Lately at Chenesai Brand, we have been questioning what it means for Africa to have African women in the diaspora. Looking back at a photo shoot with one of our African clients who has lived in Dallas for a number of years, this question became amplified.
Our vision at Chenesai is to remember, recover and reveal that which has sustained the African woman of color through the fashion lens. Each piece is carved with a story in mind and the beauty of creating clothing and conceptualising designs is seeing how each piece translates differently, with each woman.
As Africans, we grow up with a yearning for greener pastures and this is backed by research including the UN report on Economic Development in Africa, which underlines the search for economic opportunities as an important driver for mobility. Female migration is particularly highlighted as being of growing importance in Africa according to the report, rising from 7.4 million in 1990 to 11.6million in 2017.
The diaspora evidently houses a significant number of African women and their stories are multifaceted. Several African women who have lived in the diaspora return home and become pivotal in pushing for social change. An example that comes to mind is Chimamanda Adichie, who has advocated for feminism with her experience of growing up in Africa and being educated in the diaspora.
What does this mean for Africa? Does this mean anything? Do these women owe Africa anything?
The purpose of this article is to pose questions as opposed to solutioning, to explore and start a conversation on what it means to have these African women in the diaspora.
We all have a sister, relative or a mother living in the diaspora. Feel free to share what this means to you on our Instagram page @chenesaibrand or Twitter page @chenesaimangoma.