Diaspora Shorts: Untold Stories

TOPSHOTS People wait after disembarking from tanker Maria Bottiglieriin carrying more than 110 Central African migrants, men and women, on April 15, 2015 in the port of Corigliano Calabro. Italian coastguards intercepted 42 boats on April 12 and 13, carrying 6,500 migrants attempting to make the hazardous crossing to Europe. AFP PHOTO / ALFONSO DI VINCENZO

Diaspora Shorts: Untold Stories is a series of short but pertinent stories hardly ever told in the mainstream, if at all, about the real experiences of immigrants from Africa when they eventually get to Europe and reside here especially in the United Kingdom. The popular images and narratives of the African migrant and desperate migration gloss over many common and inescapable realities they encounter and live with sometimes permanently. The “better life” (economic and social) most of the immigrants come to Europe to seek remains a never-ending mirage no matter how long they live here or how hard they work and many have only bitter regrets for the risks and sacrifices they and sometimes their families made for them to get here. The immigrants never imagined a life of doing jobs Europeans tend to abhor or suffer crimes and victimisations (at the hands of residents and surprisingly their own people) they cannot report because they are illegal residents. Of all fears of the African immigrant, that of deportation or the failure of a leave to stay application are incomparably the greatest. The culture shock due to migration is also an experience that is hard for immigrants to share with many living evidently in Europe while mentally in their home society, indefinitely. Stories of those who voluntarily return to Africa despite the tough conditions is unthinkable to many. Racial discrimination is taken as a given. Not surprisingly, there are immigrants who are very happy to have made it to and settled in Europe, and forget their homelands and societies completely.

All in all, it is an “it is good for some bad for most” story series about the experiences of African migrants in Europe.

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