AfREC convenes Africa Day 2019 public event on ‘Growing up African in Australia’

To celebrate Africa Day 2019, AfREC convened an interactive public panel discussion and book launch on the theme of ‘Growing up African in Australian’ at UWA on the evening of Friday 24 May.

For the event, AfREC partnered with the UWA School of Social Sciences, UWA African Students Union (ASU), Organisation of African Communities in WA (OAC) and Black Inc. Books,

Janine Freeman MLA, Member for Mirrabooka, on behalf of Hon. Peter Tinley, WA Minister for Youth, launched in WA the new book by Black Inc. entitled Growing up African in Australia, alongside co-editor Ahmed Yussuf, who travelled from Melbourne for the event as a guest of AfREC.

Ms Freeman highlighted the importance of telling stories in understanding people’s diverse experiences, as well as how books like this one are crucial in challenging stereotypes and intolerance in society. The book had earlier been launched at the Immigration Museum in Melbourne on 31 March. Copies of the book can be purchased in Perth via Boffins Books.

From the book’s cover:

‘I was born in Harare, the capital of Zimbabwe.’ ‘My dad was a freedom fighter, waging war for an independent state: South Sudan.’ ‘We lived in a small country town, in the deep south of Western Australia.’ ‘I never knew black people could be Muslim until I met my North African friends.’ ‘My mum and my dad courted illegally under the Apartheid regime.’ ‘My first impression of Australia was a housing commission in the north of Tasmania.’ ‘Somalis use this term, “Dhaqan Celis”. “Dhaqan” means culture and “Celis” means return.’

Learning to kick a football in a suburban schoolyard. Finding your feet as a young black dancer. Discovering your grandfather’s poetry. Meeting Nelson Mandela at your local church. Facing racism from those who should protect you. Dreading a visit to the hairdresser. House- hopping across the suburbs. Being too black. Not being black enough. Singing to find your soul, and then losing yourself again.

Welcome to African Australia.

Compiled by award-winning author Maxine Beneba Clarke, with curatorial assistance from writers Ahmed Yussuf and Magan Magan, this anthology brings together voices from the regions of Africa and the African diaspora, including the Caribbean and the Americas. Told with passion, power and poise, these are the stories of African-diaspora Australians.