I was born in Harare, the capital of Zimbabwe.
My dad was a freedom fighter, waging war for an independent state: South Sudan.
We lived in a small country town, in the deep south of Western Australia.
I never knew black people could be Muslim until I met my North African friends.
My mum and my dad courted illegally under the Apartheid regime.
My first impression of Australia was a housing commission in the north of Tasmania.
Somalis use this term, “Dhaqan Celis”. “Dhaqan” means culture and “Celis” means return.
Learning to kick a football in a suburban schoolyard. Finding your feet as a young black dancer. Discovering your grandfather’s poetry. Meeting Nelson Mandela at your local church. Facing racism from those who should protect you. Dreading a visit to the hairdresser. House- hopping across the suburbs. Being too black. Not being black enough. Singing to find your soul, and then losing yourself again.
Welcome to African Australia.
Compiled by award-winning author Maxine Beneba Clarke, with curatorial assistance from writers Ahmed Yussuf and Magan Magan, this anthology brings together voices from the regions of Africa and the African diaspora, including the Caribbean and the Americas. Told with passion, power and poise, these are the stories of African-diaspora Australians.
Contributors include Faustina Agolley, Santilla Chingaipe, Carly Findlay, Khalid Warsame, Nyadol Nyuon, Tariro Mavondo and many, many more.
‘A deeply moving and unforgettable read – there is something to learn from each page. FOUR AND A HALF STARS’ —Books+Publishing
‘A complex tapestry of stories specific in every thread and illuminating as a whole … The wonderful strength of this anthology lies in the easily understood and the never imagined.’ —Readings
‘In the face of structural barriers to health care, education, housing and employment, the narratives in Growing Up African are tempered with stories of deep courage, hope, resilience and endurance.’ —The Conversation
‘Growing Up African in Australia is almost painfully timely. It speaks to the richness of a diaspora that is all too often deprived of its nuances … Lively, moving, and often deeply affecting, it is an absolute must-read. FOUR AND A HALF STARS’ —The AU Review