peres owino

AFRICANS VS THE AFRICAN DIASPORA

“I believe that when you wrestle with your demons in public, they cease to haunt you in private,” says Kenyan born writer, producer and director Peres Owino well known for the documentary Bound: Africans vs. African Americans, Indeed, It would be ridiculous and ignorant to say that there exists no chasm or rift between Africans, African-Americans, Afro-Latinos, Afro-Caribbeans and Afro-Europeans. The conversation about the state of the black race within the context of the larger human family is one that is very necessary to have.

Why do Africans and people of African descent hailing from elsewhere appear to hate each other? Good question. There are several reasons why. The following will provide a good summary.

·         Misconceptions among African Diaspora that Africans are tree climbing, starving naked monkeys that can be saved by donating one dollar a month.

·         Misconceptions among African Diaspora that Africans did not contribute to the overall struggle for the race and that they somehow ‘suffered less’.

·         Belief that Africans cruelly sold the African Diaspora as slaves.

·         Belief that Africans are arrogant and disrespectful to African Diaspora.

·         Belief that Africans just love licking the white man’s foot.

·         Misconceptions among Africans that African Diaspora are uncultured and not purely African

·         Belief among Africans that African Diaspora are lazy and useless to the economies of the countries they reside in.

·         Belief among Africans that African Diaspora are unconcerned about Africa’s future and therefore irrelevant to the African story.

Now onto my favorite part of this article where we debunk all this crazy and childish (If I may say) myths that so effortlessly make a fool out of the hope of total Pan-African unity. Firstly, it is ludicrous for anyone let alone people of African descent to be in the 21st century and still believe that Africans are primitive nude apes dying of Aids and Ebola. Anybody that still holds on to that belief should do some research and stop leisurely displaying their ignorance and gobbling down what the media shows them and taking it as gospel truth. I even once read a comment on snap chat from an American shocked beyond measure by the site of thousands of snaps from Nairobi (the Kenyan capital) while he thought there were only three phones in the whole country. Another posted that he couldn’t believe the people “whose drinking water he was paying for” had smart phones. The reason all this is laughable is because Nairobi is just one city in a country that has several and there are 54 independent states in Africa and years of information, cultural exchange and knowledge about the state of Africa. Talk about ignorance by choice.

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Review: Peres Owino's "Bound: Africans vs. African Americans" (2014)

Storytelling has always been an important practice among African and African American communities. Through storytelling, the peoples of these two groups have been able to teach and learn valuable lessons, convey their histories, and have been able to provide answers to life’s questions. Such storytelling is found in Bound: Africans vs. African Americans, an illuminating documentary by Kenyan-born Peres Owino about the rarely discussed tension that exists between Africans and African Americans. The film traces the tensions back centuries to the trans-Atlantic slave trade, the crucial moment when the two groups split in the first place. Now, as the film documents, the two communities primarily know each other through stereotypes.

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