- What is the most crucial debate on African and Caribbean you have taken part in since your councillor career so far?
I have been to a couple of debates; I think three. I remember being at a debate in October last year during the Black History Month.
I think the greatest challenge for me is getting people to accept the fact that the African identity is something to be proud of. It is a great thing to be African; don’t pretend to be someone else, be yourself and be passionate not just about the welfare of Africans in the diaspora but much more about the welfare of Africans back in Africa.
I am extremely passionate about the growth of Africa as a continent, and I think a lot of our struggles is related to what is happening in Africa as opposed to what is happening in Europe. I believe it is possible to change Africa, to change things.
We have the Jews people who were out of Israel for years; they never lost the Hebrew tongue, think about that. Jewish people were scattered all over the world, the state of Israel was created in 1948, and every Jew from all over the world congregated back in Israel. But despite having to be out of their homeland for thousands of years, they never lost their Hebrew tongue; they never lost their culture, their way of life; can we say the same about Africans? I would like to see a situation where Africans in diaspora are as strong as those who are living in Africa right now.
- Are you pessimistic or optimistic about the new generation of African and Caribbean leaders in Scotland? Why?
I wouldn’t say I am pessimistic, I think for instance, what you are doing is good, you are encouraging people to have important conversations, and the future with God’s help is always bright, but I would say we need a lot of work parenting-wise. Parents should not feel that children don’t need to speak their native African language or being taught chore African values in bringing something different to the society in which we live. They should ensure that when we say we are diverse, it is not just on paper but practically as well. It is not just diversity by name, we can keep our identity in our genuinely heterogeneous society while contributing to it, and the Asians have done this perfectly.
When you meet an Asian person, you know that they are an Asian. Unfortunately, sometimes, I think Africans struggle with identity, and it has a considerable impact on children who are born here. It isn’t necessarily the fault of those children, as I said we have a lot to do parenting-wise. We should encourage ourselves and do better for our children. Our future depends on the acceptance of our identity.
- Why do Africans struggle to accept their identity?
We struggle may be because of where we are coming from. A lot of people have come from suffering, and they just want to get on with life. We will need to rise above our many challenges. Take for example an African mum who has to work and work and work and doesn’t necessarily have time to look after the children, no good time for adequate parenting. You can see some of these things beginning to manifest in England, especially in London and there are no easy answers, but the next generation is absolutely crucial.
- 4. What to say about the debate over African-Caribbean not being on the same page?
Are you African? Are you Caribbean? That debate, except my history is wrong, is pointless. If a continent was created today just for Africans like the Jewish State, I think Caribbeans would be part of it as they emigrated from Africa.
I think you can be both Caribbean and African. It is like separating the root of a plant from its shoot. They are connected although totally different
- What do you think of the Afrobean Echos Website?
I think it is a great initiative to provide a platform for Africans. It will be good to network more and encourage diversity to have diverse opinions.
You obviously want a platform for Africans, but a balance is needed to reflect society.
- As a Conservative leader, are you inviting Africans and Caribbean to join the conservative party?
Yes, we have a lot of business people in the African and Caribbean community and people with conservative instincts. If you believe in self-effort and less state intervention, you are probably conservative.
- Any particular message to close the interview?
We need to be united as Africans and offer creative solutions to society. The issue is about showcasing our efforts and using the right platforms to achieve this.
( For more on who is the first ever Black Councillor in the Glasgow City Council, click the link below to read his first interview. Councillor Ade Aibinu speaks there about his political choices, his beliefs, his career so far, his origin…)