Yes, I vote. For a political group I know little about but have been told ‘’they are better than the rest’’. My political chore is a three-minutes’ walk to a polling station to tick a squared box of names that could fall under any political party. The news could
be of help but only if it wasn’t clouded by negativity, dryness and a cocktail of death stories irrelevant to my day to day chaos. To be sincere, issues around immigration and race temporarily nets my attention. I find myself flicking through news channels, searching for polished truth, reflecting a drop of my reality as a migrant. In the shadows of wonder and thought I question ‘’why haven’t I taken an active role as an African migrant?’’ Perhaps it’s because issues affecting society are religiously blamed on migration. I am not surprised it works. Society needs to find causes for its struggles, and it is usually what it can point its fingers and emotions towards.
To a native, politics is like a long-distance relationship, you know your partner is there but unconfident about their whereabouts and hope they remain faithful, well at least till you meet again and rekindle the relationship. For a migrant, politics is like a one-night stand, where you’re temporarily relevant, boosting the ego of a stranger and perhaps yours with no real commitment or expectations. Some call this dynamic political disconnect or political apathy. I say it’s perhaps misguided education, underrepresentation and a history of being left out. It’s hard to draw the dots, to find yourself in a society you are a part of but not accepted. But then again, do you wait to be accepted or make your presence known? Do you create your own avenues and set the standard from which you exist or hope that others who are not affected by your struggle to speak your truth?
Like many in my shoes, my parents came here to get an education, make some money and head back home. I think from the onset, there was a conflict, a constant battle of choosing a side. It feels like being in the middle of nowhere or the pastoralist looking for somewhere for his cattle to graze but had never planted a tree. I have come to an understanding that I can choose between being a pastoralist or a farmer. Between a traveller and a settler. There is a weakness in thinking like an outsider, in handing over your truth to the voices which sing in a different tone. Voting is setting the tone but most importantly actively engaging and creating the environment we want sets the music we dance to.