I know now that I will never be anything but a tourist destination you want to visit. Somewhere you want to tell all your friends you are going. Somewhere you want to take pictures in, make memories, spend money in and then leave.
I know now that I will never be anything more than a country to you. A place. Somewhere exotic. Somewhere different. I know I embody the “otherness” that colonialists made seem attractive. But you forget that where I’m from is just a location, a destination, who I am is the home within that location.
To the southern African boys that have found my east africanness “exotic”. To the east african boys that think I’m south African and can’t wait to tell their friends of how “she doesn’t speak your language. She is not from around here”. There is more than countries in this here body. There is more than aesthetics and good English with a touch of an accent I know nothing of. There is feeling and the search of companionship that isn’t based on where I’m from. There is lonely sometimes and lots of fear and anxiety about my life and career.
So next time you think of approaching me based on where you think I’m from, remember the human that lies behind your fantasy vacation location.
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