It’s September! And I am pleased to announce the launch of Ancestries: A short story collection.

This collection of stories came from the realization that identities and belonging are two sides of the same coin; intertwined into our human need to be and live fully as an individual AND in community. Who we are and how we identify, will dictate the communities and spaces where we can find belonging. Each one of us must form/transform our sense of identity and belonging in order to bring our best to the world. We do this, through our own stories and narratives about who we are and how we fit, or do not, into society. We shape our worlds by our stories.

However, in order to belong, to integrate into the world around us, each of us must self-differentiate, a natural part of our human development. I must get clear who I am. The process of becoming an individual. Then, and only then, can I choose where I belong in society. This isn’t always a simple process because of two reasons. First, where cultural norms we are born into assume on behalf of individuals, who they are, and second, where the society at large further classifies a social hierarchy of dominant groups and others. Global Africans, especially ‘black’ Africans, face both challenges.

Global Africans are that community of peoples born on or off the continent who live a significant part of their lives in global spaces. From an identity perspective, African cultures have broadly been described as a sociogenic worldview by African developmental psychologist, A. Bame Nsamenang. This worldview assumes individuation depends on enacting social roles and communal responsibilities as central to selfhood. This is most commonly framed and best described in the popularised Ubuntu description of this philosophy from southern Africa—I am because you/we are. This continues to apply to global Africans who must then live between this sociogenic world and the global cultures they also inhabit.

From a belonging perspective, the social status of ‘other’ means global Africans are often struggling for belonging—both because of historical realities that have stripped cultural artefacts and anchors of belonging from global Africans and because of ongoing narrow views and narratives of what it means to be an African. This means global Africans will often find themselves underrepresented in mainstream spaces. They must both find their own ways of receiving support and validation and negotiate how they integrate into society. It is a complex and delicate dance to be in this liminal space between worlds.

Ancestries builds on Identities: A short story collection, to imagine and portray ways in which a variety of global African characters—multicultural and multiracial—negotiate their sense of self and belonging. They do so within a world where their sense of rootedness and belonging must cross racial, cultural, continental and generational divides. My hope is to share some narratives of the possibilities that emerge from this creative space I have experienced and exist in. I hope to portray global Africans in more shades of the bridge-building, resilient capacity, ingenuity and love we bring to a world that desperately needs these qualities. This short story collection also highlights the agency and choices global Africans must regularly make to transcend artificial boundaries and claim belonging in our world.

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