I could “talk proper” and “articulate so well.” And by year three I got compliments for having no accent: “no one would be able to tell you weren’t from here!” I was ecstatic. I even let them touch my hair. After all, they were “just curious.” And I relished in the fact that I “wasn’t like them” because being the kind of Black I was made me acceptable. I was the “safe” African/Black woman.
Americanah is a story of love, culture shock, transition and transformation, discovery and adaptation, and finally race and hair. The latter two fascinate me because they also seem to be what Adichie really wants to talk about, subtly touches on but often does not return to.
I walk down the street in my flowing Ghanaian print dress. I am on my way to my favourite Eritrean café to journal about my swearing-in ceremony. I am sentimental. I want to shout out, and then grin broadly while I tell everyone I meet, “I am a US citizen now.” I smile broadly at…
So I write this blog entry for KT who is making her first trip to Ghana and to the continent of Africa, fifteen years from that first hello and handshake. I want to say Akwaaba and re-introduce myself: Akwaaba, wo fr3m Kuukua Dzigbordi Yomekpe. Mi y3 Ghana nyi. These are my people; these are where my roots lie. If you are ready, we can wander the back-roads of Melody-Ann and the new tracks of Kuukua. This is for you my friend.
I. IMMIGRANTS IN A FOREIGN LAND
So if we’re going to be so darn fussy, about who is “different” then shouldn’t we all return to our original homelands? But of course, there are quite a few Americans today who cannot trace their ancestry back to their original locations, so where does that leave them? May I suggest: Ambassadors for peace, embracing and extending warm welcomes to all new immigrants?