Excuse me, Are you Sure you are Ghanaian?

Ga. Ashanti. Ewe. Fante. These are a few of many Ghanaian ethnicities. Believe it or not, Ghana is populated by a cool 23,000,000 people. With this is in mind, let me ask one question: Why on earth would anyone expect all Ghanaians to look the same?

As a Ghanaian woman living in London, this is a question that has wandered around my mind for some time now, and has still found no answer. Seriously, if I got one pesewa every time I was asked if I was Ghanaian, I would be a millionaire by now. I would be even richer if I received a pesewa for every time my response (a big YES) was followed by a look of surprise from my interlocutor. What do I need to do to prove to you that I am not Nigerian, Caribbean, Sierra Leonan and all the other nationalities I'm apparently supposed to be?

For those who walk around expecting me to be a few shades lighter than a black board and short with too much junk to fit in the trunk just because I happen to be of Ghanaian descent, you really need to take a trip back to Accra and take a good look around.

I remember being at a cousin's wedding. I was speaking to a family member, when I noticed a man nearby staring at me. Although I carried on with my conversation, I was becoming a bit unnerved by how intently I was being stared at. I was beginning think I can't take any more of this when he finally approached me and rudely interrupted my conversation, "eh! excuse me, are you a Ghanaian?"
"Um, yeah" (that was me, a little surprised about the audacity of some people). I then got the once over as this man's eyes slowly ran over my body, from head to toe. When he was done, he focused on my face again and responded "it's up to you."


Although I understand for each nationality there may be a 'typical look', I don't get why people act shocked when they stumble upon someone who looks different from 'the typical'. It's not as if I go through life never expecting to be asked where I am from, I just find it very annoying when I am treated like a compulsive liar.


10 opinionated people have something to say:

Abena said...

It's up to you?! that's hilarious! lol it's funny how each African nationality has specific features attributed to them, especially considering all the multicultural and multinational marriages within the continent alone. you really can't expect us all to look a certain way anymore.

Myne Whitman said...

I don't get what he meant by that. Did he think you were lying? What cheek indeed, LOL. Abena is right, I don't think there are any typical looks, also considering that ethnicities blur over country lines and you have Yoruba in Benin and Hausa in Ghana etc..

Afrocentric said...

I think you have worded it a bit better than I did Abena. It's specific looks attributed to a specific nationality rather than a typical look.

I was really offended at the man's comment. As if I wouldn't know where I am from. If you think that was audacious, what about this one guy I remember speaking to: He asked me where I was from, and when I said "Ghanaian", his response was "naw! you are too pretty for that". Talk about a back handed compliment!

Nana Yaw Asiedu said...

I do not know what you look like, but I can understand why people would think somebody did not look Ghanaian. And thank you for saying "ethnicities" and not the very racist "tribes"!

Afrocentric said...

Nana Yaw, I HATE the word "tribe" as well.

Ms Bossman said...

WORD! im feelin u sis! dis has been the bain of my life for many years now! now u know me i think im as ghanain as they come, but literally on a daily basis im told 'noooo ur not Ghanain!' Grrrrr it drives me mad! so wot im not dark, get over it. Ghanains r beautiful whatever shade and booty size lol! there, ive finished my rant for 2day! lol

Pablo said...

As a white man who has been to Ghana I know the difference between a Ga and an Ashanti (at least I think I do :D )Ga's have wide noses and are very black skinned, like matt black ?
Ashanti are lighter skinned like caramel? with slimmer noses.

Would I be right to continue to think this way?

As for ones nationality that has many issues determined by more than just where you were born.

Afrocentric said...

woah woah woah Pablo! you are about to upset a whole load of Ghanaians with that comment! You are def NOT right to think this way!

Friday's Afro said...

pablo's joking innit? i'm laughing so he must be joking

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