20 African Americans Share Best Parts Of Living in Africa

 Happy Africa Day!

Happy Africa Day!

IT'S Africa Day! And what better way to celebrate than by sharing our love for the Motherland? We're sharing what twenty African American expats said their favorite things are about living on the African continent. Their responses are absolutely everything—so, if you didn't already love Africa enough, here's even more reason to!

 

BEST PARTS OF LIVING IN BOTSWANA

 Paula Brown (pictured right) chose to relocate to Francistown, Botswana after a visit to the capital city.

Paula Brown (pictured right) chose to relocate to Francistown, Botswana after a visit to the capital city.

We love the simplicity of life! The Batswana are so friendly and accepting. We live in peace now.
— Paula on living in Francistown, Botswana
 

BEST PARTS OF LIVING IN NAMIBIA

 African American In Africa Editor In Chief, Kaylan Reid Shipanga, pictured above with her son. She moved to Namibia as a volunteer teacher in 2010.

African American In Africa Editor In Chief, Kaylan Reid Shipanga, pictured above with her son. She moved to Namibia as a volunteer teacher in 2010.

I love how living in Namibia pushes me outside of my comfort zone on a daily basis. While this can feel uncomfortable, I’ve realized it’s a healthy and humbling process.

I also love how by default, living in Namibia puts me adjacent to so much African culture! I’m around Zimbabweans, Angolans, Zambians, South Africans, Congolese, etc. From the music to the food and news, I’m really immersed in all-things Africa.

Living here also forces me to pay closer attention to what’s happening around the continent, so I learn more about developments across Africa than just the stereotypical “doom and gloom” coverage of mainstream Western media.
— Kaylan on living in Namibia
 

BEST PARTS OF LIVING IN South Africa

 Jessica Kotu, an African American who moved to Johannesburg with her South African husband.

Jessica Kotu, an African American who moved to Johannesburg with her South African husband.

I loved the fact that being black did not hurt me. I didn’t have to apologize about being melanated. It was always motivating to see black people owning businesses, houses, and land.

I smiled at the fact that I could have real organic food. Our girls could play in a park and we didn’t have to worry about them being snatched away. I. FELT. FREEDOM. Freedom to be unapologetically me.
— Jessica on living in Johannesburg, South Africa
 

BEST PARTS OF living in DRC

 Dewey (pictured with hand raised) and his wife to the left with their wedding guests.

Dewey (pictured with hand raised) and his wife to the left with their wedding guests.

I want to be reborn in my next life in DRC because of the beautiful nature of the Congolese people and the country itself. And because of the tremendous potential the country holds.
— Dewey on Living in Democratic Republic of Congo
 

BEST PARTS OF LIVING IN DRC

 Adiya and her daughter with the Congo River behind.

Adiya and her daughter with the Congo River behind.

I really love the Congo River. At one point, Kinshasa was known as Kin la Belle (now people jokingly call it Kin la Poubelle…which means “trash can”) and there are these spaces that have survived the instability in the country for years.

There’s a hotel along the Congo River that I love to visit. It looks like they built the pool and restaurant area and then started to build the skeleton of the hotel and then just stopped. I don’t know how old it is but it looks like something that was built in the 70’s. When you walk in there’s a pool and then there’s a huge lion’s head with peeling paint.

You walk down a flight and that leads you to a dining area that overlooks the river. They never consistently have what’s on the menu and the waitresses always take about 15 minutes to check and see if they have what you’ve ordered but it’s one of the most peaceful moments I’ve experienced in Kinshasa. There is this mixture of calm as you’re looking out over the river and slight annoyance because it shouldn’t really take 20 minutes to get two beers and a tonic water.
— Adiya on Living in Democratic Republic of Congo
 

BEST PARTS OF living in Rwanda

 Lauren (left) and her mother who was visiting her in Rwanda at the time.

Lauren (left) and her mother who was visiting her in Rwanda at the time.

My favorite part about Rwanda is the people. They are kind, open, and welcoming. It’s never hard to find a friend, and there’s always an adventure to be had. Bonding over things we have in common, and others that we don’t brings us together. Friendship here is important, and staying in contact with friends is as well. If anything, being here has shown me that I was a crappy friend before!
— Lauren on living in Kigali, Rwanda
 

BEST PARTS OF living in Ethiopia

 Timothy Green, a Rastafarian poet, teacher, and expat of over ten years in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Timothy Green, a Rastafarian poet, teacher, and expat of over ten years in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

For me, waking up in the morning—I always hear prayers, and both Orthodox Christian and Muslim spiritual songs, as opposed to the radio traffic reports, sirens, helicopters, gunshots, etc. of L.A. and other U.S. urban centers.
— Timothy on living in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
 

BEST PARTS OF living in Uganda

 Kristen Woodruff catching a ride through Kampala on a local  boda boda  (motorcyle taxi).

Kristen Woodruff catching a ride through Kampala on a local boda boda (motorcyle taxi).

I love the weather, cost of living, food, natural fruits and vegetables, culture, the freedom, optimistic perspectives, experiences and the overall lifestyle. It’s wonderful to be around Black people and having the peace of mind and ease of life that I never really had in America. I love being in close proximity to other beautiful African nations here for travel opportunities. Overall, I’m happy that I decided to move to Uganda. I have learned to adapt to my environment despite the challenges along the way.
— Kristen on living in Kampala, Uganda
 

BEST PARTS OF living in Tanzania

 Michelle pictured center moved to Tanzania as a homeopathic teacher and mentor.

Michelle pictured center moved to Tanzania as a homeopathic teacher and mentor.

The weather—it’s hot! At least most of the time (LOL). I know this is probably an unexpected response, but I suffer from a connective tissue disorder which means my joints are constantly inflamed. I’ve used homeopathy for years so I’m generally relatively pain-free. However, living in the mountains of Connecticut where the winters could be brutal even for people in the best of health, I used to feel the cold in my joints a lot. Here I don’t have that issue. I also visit the U.S. in May, when the weather is warming up there but starting to get cold in Moshi. Yes, there is a kind of winter in Moshi too where it’s cool enough that people are wearing jackets!

I also love the diversity of the languages spoken. Although the official language in Tanzania is Kiswahili, there are many different local languages spoken. People call these local dialects their ‘mother tongue’. My job as a homeopath requires me to listen to people’s stories all day and so I have to work with translators. Imagine working in a Massai community with two translators, one translating from English to Kiswahili to another who translates from Kiswahili to Kimaasai, and then the reverse order. Even though I don’t know the languages, listening to my questions transformed across so many tongues is really fascinating to me.
— Michelle on living in Moshi, Tanzania
 

BEST PARTS OF LIVING in Kenya

 Jamal Bradley (pictured above) first moved to Kenya as a Peace Corps volunteer and eventually moved there permanently. 

Jamal Bradley (pictured above) first moved to Kenya as a Peace Corps volunteer and eventually moved there permanently. 

There are a lot of things I love about Kenya. The people are very friendly and down to earth. They are very open and you genuinely make good friends here. I remember when I first came here in 2000 and I used to frequent one small store to purchase juice. I would have a small conversation with an older lady who was the owner of the store, and one day I didn’t have any change, so she said to me “don’t worry about it, you’re my friend.” Coming from the States and more specifically Philly, you almost never become friends with someone after knowing them for only a few months. However, in Kenya it was different. We had actually become friends and it was just a normal thing that if two nice people meet, and they speak to one another, they are friends.

From a social and family perspective, it’s good for my family. We lived in the Gulf for a number of years (Oman, Saudi Arabia, along with a lot of visits to the United Arab Emirates) and in between, some time back in Philly. However, it got to the point in which as my children began to get older, I knew that it was important for them to be close to at least one side of the family. Thus with more business opportunities being apparent in Kenya, we decided to move here. Who knows, maybe at some point we’ll be going to Philly.
— Jamal on living in Mombasa, Kenya
 
 

Best parts of living in Kenya

 Pamela Mohamed and her husband pictured above.

Pamela Mohamed and her husband pictured above.

The quality of life is better here, especially for a family, and I’m able to spend more time with the kids.

Having an extra pair of hands (nanny/cook) to assist with cleaning, cooking, and transporting helps tremendously.

I love the weather. Ninety-nine percent of the time it’s perfect—not too hot and not too cold. I love that my family is eating organic fresh foods and as well as healthier less processed food.

Importantly, I feel more comfortable being a practicing Muslim. Our children are able to learn even more about our religion. I enjoy spending the Ramadan month of fasting even more than just the date because there’s much more of a community here, even among the non-Muslims. I was surprised how many Eid greetings I would receive from friends who are not Muslims.

Our children attend a British curriculum private school where they are taught multiple languages: French, Kiswahili, and Arabic, which I think is wonderful.

Everything is here! You can find any kind of restaurant, nice movie theatres, home massage treatments etc. And I have a young lady come to my house to do my daughter Naima’s and I’s hair.
— Pamela on living in Nairobi, Kenya
 

Best parts of living in Mali

 After serving in the Peace Corps, Tamara Thompson spent several years living and working in Bamako, Mali. 

After serving in the Peace Corps, Tamara Thompson spent several years living and working in Bamako, Mali. 

I think some of my fondest memories have to be during Peace Corps. I lived with a host family that I am still in contact with today. I love them very much.
— Tamara on living in Bamako, Mali
 

Best parts of living in Senegal

 Queen Sheba, a published author and the founder of a nonprofit operating in Dakar, Senegal.

Queen Sheba, a published author and the founder of a nonprofit operating in Dakar, Senegal.

Many parts of Senegalese culture are connected to and remind me of my own upbringing. My American roots are in Alabama and Louisiana. Many Senegalese arrived in the States from Senegal’s Gorée Island during the slave trade. You can still see the remnants of their presence in the American South.

For example, the patchwork quilts that you see in African American homes are a reminder of a popular cultural art activity from Senegal. The caring love of family and food is a big thing in both the southern U.S. and in Senegal. The similarities I see are a reminder to me that I have come home. The friendly Senegalese hospitality is also similar to the South. You’ve got to be still and connect the dots, and I continue to marry pieces together like a puzzle.
— Queen Sheba on living in Dakar, Senegal
 

Best parts of living in Liberia

 Teri (pictured left) and her family moved to Monrovia, Liberia for volunteer work. 

Teri (pictured left) and her family moved to Monrovia, Liberia for volunteer work. 

I loved being amongst my people without dealing with racial undertones. We didn’t have to deal with being treated differently based on the color of our skin because everyone around us had visible melanin in their skin. It was like being home.

Another aspect I enjoyed was eating fresh, organic food without overpaying for it. We raised chickens and ducks at our rental property and we bought fruits and vegetables from local growers. The food was so clean that it tasted different. I lost weight and I wasn’t even trying to. I felt vibrant and energetic every day.
— Teri on living in Monrovia, Liberia
 

Best parts of living in Nigeria

 Christopher Johnson pictured at a Worker's Day event in Nigeria.

Christopher Johnson pictured at a Worker's Day event in Nigeria.

This will be broad. But in the work I do I love the fact that Nigerians think on their feet and can implement a plan quickly. We do all the social media and phone contact that anyone in America would engage in, but there’s still value in developing personal relationships with people here. Sometimes what could be handled in a phone call is dealt with better by a short visit. There’s a community vibe to business dealings here.
— Christopher on living in Abuja, Nigeria
 

Best parts of living in Niger

 Tecie (center) spending time with her Nigerien colleagues.

Tecie (center) spending time with her Nigerien colleagues.

I love it’s simplicity and that it’s as natural as natural can get LOL. It definitely has an old, small town feel. You can’t walk three feet without seeing an animal of some sort. I also love how it’s an outdoor society. People are not normally indoors. They’re normally outside talking, walking, praying, or working. There is a lot of beauty in Niger and a lot to be learned if you are not stuck in your ways. You also have to take care of each and every relationship here because someone always knows someone who knows someone—so pay attention to how you treat people or it could come back to bite you.
— Tecie on living in Niamey, Niger
 

Best parts of living in Togo

 Yvette at her traditional wedding ceremony in her husband's Cameroonian village.

Yvette at her traditional wedding ceremony in her husband's Cameroonian village.

What I love most about living here is the weather, the beaches, and the easy-going lifestyle. There is not much to do in the way of attractions. But there are events that take place. For instance, when I first arrived we visited the house of slaves in Agbodrafo. We’ve been to the Trade Fair that happens annually, and also attended the 40th tribute to Bella Bellow.
— Yvette on living in Lomé, Togo
 

Best parts of living in Senegal

 After realizing the Peace Corps application process wasn't for her, Waameeka took her living abroad plans into her own hands, found a job online and moved to Senegal.

After realizing the Peace Corps application process wasn't for her, Waameeka took her living abroad plans into her own hands, found a job online and moved to Senegal.

For me, it’s the peace, beaches, and food. I’ve witnessed so many acts of community and kindness here that it made me realize how much of the negative aspects of American culture I carry.
— Waameeka on living in Dakar, Senegal
 

Best parts of living in Nigeria

 The U.S. recession sent Jocelyn (center) packing and she moved to Nigeria to continue her entrepreneurial dreams.

The U.S. recession sent Jocelyn (center) packing and she moved to Nigeria to continue her entrepreneurial dreams.

‬I love the idea that something I’m doing really has the ability to impact people. I am in a very non-traditional role. I’m a woman in construction, I’m an international investor, I’m African American. People really see something “different” and can imagine the possibilities for their lives.
— Jocelyn on living in Yenagoa, Bayelsa, Nigeria
 

Best parts of living in Libera

 Maya Atta spent her teenage years living in Monrovia, Liberia. She is pictured here in Liberia in a school year book photo. 

Maya Atta spent her teenage years living in Monrovia, Liberia. She is pictured here in Liberia in a school year book photo. 

The biggest influence is not feeling the necessity to live here in the U.S. I don’t have the fear to venture out and do things. In 1999, I moved to the Virgin Islands and lived there for six years.
— Maya on living in 1970s-1980s Liberia

Are you an African diasporan living who's fallen in love with life in Africa? Are you someone with an overall love for the Motherland? Share what you love most about all-things Africa in the comments below! Happy Africa Day!

adviceEditorComment