What does it mean to be a black African woman (bAw)? Who is she? Why is she on this earth? What is her contribution to this world?
Over the most recent years, I have been learning so much about life: God; relationships; family; faith; becoming an assured lady of God; rocking natural hair; and discovering my purpose, amongst other things. I’ve always been driven to push myself to grow and not be content with my internal status quo. God has told me that I was created for Him, to glorify Him and for a greater purpose than I could imagine (Proverbs 16:4; 1 Corinthians 10:31).
Walking this journey has proved highly challenging especially as a black, African, Christian lady. I have endlessly searched the internet to find out what it means to be a child of God especially as a bAw. I have received some amazing information from profound and inspiring blogs and websites including Elegant Woman, She Is More, Grace and Poise, Teach Me the Bible, Heather Lindsey and numerous other readings. I wanted more practical information to build on the lessons I had learnt from the Bible and other Biblical readings. How could I put these powerful lessons into practice? How could I find out who I am? How could I become the lady I was created to be? How could I allow God to heal my wounded and broken heart and worth? How could I find out and fulfil my purpose on this earth?
These sources of information were truly inspiring and have impacted my life in such a powerful way! However, as I continued to visit these sites, something struck me – there was no black African Christian woman writing about this stuff – well at least not online or as far as I could see. Most of the sites were written by White or Asian women in other parts of the world. The closest I got was one of my favourite authors who is black American – Heather Lindsey. I have no problem with them sharing this information because it is so useful; but, there are some missing links for me. There are some issues/struggles that they don’t touch on that we bAw have to deal with – how do I find my purpose in a community and culture that has so strictly drawn out my path? How do I become a lady with my natural, kinky, hard-to-manage hair in Africa where products are limited? How do I learn to wait on the best man for me in spite of the fears that arise because statistically I’m least likely to enter into a relationship let alone a wholesome one? So many questions, no-one to truly answer them.
Herein lies my passion. As a young black lady, I have always been burdened by the story of the bAw. She has come from a dark, confused, often violent and dictated past. The bAw has always been told how to behave – from the days of her slave masters; to her family telling her when to get married and to whom; to the media today. bAw have struggled in finding their identity. I see it in how we will wear someone else’s hair on our head; or wear someone else’s eyelashes on our face; or fight so hard to be heard and to validate our position; or stay in situations because that’s what we’ve always known or been told. That truly makes me sad. Don’t get me wrong – the bAw is strong and has done so much for the community and family. I will never take away from that because I have a mother who’s done this. But in giving so blindly to others, she has forgotten to find out who she is.
Imagine a bAw who understood who she was; Whose she was; what her worth was; what she had to offer the world; and where she was going. Our world would be so different from what it is today. Maybe as bAw we wouldn’t be fighting and striving so much amongst ourselves to get ahead. Maybe we wouldn’t be bringing each other down so much. There would be more than enough room for each one of us to shine. Maybe we wouldn’t be enduring the abuse and violence we experience because we would know Whose we are. The possibilities are endless!
It is my hope that now the voice of the bAw will rise and be heard. Not in terms of poetry bemoaning her sorrows and pain. Not in terms of how strong she has been in spite of all the injustices she’s faced. Not in a rage to assert that she is independent and can do what she wants when she wants (all the while crying on the inside). But to move beyond that – to move towards who she has always been but just never knew. bAw, it’s time to discover yourself.
Please remember to share your thoughts below and know that I’m praying for you!