In a way I didn’t anticipate to feel this way today, this edge.
Since leaving Tanzania, I’ve not really felt like a part of it every year I returned. If anything, the place I called home became more distant to me, unwelcoming, or perhaps even hostile. Of course it is explainable why I would feel this way, living in Ireland or Europe in general makes one different. Growing up also changes you, and time changes places. We are all mediums with eyes wide open, and sponges ready to soak in every flow of water that comes our way.
Living abroad made me more aware that I had dark skin, yet being at home I was made more aware that I wasn’t ‘really/fully Tanzanian’ because my parents were an inter-racial couple. The way I spoke, dressed, music I listened to, my interests, studies were all in one way or another mocked for over 10 years. In turn while I was an immigrant abroad, I felt more comfortable with that notion than that of being categorised as an immigrant in my own country. Since then I’ve always wondered what made an African, African? What does that make me? Do people know exactly what this means?
Today I feel on edge because this is the time for change, or so they say. I have longed feared elections, the distortion of democracy, the rise of xenophobia in a place people blindly call “one of the most peaceful nations in Africa” – where I and perhaps many more feel and fear the slow simmering of chaos. My edginess is in part rooted in a sadness of not being able to vote or exercise my right to feel or even be a part of my own country. This would have been my first time. But, I see a glimmer of hope as I watch a wave of fresh young voters, and even more so diaspora returnee voters, wanting to make a difference. Today is about the people than the government regardless of all the things we believe make us different from one another. Today there stands no gender, income, social strata, language or skill to separate us. It is about Tanzanians watching out for Tanzanians, and for the start of a new, welcome and less discriminatory Tanzania.
Power to the people.