, they found £34,510 in cash.

In fact, Protheroe, 56, was a rich tycoon, earning thousands of pounds from renting out properties.

Presiding at Warwick Crown Court, Judge Anthony Potter told her, “Your sustained dishonesty demonstrated enormous arrogance. You believed rules that applied to other people did not apply to you.”

He fined Protheroe £25,000 and gave her three months to repay £178,368 or face two years in jail.

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You cannot avoid them: acronyms cascading onto your computer screen every time you log on. As soon as you figure out one lot, new examples appear.

Some may have predated the computer, such as MSG for Message, BTW for By the way, TNX for Thanks, and FYI for For your information.

Others you think you know until a refined version appears. I assumed correctly that IMO must mean In my opinion, but then came IMHO. Huh? It’s In my humble opinion.

Muttering OMG (guess!), I press on. BF sounds angry but actually stands for Best friend, and BFF is Best friends forever.

Still with the Bs, BRB has nothing to do with positions on the football team but means Be right back.

Probably the first in the lexicon of text speak was GIGO, Garbage in, garbage out, which at least is true, along with TMI, Too much information.

Then there is TXT for Text. Is saving one letter worth the effort?

Finally, don’t be embarrassed if you guess wrong about this alphabetical overload. Our former prime minister, David Cameron, confessed that for a long time he thought LOL (Laugh out loud) actually meant Lots of love. How his emails must have surprised some of his MPs!

There’s talk of a new organization, which I plan to join. It’s the AAAA, the Association Against Acronym Abuse.

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Last words on cyberspace:

“Quotes found on the internet are not always accurate.”

— Abraham Lincoln