My identity was always difficult to explain to other people. I am a mixed woman, my mum is Spanish and my dad is Nigerian (which I discovered at the beginning of 2018), but in the mystery of my childhood, my father decided to leave me before I was born. Soon after, my mother met an amazing man who was there when I opened my eyes for the first time and raised me like his own child.However, both he, my mother, and the rest of my family are white. As a consequence of this, I was risen in a white country with white family.Moreover, I was the only black kid in the town. Despite of the love of my family, at an early age I realised my skin colour was a problem for some people. The only black people I’ve ever seen in my country were from Mali, Senegal, and Guinea which were on the streets or beaches trying to survive by selling things like sunglasses, perfumes or football t-shirts. However, it wasn’t until my 20’s when I decided to travel to London for a week that my eyes started to open up, and I realised the amount of things I did not know about black people outside my country, apart from the mainstream music from the USA. Things like natural hair products, music, African music, patterns, and Caribbean and African food started to settle in my mind.
When I came back, my curious mind couldn’t stop trying to investigate about Spanish involvement in Slavery Trade, its colony in Equatorial Guinea, and racial problems in Spain. Also, as United States is the role model for the rest of the countries, and the main source of information, every story related to racism or achievements were easy to find, and well-known worldwide. Three years ago, Spain started its own journey talking about race issues, creating afrofestivals, communities and organisations which I ended up being involved with. However, even though I was surrounded by brothers and sisters with similar problems as me, most of them knew their African background, or at least their parents were African. In my case, I could not relate a lot of things because I grew up in a white circle. I was never interested in searching for my heritage or my biological dad because I was living a place with love, where my colour did not mean anything.
However, in one of those festivals a comment from another brother got me thinking and even bothered me. He asked me where my origins came from which I replied with a sad facethat I did notknow. He replied thatit didn’t matter as long as I felt African. Then I thought, how do I feel African? Just because I am black? There are a lot of countries in Africa with different traditions, culture, and customs, so should I feel I’m from Cameroon, or Senegal? I thenstarted debating with myself. I couldn’t feel African if I didn’t know where my dad came from;I felt I was faking with my identity. I moved back to London but that question was in my head all the time, the more I was making friends from Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Uganda, Congo, etc, the more the curiosity hunted me. During a whole year, my relationship with African cultures was growing quickly, therefore I could not wait any longer to know my heritage. Soon later, I decided to take a DNA test to find out where my father came from.
Before I share the results, I must say that before I took the test, I started to learn more about the African continent.through studying for my master’s degree:I learned a lot of Africa’s politics, civil wars, economy, colonisation, and more.I started reading more books [written only by Africans] about history, politics, society, and culture. After all the information I was obtaining and my relations with African and Caribbean people, I was ready to take the DNA test. I patiently waited three months until the results finally arrived in March. I had a strong feeling that I was going to be from West Africa; it was obvious due to the migration flows from Africa to Spain, as you hardly find people from Rwanda, Mozambique or South Africa. When I opened the document I was nervous, but I had a big smile in my face. My dad is [was] from NIGERIA.
Whereas, I found out a little bit of myself, my identity still felt uncompleted. 25 years involved inside the western culture, I cannot feel Nigerian all of a sudden just from the results, but I can say that my journey into self-discovery is just beginning.My purpose now is to travel to different countries in Africa, the Caribbean and South America to learn and connect with its people, to finally become me: Jessica 🌎