Abstract:Not all migrants become Diasporas and not all Diasporas can be labeled as migrants. With that understanding, it is therefore pressing to start this paper by trying to have the rudimentary understanding of what the diaspora means. From what we understand diaspora is a word of Greek origin meaning “to sow over or scatter.” Before this time, the historical Jewish experience gave us the prototype for better explanation which means: compelled expulsion and dispersal, persecution, experience of loss and the quest to return.
For a long time now, however, the word “diaspora” has been described as a term for internal identification among various ethnicities and groups who have migrated or ancestors migrated from one part of the globe to another or to many other places if you may.
As cited in many online scholarships and websites, most self-construed Diasporas do not stress the mournful aspects long attached to the orthodox Jewish, African, or Hispanic Diasporas; rather they find themselves in the euphoria of cultural creativity, social integration and sometimes utopian disposition.
To identify with the diaspora encompasses a consciousness of, or sentimental attachment to, commonly declared origins and cultural connotations attached to them. Such origins and attachments usually dwell on ethno-linguistic, sectorial, religious, religion or other characteristics. Worry for development of the homeland and the misfortune of fellow diaspora members within or outside their community stems from the awareness and sentimental attachment.
This definition gives rise to queries about the number of generations passed, extent of linguistic ability, degree of co-ethnic social relations, number of times of celebration of festivals, ethnic delicacies served or even style of apparels donned. The way ethnicity is paraded or displayed does not necessarily determine the degree at which someone might feel themselves a member of the diaspora community.
The effect of the African Diaspora is now more than ever being felt back in Africa. African diaspora now expends growing increasing influence on the domestic policies of the countries they have left, but still emotionally attached to. One example is the Ghanaian Diaspora organizations in Europe and North America that have pushed for the government’s approval of dual citizenship so as to get voting rights in the country. This request was granted in 2002 allowing Ghanaians of dual nationalities to participate in the electoral processes back home. Ghana is one of the African countries in which a third of its highly skilled and trained human capital live outside the country.
This paper posits that despite the increasing number of diaspora literature, the glorification and exultation of the diaspora always override the conundrum of the diaspora members and intended members that sometimes get trapped in traffic; some making it through and some not too lucky.
It starts by exploring the various understanding and interpretations of the African diaspora, the economic and financial contributions of members of the diaspora; political influence, the gap between African culture and that of the homeland and how the schism has been a bottleneck. It further explores the aspiration of members of the diaspora to be engaged in policy domains concerning their homeland beyond just the scope of migration, integration and trade. It also takes a critical look at the dangers faced by migrants in their pursuit to get to a foreign land and be counted in the diaspora community.
Presently, many African governments acknowledge the need to grant special treatment to the demands of their Diaspora. They are equally looking at ways of guiding their citizens in their dealings and activities outside the shores of their homeland. Nigeria, for example, has an office designed specifically to advise the diaspora community under the Diaspora Commission Bill 2017.
In the same vein, the Senegalese government also has its own institution for the diaspora under the ministry of foreign and diaspora affairs. The African Union (AU) is equally canvassing the African diaspora.
The AU plans to integrate the diaspora in its scheme of things to help create a better Africa that will make all Africans proud of their heritage anywhere they find themselves. The AU sees the diaspora as the sixth region of the continent. This zealous initiative no doubt indicates the value placed on the economic and transnational networking positions that African Diaspora now take up in the 21st century going forward.
Keywords:Africa diaspora, government, homeland, identity, integration, migration.
UNDERSTANDING THE EXULTATION OF THE AFRICAN DIASPORA AND THE EXERTION OF AFRICAN IMMIGRANTS
International Journal of Novel Research in Humanity and Social Sciences