My Story as an African Immigrant:Part two

Before reading this, make sure you read:Part one of my story as an African immigrant.

Mwangi - the Displaced African


Second Half of 2002

  • Land in Australia during 2002 World Cup Finals ( missed the game :( ). The place is cold though I arrived in shorts and a t-shirt. Excited to be here.
  • Parents have already selected a high school for me. The school has two Africans, both Kenyans amazingly, in it: one is an absolutely gorgeous girl and the other, a boy, ended up being one of my best friends later on. When we try to take the train from the city to the school, they deem a 2 hours, 40 kilometer train ride as “too far out” ( less than 15 minutes from where the family lives now). Instead chose to leave me in a boarding school more than 100 kilometres outside of the city.
  • Over the moon that it is a mixed boarding school and proceed to act as though the women in the school are my birthright and making friends is automatic: NOT!
  • In six months go from the coolest new accessory in the school to social pariah. Christmas season I am alone in a room listening to Neville brothers (that guy’s voice is high!!) sing “These Foolish Things”. Vow to never feel this useless and expendable and unwanted ever again. I will mean something to this world: Defining moment!
  • As part of work experience at school I get to work at a radio station. First morning I am on air with the host for a short while. Second day I am hosting my own three hour show with two ladies and by the third day I am offered my own youth show every Saturday. Too lonely and distraught to stay: I move back to Melbourne to be with the family.
  • While home, I begin to try and become a valuable human being by bulking up and losing fat (not knowing it’s quite difficult to do both at the same time). I try working out four hours every day and going on starvation diets. After a couple of days of doing this, I am on the floor crawling because I binge ate so much damn-sweet-it-practically-melted-in-my-mouth-cake.
  • Become a bodybuilding and health website fanatic and read them everyday. Information very contradictory. Keep pushing weights using diagrams that come with the bench press equipment we bought. Overtrain until I develop stretch marks on both my still-puny arms. Lonely and alone, thank God I have my family!

First Half 2003

  • Transfer over to a Christian college run by the local church. Everybody knows everybody and almost everyone in the school attends the local church. In retrospect absolutely fantastic people. However, didn’t think so at the time. Follow the events through with me……
  • Still shaken from the events of 2002, I try to run away from the country in my first week in the school: I intend on stealing my mother’s credit card and flying back to Africa. I tell my mother my plans and she quickly squashes them.
  • All the kids in my class bully a kid called T who knows he is a loser and acts the part (sadly he ended up going to prison for trying to rob a sex store many years later). I like the guy and become friends with him. Develop disdain for people who bully losers or people who are already down. Don’t think highly of my clasmates at this point.
  • Begin to learn why some Western men fear women: After answering, “Yes” to the question, “Am I mean?” to a girl who I shall cull, Lulu, assembles all the women in the class to start abusing me. At first, I can handle abuse but fear grips me and I feel I must do something about it. Go into a rage blackout when I see the girl and call her every obscenity this side of the milky way.
  • One of the things I say to Lulu, “ You don’t know who I am and you don’t know where I came from,” between calling her a female canine many times ( very apologetic in hindsight. If you are reading this,”Lulu”-you know yourslef- I am sorry and I forgive you-she asked me to forgive her 5 years ago).
  • Get called into the principal’s office: She took the “You don’t know who I am and where I am going.” statement to mean that, like 50 cent, I will bring gangs upon her to beat her. Ideas that will form the Jungle Fever article begin to take root.
  • After my rage blackout no one wants to be my friend and I lose my only good friend, a girl called N. Alone, lonely, expendable, useless and worthless yet again. I go to work.
  • I begin to study meditation. Try it and fail one of many times- I was trying to force relaxation (oxymoron if I ever I saw one).
  • Though I am going to a Christian school, and was raised in the church, I obsessively read a site which explains all the problems with Christianity (apparently the Catholic Church has a book full of bibilical inaccuracies…..scary). Begin studying Eastern religions and philosophies and spend a lot of time feeling like a self-important, self-indulgent philisopher.
  • After long periods of philisophizing, I come to a conclusion: I don’t know beyond a 100% shadow of a doubt why I was put here. None of us do. I am here. I am blessed. One day my life will matter, because I will make sure it will. May as well make the best of this life. Defining moment!

If you haven’t, make sure you read:Part one.

Continued on: Part three/ Part four/Part five

No Comments

  • By gal africana, March 24, 2008 @ 11:14 pm

    Been there done that. There and that being: no one wants to be your friend. I couldn’t for the life of me figure out what I was doing wrong…I thought it was because I was so hideously ugly people couldn’t stand looking at me or that I smelt or…it’s funny the rationalization we go through to explain the hurtful behaviors of others. Like you, I ended up doing the angry thing…which like you experienced, only ostracizes one even MORE. Those days were TOUGH…would not wish them on my worst enemy…funny though, that those very experiences may very well be the reason I like who I am today. There aren’t enough personal stories out there bearing witness to the enormous difficulty it is to relocate…DO TELL!

  • By Mwangi, March 25, 2008 @ 4:45 am

    @gal africana: Now you see why this blog exists, our story wasn’t being told anywhere. Glad to see you relate girl. How weird was it the first few times you were ostracized? I remember one day I thought I had really made many friends and the next they were ignoring me and making excuses not to see me or have to interact with me.
    I don’t wish it on anyone coming to the diaspora and I hope this blog will guide cats through so they don’t have to take five years to figure out this stuff like I did.
    I guess we were both baptized under fire and now have come out much better, wiser people. I would love to hear more about your story though, you are actually the first person I have ever told my story who relates.

  • By gal africana, March 25, 2008 @ 7:12 pm

    I think I have a post or two about some of the stuff I’ve gone through…and you’re right not many people own up to the experience. The explanations for the dynamics of those disastrous relationships still escape me, so I end feeling like I’m whining and being a victim when I talk about it. Also, because those situations tend to bring out the worst in us, e.g. anger, a need for vengeance, we soon become just as guilty in enabling the situation (make sense no?) making it even harder to identify what’s going on. I’ve become really good at identifying people who pretend to be friends and then ignore you…thus hitting you where it hurts most and identifying situations which are not healthy for me. It has required getting rid of A LOT of relationships and I’m still learning.

  • By Mwangi, March 26, 2008 @ 4:10 am

    @gal africana: I’ll have a look through your archives and see what you have had to say about the situation. Yep, it’s a real trick to come out of this situation without being somewhat bitter and resentful and in a healthy way. At this time, I am simply at a place of tolerance where it’s a “you do you, and I’ll do me and no hard feelings,” type of deal with some of the conversations we have to have being excruciating because even before we begin, you know it’s going to end. Friendship and trust: in this place, truly rare and extremely valuable when found.

  • By nkosi, November 6, 2008 @ 4:31 am

    Mwangi wsup man i’m back. bra just like your jungle fever article i resonated fully with this article. Most of the Africans i was close to were not actually immigrants to Australia but they were international tertiary students like myself, and they relate too, cos i’ve catually discussed this with them. this one Tanzanian girl told me that after 1 semester of being in Australia, she blackmailed her dad into buying her an air ticket for a mere 2 week holiday cos (as she told me) she was ready to ‘hang herself’ in the shower..she did go home, but when she came back, she seemed so spiritually invigorated and i don’t know what her family told her back home, but she coasted through the rest of her studies just fine until she graduated a few years later and went back home. i stayed with 2 african girls who asked me ‘if i ever felt lonely in Australia?’ they told me that even though they had each other, they felt lonely from time to time..i read a report wen i was in Australia that 33% of people that commit suicide do that due to LONELINESS…yes, there can be no denying it, there is this loneliness and spiritual emptiness that hovers over the land which you will simply not find anywhere in Africa..i had a greek friend who related how Melbourne seems so boring and empty as compared to Greece..and imagine, he’s least he had a 400,000 strong community of Greeks to confide in, whereas we Africans are too few and far between. i will tell you that even my first six months in Australia, i felt that loneliness & people ignoring you that you talk about..but honestly, i believe that situation helped make me who I am today because I was ‘FORCED’ to do some soul-searching to survive. i belive you have also done a lot of soul searching too. that’s what they call the gift from the curse. extreme loneliness can force you to do one of two things…kill yourself, or do some serious soul searching! i did the latter, and i’ve benefitted immensely ever you i don’t want to be just an ordinary guy who dies and is forgotten easily, and i know i won’t be…thanks in part to Australia. look, this scenario is one all us Africans can relate to..and we’ve all survived and learnt from that, so thank God. in terms of my relationships and friendships, luckily i knew lots of African international students, who introduced me to a East Africans (maily Kenyans) who had lived in Australia since childhood and had assimilated to the Australian way of life..through these people, i got to meet genuine friends of both sexes of many nationalities…and i even ended up dating a gorgeous Samoan girl (my Angolan friend was dating a Sri Lankan girl who introduced me to this girl)…now speaking of IR, i never dated a white woman whilst in Australia – await my post in the jungle fever section about my take on black men/white woman relationships in Australia..i have a lot to say. peace

  • By Mwangi, November 6, 2008 @ 9:53 pm

    @nkosi: As an interesting segue from one of your points, I read an article a couple years back that the biggest killer in young adult males, 18-25 is suicide. The reason they said is because a lot of young men here didn’t have the strong, social bonds and links that young women the same age here have which is interesting……..
    That soul searching that comes from being alone is pretty powerful isn’t it. There’s this TIME article that I love where Will Smith basically traces back a lot of his success to the fact that he got cheated on by a girl when he was 16, so negative energy and negative emotions don’t always have negative consequences and I think you expressed that pretty well.
    Looking forward to reading what you have to say about the interracial relationships, I have responded to your comments and asked some questions. Later man……….

  • By Patrick, July 5, 2009 @ 11:03 am

    hi mwangi.
    I’ll be moving to Australia (Perth) in about two weeks (still waiting for my visa) for studies and I’m positively surprised by the discovery of your blog. I have nothing very specific to say about this post. Just wanted to say thanks for the very positive advices I found on your blog about Life in Australia. I would have loved you to give me some hints about life in Perth as an African, but you seem to have never been in Western Australia. It’s okay buddy. However, there’s this thing I’m concerned about: Here in Cameroon, I have a very healthy outgoing social and spiritual life and it seems from your own experience that being lonely as a stranger in Australia is just toooo probable. Am I wrong to be scared? (Unlike you, I will be moving alone, with no family or relative around) Plus, is it a society where I can be valued for who I am and move up the ranks of society? I mean, can the Australian fair go apply to me? I need some hints, man. Be blessed.

  • By Mwangi, July 6, 2009 @ 2:59 pm

    @Patrick: The possibility of being alone and lonely out in the West is very real and very possible and you will actually have to work hard a lot of the time to fight against it by joining clubs, groups and making friends on common interests and then making effort to follow up on these relationships on a regular basis. As far as I can tell, there are no limits on how high you can rise in this society if you are willing to put in the effort regardless of race. When I discover this glass ceiling, I may write about it….but so far, sky is the limit.

    Thanks for the kind words and enjoy Perth man……….

  • By Patrick, July 6, 2009 @ 10:37 pm

    Tell you what? I think you’re definitively in my “to-see” list of wonders and things once I’ll be in Aussie land… This blog is close to perfect. keep it up.

Other Links to this Post

  1. My Story as an African Immigrant:Part three » The Displaced African — March 25, 2008 @ 1:47 am

  2. My Story as an African Immigrant:Part Four » The Displaced African — March 26, 2008 @ 4:11 am

  3. My Story as an African Immigrant:Part Five » The Displaced African — March 27, 2008 @ 1:39 am

  4. My Story as an African Immigrant: Introduction and Part One » The Displaced African — April 30, 2008 @ 5:10 am

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