By Nana BRUCE-AMANQUAH 

Every single person on the team for La Grande Afrique this year is new to the publication. So who are all of these new people? The team got together to answer that question. 

Alexander Durie 

What’s your name and what are you doing at Sciences Po? 

Alexander Durie, M2 student doing a Joint Masters in Journalism & Intl Affairs, with a focus on Human Rights & Humanitarian Action (yeah it’s a long title)

How do you identify yourself? And what does that mean to you? 

I grew up between London and the South of France so I identify as British and French, but my family origins are very diverse and international so I feel at home almost anywhere and don’t identify with a single place or country. My mum grew up in France but her parents are Vietnamese & Swedish, and my dad grew up in Canada but his parents were Italian (sadly no African in me though). 

Why did you decide to join La Grande Afrique? Why are you personally interested in Africa and its diaspora? 

I’m very interested in the idea of decolonising narratives and systems that are often too rigid and do not boast the rich breadth of people’s origins and identities. I believe La Grande Afrique is in the best position to do so at Sciences Po. Although I’m not African and honestly have barely been to Africa (only Egypt when I was young) growing up in parts of London with a rich African community made me interact with people from the diaspora from a young age. I also love music from the continent, especially the Afrobeat movement started by Fela that continued into afrofunk, disco and jazz. As a photographer and journalist I’ve covered lots of stories in Europe related to the continent, from working for two months at the Calais refugee camp in 2016 to reporting on protests in Sudan and Algeria.

Faty-Sharon Sylla 

What’s your name and what are you doing at Sciences Po? 

My name is Faty-Sharon Sylla and I am a first year Masters student at PSIA, where I study international security.

How do you identify yourself? And what does that mean to you? 

I am a French Black woman, or as I sometimes like to say an afropéenne. I also am a second generation immigrant, as both my parents were born in the Republic of Guinea, consequently giving me Guinean citizenship as well. All these parts of my identity (my franco-guineaness, my blackness, my womanhood), are essential to who I am and have, in their own ways, shaped the person I currently am. The way I identify myself has changed over the years. Growing up in the Parisian Banlieue, I thought I either had to be one or the other, French or Guinean, and I very much chose the latter. In fact, it is not until I lived in the United States that I became aware of the multiplicity and complexity of my identity. My blackness is quite apparent, and my connection to Guinea is embedded in my name, but my Frenchness is “invisible,” and was often dismissed/questioned when I would introduce myself as being from France; that is when I started to be more confident and assertive about that part of me. All that to say, I am Faty, a proud French Black woman of Guinean descent.

Why did you decide to join La Grande Afrique? Why are you personally interested in Africa and its diaspora? 

I love documentation, whether it is through words or through a lens, therefore joining the journal was the logical choice. I also strongly believe that positive representation is necessary, particularly when it comes to the African continent. This will be translated in our vision for La Grande Afrique to not only talk about African politics and its turmoils, but primarily, showcase the diversity of the continent and its peoples through art, culture, technology, storytelling and much more. 

My personal interest in Africa and its diaspora comes from my upbringings. I grew up in a neighbourhood with loads of people from the Maghreb and Francophone Africa. In addition to that, my father was a Pan-Africanist and both of my parents were/are very involved in the Guinean diasporic communities. I have always been exposed to the idea of the motherland being extended beyond its geographical borders through its diaspora(s). However, my experience remains very limited as it only encompasses a tiny portion of the very diverse African diaspora.

Maïlys Diogo

What’s your name and what are you doing at Sciences Po? 

I’m Maïlys, I am a Economic Law Student at Sciences Po.

How do you identify yourself? And what does that mean to you? 

I’m from Benin and Brazil. My origins are not so different and have lot of common points. Being from those two particular countries made me want to know more about black communities’ history.  Indeed, Benin was one of the main countries slaves departed from to reach America, along with Angola and Senegal, but today very few African people know where to locate that country on the African map. Regarding Brazil, that it the second country after Nigeria with the world biggest black population. Brazil is famous because of futbol and because of its worldwide top models. However, when it comes to the indigenous or even African heritage in Latin America’s largest country, I still hear atrocities such as: that boy is too dark to be Brazilian, that girl does not have a Brazilian hair type, she doesn’t have curly hair. So, to me my identity is the perfect example of people’s ignorance on a lot off topics, especially on Europe/Africa and American relations. 

Why did you decide to join La Grande Afrique? Why are you personally interested in Africa and its diaspora?

I’m much more interested in the diaspora and in the Afro-descendants than in Africa itself. Africa is not a uniform continent and most of the time the general term “Africa” hides so many communities. Not also in Africa but also abroad. During the past years, I travelled to a lot of countries and I was surprised to feel at home in Réunion Island, Cuba, as well as in Mozambique, South Africa, and Tunisia.

Nana Bruce-Amanquah 

What’s your name and what are you doing at Sciences Po? 

Nana Bruce-Amanquah. I’m a first year master’s student studying Human Rights and Humanitarian Action. 

How do you identify yourself? And what does that mean to you? 

I’m a Ghanaian-American woman. I was born in Ghana and I’m also a US citizen. A big part of identity is understanding where you feel like you belong and after moving quite a bit it’s been hard to sometimes feel like I don’t really fully belong anywhere. At the end of the day though, Ghana, the US, and the experiences I’ve gained along the way are part of who I am and over time I’m learning to accept and be proud of that.

Why did you decide to join La Grande Afrique? Why are you personally interested in Africa and its diaspora?

I used to write for my high school yearbook and I thought LGA would give me a good opportunity to start writing outside of classes again. Although Africa is where I’m from and I’m part of the diaspora, there’s a lot about the continent that I don’t know and I want to learn. I’m hoping that this journal will help me do that and will be a space where others can express their thoughts on Africa too. 

Vincenzo Lorusso

What’s your name and what are you doing at Sciences Po?

Vincenzo Lorusso, I am currently taking the one year-Master in Advanced Global Studies-Development Practice, with concentration in African Studies. 

 

How do you identify yourself? And what does that mean to you? 

A Cosmopolitan, most definitely! And yes, an Africa-enthusiastic too!

I don’t believe ‘nationality’ defines who we are per se; it’s rather the places you lived in and the experiences you went through..isn’t it? 🙂 

Why did you decide to join La Grande Afrique? Why are you personally interested in Africa and its diaspora?

I joined La Grande Afrique to actively contribute to it with articles in the field of Development, Health, Education and Culture (Music above all!).
How can we ‘not’ be interested in Africa?! Not only is ‘where we all come from’ (one way or the other), but it also holds a huge part of the future of humanity! 

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