“TIA, bruv! This is Africa!” This phrase is a favourite of a friend of mine. Doing business across the continent, he will shrug his shoulders and keep moving forward because, sadly, this phrase usually only comes out when something less than positive has happened. We talk about time, differentiating normal time from ‘African time’, essentially associating anything inefficient with Africa and, therefore, the opposite with Europe.
What does it mean to be African? In his book, Dreams From My Father, Barack Obama writes, “The worst thing that colonialism did was to cloud our view of our past.” And, considering the past lays the foundation for the present, it means that how we view ourselves and our place in the world today is also, potentially, still influenced by colonialism, despite the strides that we have made over the decades.
We live in a contemporary world, where influences permeate borders but, where once we simply took those that came from the West as being ‘superior’ – and our diverse cultures, practices and rituals as being ‘less than’ and uncivilised – we are starting to truly stand up for our own cultures.
“TIA, bruv! This is Africa!”
This has meant, and means, changing perspectives, going against what we have been taught. This means being strategic. This means having to, at times, explain why we do what we do and see the world the way we do. This means recognising and embracing other ways of doing things and being comfortable enough to forge our own paths, regardless of what others may feel.
We have influenced the world for centuries, although it was generally unacknowledged. This issue is an acknowledgement of how Africa and its people are not sitting back, waiting for validation any longer. This issue is a celebration of all that we are as Afropolitans, proud of our culture and comfortable in the reality that it has a place in this modern world. And this issue is looking back but also a looking forward, as we enter a new calendar year – a time for introspection, relaxation and rejuvenation.
We have also gone out to find what to look forward to when it comes to lifestyle gifts with our supplement, covering sunglasses, timepieces, fragrances, liquid pleasure and classic cars.
We hope that these pages inspire, entertain, inform and intrigue you. We cannot exist without our community – which is every single one of you who picks up and engages with these pages, as well as with us through our various digital platforms. As Africans, we have always recognised that the individual cannot progress without the collective, and vice versa. As we transition into and begin the new year, we are definitely looking to you to ensure that we can continue to serve you in different ways.
It may often feel like the world is heavy and weighing us down, but there is also much to be grateful for. There’s work to be done and much heavy lifting, but there is always a way. An African Way.