n Journal of African Union Studies - Navigating through the minefields of African identities

Volume 2, Issue 1_2
  • ISSN : 2050-4292
  • E-ISSN: 2050-4306


Who is an African? At face value the answer seems obvious. Surely everyone knows who the African is, it would seem. But the answer becomes less obvious once other probing qualifiers are added to the question: How is the African identity constructed in the face of the mosaic of identities that people of African ancestry living within and beyond the continent bear? Do all categorized as Africans or as having an African pedigree perceive themselves as Africans? Are all who perceive themselves as Africans accepted as such? Are there levels of "African-ness", and if so, are some more African than others? Who allots this African-ness, and why? How does African identity interface with other levels of identity and affiliations in Africa? How are identities stylized, negotiated and defended? Are Jamaican Rastafarians who have a high consciousness of their Africanity really Africans? Is Barack Obama, whose father is Kenyan and mother a White American and who is currently the President of USA an African?

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