Message to everyone,
Hi. My name is Kamdi Okonjo and I am a Christian, Igbo girl from Nigeria. Those are apparently ‘important’ details that people need to know. I have faced different difficulties that have helped me towards my road to adulthood. As I have grown, I have found that these difficulties are not unique to me and torment many other people in various countries across Africa, Europe, and North and South America.
I remember when at about 14 or 15 years old, my sisters and I decided to go on a bike ride. On our way back to the house, we noticed a large silver van heading towards us. So, of course we moved out of the way. As we rode towards the roundabout, the van approached the right side of the roundabout (we were on the left side) then the man looked at us, reversed and headed straight towards my little sister who was around 7 or 8 at the time. We all looked to each other confused, mainly because he did not stop. He was accompanied by who I assume was his wife and his little, blonde haired child. My sisters and I quickly pulled my little sister out of the way. He then stopped the van, looked at us through his window, stuck up his middle finger and said the ‘n’ word to us. He then proceeded to drive away quickly as we all stood there in shock. At the time, I did not know what the middle finger stood for. But I helped my sisters on their bikes so we could ride back to our house to tell our parents about the interesting events that had just transpired. It did not occur to me at that time, that a man who had never seen us before and had no idea who we were, was pushed to hit and kill us merely because of the colour of our skin.
I remember watching TV on the sofa in the living room at home, and checking what channels had interesting shows, only to go past the news channels and hear Nigeria and South Africa mentioned. I heard that South Africans were protesting against Nigerians and many other people from sub-Saharan African countries. Nigerians were particularly singled out because they were apparently ‘stealing’ their jobs and the men were ‘stealing’ their women. In the words of my Aunt: Mrs Ngozi Okonjo Iweala, ‘Nigerians have a reputational overhang’. However, I didn’t think anything of these ‘minor’ protests, until I heard that one Nigerian had actually been killed and several of their shops were destroyed and looted. I also heard that many foreigners had to stay in camps guarded by South African officials because they feared for their lives. I saw the protests on CNN and watched other videos online.
Recently, I had been talking to someone over the phone and it was a casual conversation. We both found out we were Nigerian and we were super chilled about it. Until he asked me, what tribe I was from. I did not know what that had to do with anything, so I asked him ‘Why?’. He told me that he was just curious and wanted to know. So I told him that I am Igbo. He replied with, ‘Oh. Yoruba’s are better than Igbos.’ I did not see why one tribe had to be better than the other or why it was so proclaimed that my tribe was apparently inferior. I hope, he said that innocently, but I could not help but wonder, why that banter? Why that joke? That sparked my interest. I started to read up on it and I actually found out that contrary to his opinion, Igbos are considered the Jews of Africa and are exceptionally gifted in business, commerce and the intellectual fields. On these three problems. I must say, I feel quite enlightened.
Through reading up on these unnecessary issues that pervade the world, it gave me a goal. Why do we still have to deal with these problems today? I feel that there is no point for my generation to carry on a history of hate for ones tribe, race and country from our grandparents, parents, great-grandparents and ancestors. So I decided to create this website. TEEN TATE. The Alliance for Teen Excellence. I want to try to build the bridge between teens from different races, tribes, and countries across my country: Nigeria, South Africa and hopefully to the wider world. I believe that since we are the generation that is to carry this world after our parents, we should try and find solutions to problems that many are facing today.
I founded this website on my Christian values and my Christian beliefs.
On this website, there is a chatroom where teenagers are open to discuss what they read on the news and on this website. After they read it, they can discuss solutions to the issues in the world. I believe teenagers have a great role to play in bridging the gap in the great divide on issues of race, tribalism and xenophobia. My website strictly focuses on these three problems from a sound, Christian, biblical point of view.
I hope all of you are enlightened and love this place. I want Teen Tate to be a place where we contribute our voices towards solving these issues.