1. The Chameleons
Overview: These are the individuals that assimilate so well into their diasporan environments and don’t waste time adopting the clothing rituals and conversational lilts of their host country. Whether they are visiting the country for short-term visits like a holiday or are embarking on a more long-term relationship with their host country, these individuals will have mastered the art of integration. They are impressively good at avoiding conversations or questions regarding their country or region of origin (read: They will lie about where they come from, if they have to).
How To Spot Them: Honestly, these types of diasporans are almost impossible to detect within their diasporan setting. However, their true origins are usually revealed in pronunciation of that odd word or in the form of their names. There’s nothing like hearing someone introduce themselves as “Kweku, Farai, Vusi or Mapolo” to get a geographical location of their origins. The more furtive members of this ilk would have adopted monikers or names from their host country.
Friends: The Machiavelli,
Foes: The Non Conformists, The Eternally Nostalgic
2. The Eternally Nostalgic
Overview: The degree of one’s homesickness, amongst the African diasporan is directly proportional to the distance from their home country or the African continent. For example, Malawian diasporans based in Namibia are less likely to suffer the acute degree of homesickness that a Malawian diasporans based in Croatia would feel.
How To Spot Them: Given any opportunity to complain and whine about their host country and they will gleefully take it up. You will get an earful about the negative, underwhelming and disappointing aspects of residing in their host country. They will actively avoid most activities and traditions of the host country and instead live vicariously through the activities of those living back home. Students make the bulk majority of this group. The beginning of their conversations are usually punctuated by the sentence, “When I get back home…” or “When I go back home…”.
Friends: The Non Conformist
Foes: The Chameleons, The Best-of-Both-Worlders
3. The Machiavelli
Overview: These diasporans have adopted a Machiavellian attitude to their time in the diaspora, “The end justifies the means”. These individuals are focused. They have an agenda and a goal related to their time in a host country, be it: making as much money as possible, getting trained/schooled up, spouse-hunting or just seeing the world.
How To Spot Them: These opportunists make the most of every resource or experience thrown their way that directly impacts their diasporan agenda or goals. Unlike “Chameleons” they primary goal is not to assimilate into the culture of their host country, instead it is to amass as much experience, information and networks that will serve them once they leave the diaspora(which they undoubtedly will). To them, diasporan living is a means to an end.
Friends: The Best-of-Both-Worlders
Foes: The Eternally Nostalgic
4. The Non Conformist
Overview: These individuals unashamedly continue their lives within the diaspora as though they aren’t in the diaspora. They actively preserve the cultural nuances and attitudes that make them residents of their home country. Like the “Machiavelli” their existence in the diaspora serves a bigger part of their overall life plans and like the “Eternally Nostalgic” they are actively clued into the developments and activities within their home countries.
How To Spot Them: These are the individuals who have never acquired the accent of their host countries, proudly speak their home language at any given opportunity, celebrate all national & public holidays of their home countries as though they were home, wear traditional attire at any given opportunity and will predominately procure the services & advice of individuals from their host country. They are also, ironically, the individuals with the longest tenure within in the diaspora.
Friends: The Eternally Nostalgic
Foes: The Chameleons, The Best-of-Both-Worlders
5. The Best-Of-Both-Worlders
Overview: This group of individuals have managed to strike-the-balance between assimilating within the culture of their host country, as well as remaining proudly patriotic to their home countries.
How To Spot Them: The only way to determine members of this category is to ask them outright whether they will be returning home or remaining in the diaspora. These individuals are overly cautious about expressing their desire to remain in the diaspora for the long-term as they would prefer to avoid being judged or upsetting aspiring returnees like the “Eternally Nostalgic”. Unlike the “Chameleons” they are not denying their heritage or background, instead they are comfortable with who they are….where they are.
Friends: The Machiavelli
Foes: The Eternally Nostalgic, The Non Conformists
By from Diasporan Darlings by Vimbai