Super.Full. Stories – Day 3: The Mzungu

When Fatma and I went to Zanzibar with MAISHA and DFI (the Doha Film Institute) to develop Super.Full. and Fatma’s script, I didn’t know very well what to expect. My only “real” knowledge of Africa had been through a post card that my friend Chadi once sent me from Gabon. Besides it, everything had been through mass media and literature only.

Africa is beautiful. But to be a white person in Africa, that is a completely different story. And who was the lucky person? That’s right. I was a Mzungu (foreigner). And I couldn’t really hide my Mzungu-ness.  When we walked on the streets people stared, merchants wanted to sell us souvenirs, others just wanted to say “Salamu Alaikom” because I was a Hijabi Mzungu, no less.

But it felt good to be actually in “the other’s” shoes for once. I could totally feel what it means to look different than everyone else and try to convince people that you are the same. It is not easy.

Mzungu
Mzungu

N.B. This post was surprisingly challenging to write because it is so difficult to be politically correct when you talk about people’s “color”. Please be forgiving if anything seems wrong – that was not the intention.

PS. Yes, there are other white people in Africa. I was not the only one.

Author: Niam

Filmmaker/Digital Nomad/Storyteller

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