Being African


Part 1a: American Colleges and Kuchanuka

Inspired by the series “Being Black in America” I thought to run a mini-series of posts on what it meant to be a black African in the U.S. I will limit these observations to the young Africans, mainly starting off as students, who took the plane here and had their passport stamped within the past 10-15 years. We will of course, not speak of the ones who snuck under Mama Nani’s ample bosom and/or suitcase and have chosen to hide from rungu ya Uncle Sam i.e. gava. 


“Sips water i.e. I deny any liability/ I am innocence personified”

Ok, moving along…

One, the college experience here is on a whole other level. I remember tukiwa church fulani and the pastor would always talk about America like it was this other land that had such miraculous and strange college practices and everything else in general. I think his sermon was meant to be a cautionary tale for the “hedonistic” American life and all of its immoral…..



But I digress.

Ati you could wear hadi pajamas to class! Ati you could carry food kutoka DH/Mess/ dorm and eat it in class with the PROFESSOR PRESENT! These things sounded pretty unimaginable and we could almost see a replication of that njaro in KU leading to full blown strike kwa sababu maprofessor wanasema hawapati respect na vile watoto wako spoilt kama Tuzo ya juzi.

It all sounds pretty unimaginable, until you are a confused freshman running around like a headless chicken at 8:00 am trying to find your next class so unabeba ile mkate ulitoa DH ukikimbia so you don’t get to class late.  The buildings all look alike and foreign…hawa wazungu wanakaa aje? How do you ask for directions to the class while you look like you’ve been sweating bullets and giving K.K. (Kipchoge Keino) a run for his money?

It all sounds pretty unimaginable, until you have reached junior or senior year and you have learnt the in and outs of the trade, you know how to take all those classes Monday to Thursday so you can sleep in all Friday. Hiyo inamaanisha your Monday hadi Thursday is chock full of classes. Shida ni ulienda ile party ya waafrika (read: waNaija) and party ilienda hadi mangware…


Tell me this exact scene has not been played out in your house party. Usidanganye! 

So the only break you have is that ka-one hour in-between Mao na Philosophy. This is where the nap/sleep-you-missed-because-of-yoriyori comes in. But then you wake up hungry and confused and then you have to run to class to avoid tafash na teacher because it will be the 4th time umeingia late.


K.K. has nothing on me when I’m late to class

Good Times. I say sarcastically.


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