Sunday, July 01, 2007

All Over the Map

It's not just my heritage that's all over the map. My feelings are scattered about who I am, who I come from (you read that right), and where the country of my soul is. The reality is no less confusing. I'm a South African with German, Dutch, and French Hugenot heritage, living in the US.

The duality of dual citizenship, leaves me torn between two continents, two hemispheres, and the stark contrasts of third vs. first world existances.

While I love being immersed in America, and have my future here, my past lies in Mother Africa's womb. The cradle of existance, the country of my birth. I'm forever tethered to her by my childhood, my family, my language and my culture. The umbilical cord of twelve generations ties me to her. She is in the memories of smells and the faces of fellow Africans I meet.

Even as I witness myself becoming more American each day, I long for the sting of the African sun on my skin, the sounds of huge family get-togethers, and the ease of not having to explain myself, my name, my being or my birth country's horrid past.

The country of my soul has no border, no government, no allegiance. It is a passport-free, bureaucracy-free zone straddling generations of migration fueled by persecution, a longing for freedom, and a Babel of languages.

I am neither here nor there, neither African nor American, and yet I am the sum of these disparate parts.

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