It’s a dilemma I confront all the time. People will approach Simba the article writer who has glowing testimonials, but on realizing she is black AND from Africa, they move on. Why? This is not a black or white debate, but what I seek to understand is, today, are we still at that level of prejudice?
I am based in Nairobi, Kenya. I was born and bred in Kenya, Kericho in particular and came to Nairobi to join college. I went through such a rigorous school system, it would accept nothing but the best. That system was devised and imposed under British supervision so English came easy so long as you were in a certain class or kind of school.
There are many countries in the world where English is not a requirement, but when it comes to Africa, remember that we had either the English, French or Germans mould our education systems. They demanded perfection; if you were to move ahead, you had to do it, and do it well, and their way too.
It requires smarts, total smarts, to be a black person who has excelled in something like Internet Marketing. You need to know your stuff just like anyone from any other race. But it’s baffling to meet prejudice of that kind in the most advanced place in the world today – on the internet.
Black writers, in Africa especially, have the ability to write well. Very well indeed. Look at Wole Soyinka, Ngugi wa Thiongo, Nelson Mandela and all the other great African men who mastered the power of the word and then passed it on. There are the more recent writers, and they are many, but they write stories, newspaper articles, views and reviews, copy that is just as intricate and powerful and compelling as any other.
When you are looking for an article writer and you find an African writer, let them show you what they are made of, because it’s usually tough stuff. Give them an equal opportunity to show you that they, just as anyone else in the West, can do what they do just as well as anyone else.