I became enthralled by Thabo Mbeki in 1996, at 14 years old, when he gave an incredible speech titled, “I Am an African” to mark the celebration of the new South African Constitution, post democracy.

That speech followed me around. Over the years, I would hear or read that speech everywhere, all the time. I finally grew old enough to understand its meaning and truly connect with its ideas about our continent, and about me as an African woman living in the continent. As an African woman with a wide stretching African identity, growing up in a specific corner of the continent. I have often reproached myself for who I was, that I was so varying, so different; from two families born outside of South Africa, a first generation South African woman.

What I have learned about Africa is that it is big, broad and multi-cultured. I am privileged enough to know a sense of its multi-cultured nature because I am exactly that. Thabo Mbeki’s speech would finally make sense to me as I have become a full woman; I am indeed an African.

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