Mmegi Online :: Tembo's documentary tackles complexities of multi-nationalism
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Last Updated
Friday 21 September 2018, 15:09 pm.
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Tembo's documentary tackles complexities of multi-nationalism

Young Zambian-born but Botswana-bred Towela Tembo will be releasing her documentary titled, 'Beyond Borders' today. The social documentary focuses on social integration and African diversity in line with the 2018 June 16 theme of 'Leave No African Child Behind'.
By Nnasaretha Kgamanyane Fri 22 Jun 2018, 12:17 pm (GMT +2)
Mmegi Online :: Tembo's documentary tackles complexities of multi-nationalism








Tembo told Arts & Culture that the documentary addresses social integration, cultural pluralism, and biculturalism in the search for cultural identity of immigrants and how this could be positive in terms of highlighting African diversity for the further growth of social development in Africa.

“I’m a Zambian-born and raised in Botswana for the past 18 years. I know Botswana as home and have accepted it as a place called home. Sometimes, I become more aware of my otherness when I fail to speak accurate Setswana, or when I go to Zambia and equally have experiences in which people treat me as a foreigner. I’ve been on a journey to finding myself lately, and cultural identity was definitely a great foundation to helping me understand myself,” she said.

She said cultural identity to her means understanding the cultural norms and activities around her created or enforced by the social groups around her surroundings. She explained that it was more than just the way she lives, but an explanation regarding certain beliefs or reasoning an individual may have as an outcome of the environment around her. As an African child, Tembo highlighted that culture was important to her and could assist her in understand the meaning of home.

She said since the journey of that project on social integration, she learnt that cultural was not a linear or somewhat double phenomenon. She added that it was possible to be bicultural – that is, to assimilate two different cultures simultaneously knowingly and or unknowingly. She explained that understanding of combing two different cultures reduced her pressure of subscribing to one culture.

“Being raised in Botswana, unfortunately, doesn’t exactly give me the right to call myself Motswana as that is only as far as I can go in learning the cultural customs here. At the same time, having a Zambian passport is,

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as far as my nationality and understanding of the country goes, and therefore I cannot fully identify as being Zambian either as living in Botswana makes it difficult to learn everything about the culture there,” she said.

“Belonging to both means I do not have to have the pressure to fully belong to both and I can be comfortable in learning from both cultures. This acceptance of my cultural difference has helped me understand the vast richness of diversity in the African continent and I wish the same enlightenment for others.”

Being an immigrant, she has noticed that she is more open-minded and tolerant. She said she enjoys identifying people who don’t seem to fit into their environments and make them feel at ease.

Tembo explained that a diverse Africa was one embracing several cultural methods and practices. She said Africa was already thought to be a country and not a continent since centuries ago saying they could combat that ignorance of the west by learning more about each other’s cultures.

“Through this project, I would like every immigrant across the continent to understand that they are not alone in their search for a cultural identity and that they must not feel shameful when asked, “Where are you from?” A question many immigrants struggle to answer.

I want them to know that this dynamic is what you make it; you can choose to learn from both cultures and become a diverse African instead of feeling out of place and feeling like you don’t belong.”

“Before any African child is a citizen, she or he is first a child of the continent. This means that before you belong to a certain part of the continent, you belong to Africa first. Be proud of that and your strength to embrace environments and cultures with a chameleon-like spirit,” she added.

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