If you don't know where you are going, go back to where you came from
A Cameroonian woman learns that her children have Gallic ancestors
“I am originally from Cameroon, from the Bamilékés tribe in the west of Cameroon, more precisely from Bayangam. I immigrated to France in 2009 for my studies and became an accountant in a consulting firm in the Paris area. Two of my children were born in France and spent part of their early childhood there. My husband is also Bayangam and we attach great importance to passing on the Cameroonian Bamileke culture to our children.
When we moved to Dubai 4 years ago, we enrolled our children in a French school whose educational system, from a certain grade, allows them to know and learn the history of France. Indeed, my daughter, in third grade, was learning at that time a little history and specifically the history of the Gauls. Very interesting you may say! So what was my surprise when one evening at dinner, she told me about this course and had a sentence that began with : “our ancestors the Gauls”. Well, in a context where we attach great importance to our Cameroonian roots, I admit that I was a little confused. I let her finish, then I took a few minutes to explain to her that indeed, being French, her ancestors were certainly the Gauls, but that there were also, in the same way, her Bamilékés ancestors; the most important thing was to explain to her the immense luck of having several ancestors; of growing up and of being in contact with several different cultures.
We usually tell them: “if you don’t know where you are going, go back to where you came from”, specifying Cameroon or France for the time being, because these are the two places where we have a very large family and very strong ties.
It was interesting to have this opportunity to talk about her origins, and more broadly, her identity which of course we understand will evolve over time.”
Who's Telling the Story?
Christiane is a French-Cameroonian woman who has been living in Dubai with her family for 4 years. She is the founder of an events company and another company that promotes and sells Senegalese decorative baskets.
You can find her on Instagram: @dubai_afro_taste for all the events she coordinates and facebook: @kakno_arts for the Senegalese baskets she sells.
Place : Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Date : 2020
What do You Think?
Have you – or your children – ever questioned your/their origins?
Does this experience question you?
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