By Kofi Thompson
On African Union Day, 25/5/2013, I could not help but turn my thoughts to the young offspring, of Africans in the Diaspora.
I wondered how Africans in the continent could help them get to know their African roots better – and help them grow up to be well-adjusted and productive individuals, in the nations they were born in, and are citizens of.
No African on the continent with links to the UK, no matter how tenuous, who heard the horrific and shocking news of the gruesome murder at Woolwich, of the British soldier, Drummer Lee Rigby, 25, by two Britons of Nigerian descent, suspects Adebolajo, 28, and Michael Adebowale, 22, a few days ago, would have failed to have been affected somehow, by what they heard and saw.
That heinous and abominable crime committed by the two young men, was unpardonable and unspeakable – and they must be jailed for life. Literally.
Those who think they can get what they want through violence, are mistaken. Violence has never resolved any problem anywhere. It only worsens the situation for all concerned.
Luckily, the vast majority of the foreign-born offspring of Africans in the Diaspora, are often well-adjusted individuals with aspirations.
However, there is a minority involved with gangs and drugs, who often get into trouble with the law. And it is a growing problem, unfortunately
There are many reasons why they become delinquent, but perhaps if those of them who get into trouble with the law, had had contact with their parents’ and grandparents’ countries’ of origin, early in life, it is possible that they might have turned out differently.
Those of us at home in Africa, must encourage our fellow Africans in the Diaspora to let their offspring connect with the continent – and teach them African languages at home, as well as let them know about the cultures of their countries’ of origin.
Despite being born in the UK, my own children and grandchildren who live there, for example, speak Twi and do visit Ghana from time to time. Being British citizens does not mean they cannot keep the best values from their grandparents’ Akan culture.
Although there are increasing numbers of suitable black role models to look up to in the USA, Europe and elsewhere in the world where Africans have settled, coming to Africa, and seeing educated Africans running nations and working as members of the professions – engineers, ICT specialists, medical doctors, business executives, lawyers, etc., for example – will always make a lasting impression on young blacks in the Diaspora, upon their return to their parents’ and grandparents’ adopted countries.
Let us all encourage our friends and relations in the Diaspora to set up organisations through which young blacks from disadvantaged backgrounds can be helped financially to visit countries in Africa during school holidays.
Volunteering in Africa, during school holidays, for example, could turn out to be life-changing experiences, which can inspire many of the young foreign-born offspring of Africans in the Diaspora.
It is probable that many of them will return to the nations they were born in, and live in, after such a visit to Africa, and aspire to better themselves – instead of ruining their lives joining violent gangs and extremist religious organisations, which preach hatred and violence against their fellow human beings.
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