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African-Australians can face prejudice in their everyday lives, whether it’s increased likelihood of harassment by police or lazy assumptions that they come from backgrounds of poverty or violence. But identifying as African-Australian is also a source of strength, providing community ties and connecting to a rich culture.
What does it mean to be an African-Australian? Who is an African-Australian … and why is it personally important for Australians with African ancestry to embrace and own it?
We’ll look at this subject from a range of African perspectives. Featuring host Santilla Chingaipe, with Soreti Kadir, Kirk Zwangobani and Monica Forson.
Zambian-born Santilla Chingaipe is an award winning journalist and documentary filmmaker. She spent seven years working for SBS World News, which saw her reporting from Kenya, South Sudan, Tanzania and Zambia and interviewing some of Africa’s most prominent leaders.
She reports extensively on Australia’s diverse African community and recently presented a one-off documentary for SBS, Date My Race, which aired in February. Santilla is currently directing and producing documentary on the complexities of Australia’s South Sudanese community.
Soreti, known also as Hawiine, is a female, Oromo, multidisciplinary creative whose expression includes performance poetry, writing, music, organising and entrepreneurship.
Soreti’s artistic and leadership journey has seen her speak, perform, collaborate and lead in a variety of contexts across Australia and the wider world, from the international aid and development industry to grassroots community organising, festivals, conferences, panels and numerous poetry features.
Monica Forson is co-founder and president of the Afro-Australian Student Organisation, a member of the Multifaith Multicultural Youth Network, and youth advisor for the Ghana Association of Australia.
Kirk Zwangobani was born and educated in Canberra, Australia where he now lives and works as an executive teacher. Kirk is an early career researcher who has theorised extensively on the formation of an African Australian identity and belonging, working across a number of fields including postcolonialism, philosophy, cultural studies and education.
People from Africa arrived in Australia with the First Fleet, but large-scale African immigration to Australia is much more recent – and is hugely diverse. While South Africa and Egypt top the list of African migrants to Australia, Melbourne’s largest African communities are from Sudan and Mauritius – and we’re home to more than half the arrivals from Ethiopia and Somalia.
How do we engage with the African community – or rather, communities? What do we know about the more than 50 countries in this vast – and diverse – continent? And what do we think we know, but actually get wrong?
Zambian-born Santilla Chingaipe, an award-winning SBS journalist, will explore the issues and challenge our perceptions in a series of events that tease out the complexities of African-Australian identity, representation and politics.