I stopped being the coloniser.

Apart from my Christianity, my other root is my African identity. My Africanness ground me, it makes me feel like I have roots. It wasn’t always like this though…

I think in many people’s eyes Maasais are first tourist attractions then fashion ideas then barbaric and then people. Unfortunately, before ALA my eyes saw the same things. My father would take us to Olmotonyi, our village every holiday but I would spend most of my time in our huge house and Facebook. Once in a while I would walk out to milk cows or count sheep so that I would not lie if dad asked us if we had milked. I would also walk out enough times to wash dishes and the like so mum wouldn’t complain as much.I would also sit and think about the customs of these people who circumcised women and shake my head in disgust.

In my African studies as we explored the image of Africa I realised that the images that we condemned were the same ones I held and it was in these African Studies classes that Africa was born in me. In fact I remember how I was too angry to pay attention in a class about colonialism and I wrote a poem on my loathinf for colonialism which I later published on my blog shanicewritingforhim.wordpress.com . I cannot remember in which order but what I call my acts of African renaissance soon followed after the blogpost. They included: cutting off my hair after reading Americanah, listening to the ‘How to Speak Maasai” DVD, falling in love with Hugh Masekela and getting angry as I sang Stimela in the shower, locking my hair, increasing African attires in my wardrobe, listening to Fela Kuti, Asa, Emmy Kosgei and Makeba and having them as role models, stepping out of the huge house more often, changing my preferred name from Shanice to Chebet and taking great interest in as my mum told me about projects for the Maa people. In short, at ALA I stopped being the colonizer. I even suspect that one of the reasons I am so bent on going to Witwatersrand University is because I do not want to have to “come back to Africa”, I want to never leave.