Yesterday, I mused about the terminology used to describe migrants from countries regarded as “developing” when they venture into nations that are seen to be “developed”. The flip side of the coin, when folks from prosperous countries travel to less wealthy ones is to call the migrants “expatriates”. This is what I remember from reading print media in Nigeria and other African countries.
Since real life is never as simplistic as some people would like it to be, I would like to look at the generalised impression that is conveyed by many “expatriates” when they spend time amongst Africans.
Some “expatriates” who happen to be of African descent – in other words, from the USA, South America or the Caribbean are likely to have different experiences from those folks who happen to be of another race, when they are surrounded by Black Africans. This is probably natural, since most of us relate with more ease to folks who share similar features to us.
On the other hand there are exceptional cases of people who would have been regarded as “expatriates” at a certain point, but who made huge strides in their efforts to settle into indigenous communities, thus becoming much loved and respected members of the society.
Susanne Wenger is a great example of a European who became fully integrated into the Yoruba community of Oshogbo, to extent of becoming a priestess of a Yoruba deity’s fellowship and the guardian of the deity’s shrine.