Community, Diaspora and Immigration
The perspective of Ugandan Youth in the Diaspora on Ugandan Culture
As young people living in the Diaspora, we are sometimes seen as the forgotten generation because we live abroad. This leads onto the fact that our voices are rarely heard. In this article, we are going to discuss whether there is or isn’t a division between young people in the Diaspora and their Ugandan culture. The question I am asking you is, have you ever thought about stepping into our shoes and hearing what we have to say?
First of all, we need to find out what some young people think about their culture. Some of the youth do not have the desire to engage with their roots and that is a huge problem. Also when the older generation try to talk to the younger people, sometimes they see their culture as being outdated. However, some of the young people who have had a chance to visit Uganda do not like what they have seen. They have decided they don’t want to go back at all or at least only once in a while.
However, some parents have failed by not always being there physically for their children due to their work schedules. But if these parents are not there to teach them, it means their knowledge about their culture is limited. Some parents in the Diaspora do not have a passion for Uganda. It is shocking but some parents do not want to go back to Uganda or even want to engage in their culture. Moreover, some parents in the Diaspora do not even teach their children their mother tongue. It is also a fact that these days you get young parents who don’t know much themselves about their cultures and norms.
Can something be done about this? The answer is yes and one of the ways is for both generations to change their mind sets. The young people should be more willing to embrace their culture. This could also mean organising more trips back to Uganda, and for those who cannot afford it, trips to attend cultural groups in the Diaspora. Furthermore, we should also consider creating an annual Youth Conference in the Diaspora to teach them more about their culture. This could include inviting influential and knowledgeable people from Uganda.
These are some of the ways that could help narrow the gap. Although some people might argue that there is no division. Some parents could suggest that they have already tried to bridge the gap. Whilst some youth might say they are doing their best to engage in their culture, by attending the Ugandan Convention in the U.K, U.S.A, going to youth committees in the Diaspora, workshops etc.
One thing for sure is that this is not an overnight situation that we have to deal with. What we have to realise is that we are the next generation after our parents. Are we going to allow the heritage that our previous generations have bequeathed continue on as a legacy through us or are we going to terminate it abruptly? The choice should not only be left in our parent’s hands but also in us as young people and the wider society. Rome was not built in a day; let’s all put our efforts together to preserve our dignity and cultural values or else we will become extinct.
by Tracy Kirabo