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Who Is The Afrikan?

Updated on August 23, 2017

Who Am I?

I was born on November 2nd, 1992, in Canada. I am of mixed ethnicity (African-Jamaican and European-Canadian). Though I was born in Canada, and live in Canada, I don't like to identify myself as a Canadian because of this country's history and treatment of the Native Americans who have lived here for thousands of years.

I am interested in history, mainly the history of Africa, but also that of other continents. I focus on my African heritage and identify as much with the continent as possible. I have spent years learning about African peoples and histories, and will continue to learn all my life.

My journey of self-discovery started in high school. It really got momentum in grade 10, which is when I started growing my dreadlocks.

Afrika vs. Africa

The Fancy Answer

  • "In the spelling Afrika, a 'k' is used rather than a 'c' because for many activists the "k" represents an acknowledgment that 'Africa' is not the true name of that vast continent. When one speaks of Afrika, they're bringing an Afrikan-centered view to the meaning. Therefore, the Afrika spelled with a 'k' represents a redefined and potentially different Afrika, and also it symbolizes a coming back together of Afrikan people worldwide. Let it be understood that when one speaks of Afrika, and when most whites think of 'Africa', they are coming from two different worldviews. One view supports the Afrikan ethos, while the other view supports the European ethos."

In Layman's Terms:

The continent in the center of todays' maps - the Motherland of ALL Black people - is not truly called "Africa". Those who know that acknowledge it by spelling "Africa" with a "k" ("Afrika"). If you look back through history, you will see that for as long as Europeans have been in power, they have tried to make Afrika out to be a horrible, savage place, filled with cannibals and evil curses; since it was labelled as "Africa", some people have decided to spell the name of the continent as "Afrika" to set it apart from the racist lies that have been spread about it.

(image from

If you watch any old Bugs Bunny cartoons (or any cartoons that were popular around that time), whenever they show Black people running around with grass-skirts and spears, saying "ooga booga", they are showing the European idea of what "Africa" is. To get a proper idea of what "Afrika" is, you would have to learn about it's history, which goes back long before there ever was such thing as Europe.

(image from

I think it all started in grade 9; I had gone through middle school without many people realizing that I was mixed. I have a light complexion and at that time I had short hair, which meant that not many of my classmates could tell that I was Jamaican. I wanted to change that in high school.

Growing up, there weren't many Black students at any of my schools, and of the few that I knew, they were either class clowns / comedians (myself included), or cool. That meant that they were well-liked. Since at the time, the most popular genre of music was (and still is, it seems) gangster rap, many kids used that image to boost their popularity. When I was entering grade 9, a new high school opened up in my area. Because it was so new, it only started out with two grades (9 and 10).

Again, this school didn't have many Black students (maybe 10 or so... a few more if you were really lenient on your definition of "Black") so in a way, I wanted to make it known that I fitted into that category. I grew an afro for the first time in my life (which I got cornrowed, also for the first time), bought more expensive clothes (name brand stuff like Echo, Phat Farm, etc.) and listened to whatever rap music was popular. I wanted to be as "Black" as possible so people would realize what my heritage actually was, and by doing so, set me apart from the wanna-bes (aka "wiggers"). In high school, popularity was pretty important.

Before I continue, I would like to point out a few things that have constantly changed throughout this transitional period of my life. They are:

My Hair, My Music, and My Thoughts/Beliefs.

In grade 9 for example, my hair was an afro/cornrows, my music was gangster rap, and my thoughts/beliefs were centered around me wanting to be more "Black" and thus more popular. As you continue to read my memoir as I'll call it, try to identify those three things that always change.

(image from

After grade 9, and having had an afro and cornrows for some time, I decided to get a haircut (mostly because my hair was quite damaged and I wanted to start over). I began grade 10 with very short hair. I didn't change much at the start of the school year, so I was still listening to gangster rap and wanting to be "Black" (though I don't think I was trying as hard as I did the previous year).

My sister had a collection of CDs in her room, mostly rap and hip hop, so one day I decided to "borrow" a bunch of them; I had just recently gotten a MacBook and wanted to add music to my iTunes library. Within the pile of CDs I grabbed, there were three Reggae CDs that I unknowingly took, which would permanently change everything about me. The first was a two-disc set, simply called "Gold", the second was titled "Love Is My Religion", and the third was called "Welcome To Jamrock". Those albums were by Bob Marley, Ziggy Marley, and Damian Marley, respectively. At that time I had no clue who those people were; I had no idea what to expect, so I listened to the music with an open mind.

Today I wouldn't be able to tell you which songs I liked the most, but I know for sure that from the very first time I heard the music, something took a hold of me. That was the first time in my life that I heard conscious music; music that is designed to wake you up mentally - get you thinking - instead of just entertain you for a while.

Listening to these albums sparked an interest in me to find out more about the artists. After doing some research, I found out about their relationship to one another (Bob Marley is Ziggy and Damian's father) and their relationship to me (they are all from Jamaica, the birthplace of my father). The spark soon turned into a flame as I began to learn more about the Marley family, Jamaica, and a large continent called "Afrika"; by doing this, I started to learn about myself, my culture, and my history. The lyrics in their music amazed me; I had never before heard of slave ships, slave drivers, and plantations; or the Lion Of Judah, Haile Selassie I, and Rastafarians.

The CDs That Literally Changed My Life

Grade 10 Continued...

I started to buy my own Reggae CDs, along with books about Bob Marley and other Reggae musicians. A real turning point in my life was the month of February in 2008. As I hope most of you know, February is Black History Month. Because I had spent the first semester (five months) of that school year learning about all-things-Black, and since school is a facility for learning, I naturally assumed that my school would celebrate Black History Month in a way that is enjoyable and educational...

I was very wrong; my school did not celebrate Black History Month in a way that was enjoyable or educational; my school did not even remember that February was Black History Month at all. In the beginning of the month I was optimistic... "maybe they will start it next week". By the twentieth, I realized that nothing was going to happen, so I vented my anger in the form of a Facebook group that I got a few people to join. I wrote lengthy comments about how disappointed I was in my school, and how it failed to uphold its responsibility to me and the other Black students (there still wasn't many). Soon my thoughts broadened to other races of students; I said that we should have a heritage month for each race. This eventually caught the attention of the Student Council, who was not too happy about my outbursts. Afterward we sorted things out; they told me that if I wanted the school to work on an event, I should go to them a few months beforehand.

Anyway, long story short, this was the first time I remember standing up for what I find important and believe in.

During that February I had gotten dreadlocks. They didn't lock very well. I had gone to a hairdresser to get them done, she loaded my hair with conditioner and charged me for every visit. That was bad because conditioner prevents hair from locking up, so I wasted over $100 on that... In March I redid my dreadlocks myself and it turned out much better. I redid my dreadlocks once more in May because the wax I used in my dreadlocks had built-up, which was an awful feeling. I completely undid each dreadlock until I was back into my afro, and washed my hair a few times to get everything out. From there, I grew dreadlocks naturally, which means I could still wash it like normal, but I couldn't use a comb or wax.

If you are planning on growing dreadlocks, or you currently have them, DO NOT USE WAX!

A Few Things I Used On My Dreadlocks

Dread Head HQ Dread Comb
Dread Head HQ Dread Comb

If you are planning on getting dreadlocks using the backcombing method, you will need a good comb. I recommend buying a metal comb because plastic ones break too easily for the job.

Knotty Boy Dark Dreadlock Wax 4oz
Knotty Boy Dark Dreadlock Wax 4oz

This is one of the waxes that I used in my dreadlocks- it was HORRIBLE.

The only reason I am putting this on here is so you can see what it looks like. DO NOT BUY THIS unless you are not planning on putting it in hair.


Life Lesson

What I Learned From My Hair

It might seem like an odd thing to say, but it is true; I learned a life lesson from my hair. If you have read everything up to this point, you will already know that throughout my high school years, I have changed my hairstyle many times. Because of this, I have learned something very important that unfortunately not many people my age seem to know.

At school, whenever I would change my hairstyle, for some strange reason that I was not able to figure out (even to this day), everyone felt obligated to tell me their thoughts on what my next hairstyle should be. Whenever they saw me in the halls, people would say "Hey [me], you should totally get [this type of hairstyle]." or "Do you know what would be really cool? Dyeing your hair [this colour].". Sure, it might not sound like such a bad thing, but when I say everyone, I mean EVERYONE; and rarely were there any uniquely different answers, so it was like a broken-record soundtrack to my high school life. This happened every day for years (a few people continue to give me "advice" to this day). I never actually went through with what people told me to do though, and because of that, I realized something that has helped me to keep a positive self-image, and lower my stress; something I am going to tell you right now.

"You Don't Need To Bend Over Backwards To Make People Happy. Just Be Yourself.

The Only Person You Should Try To Make Happy Is Yourself, As Long As It Doesn't Negatively Affect Others."

- The Afrikan

The Thinking Behind This Lesson

Put yourself in my shoes for a bit...

Lets say you have an afro. Take a moment and enjoy it- feels good; you are different than other people, but it is a good kind of "different". Now you're walking down the hall, and someone you barely know walks up to you and says,

"Hey [you], you should totally shave the sides of your head and get a 'fro-hawk'! That would be cool!".

Normally I would just smile politely, say something like "Oh, yeah. Sure. I'll keep that in mind" and continue walking to my destination, but lets pretend that that idea really sounded good to you... anyway, you continue down the hall when all of a sudden, somebody else calls out to you,

"Hey [you], why don't you shave the center of your head to make a bowl, then you could hold chips and snacks in there!".

So now you have a dilemma; should you get the 'fro-hawk' or the 'afro bowl'? Before you're able to pick one though, another student comes up and says,

"Hey, you should grow a huge afro until grade 12, then right before you graduate, you should shave your head bald. That would be CRAZY!".

Next, some people tell you that you should dye your hair red... no, blue... wait, rainbow coloured! So what are you going to do?

Well you no longer have to worry about that because you are back in your own shoes. The above exercise is an example of a day in the life of yours truly; everything that you just read has actually been suggested to me at one point, none of it was made up, and this kind of thing happened to me everyday. What am I trying to get at? Plain and simple, you can not possibly make everyone around you happy by changing yourself, so you should not even try. If I had shaved my hair into a 'fro-hawk' as they called it, I could not possibly make an 'afro bowl'. Similarly, if I died my hair red, then maybe someone who wanted me to dye it green would be unhappy. The only person I wanted to make happy was myself. When I wanted an afro, I grew an afro; when I wanted cornrows, I got cornrows; when I wanted a haircut... well I never really wanted a haircut, my parents forced me to get one, but when I wanted dreadlocks, I got dreadlocks.

Now I'm not saying that you should rebel against everyone who has ever told you to do something... you should still eat your fruit and vegetables because they're healthy, and if someone is telling you to quit smoking, it is probably in your best interest. What I am saying though, is that if someone tells you to change, and the only purpose that would fulfill would be to make them happy, just don't do it.

Grade 11

During the summer before grade 11, I enjoyed learning about world religions. I found out about "Zen Koans" while researching Buddhism and spent most of the summer thinking deeply about life. That is when I first got interested in philosophy.

(image from

In grade 11, I completely stopped listening to rap and hip hop... in actuality, the only music I listened to was Reggae. I didn't like the negative messages I heard in rap and hip hop (always about drugs, violence, money, and misusing women), and it was hard to find a positive message in the kind that I listened to. Reggae music on the other hand was filled with positive lyrics, so I decided to forget about everything else and just stay with Reggae. There was however, another category of music that I started listening to.

Beginning back in grade 10, I used to go to the library not just for books, but also for music. The library I went to, closest to home, didn't have too much of a music selection for Reggae though. When I was in grade 11, I broadened my scope a bit, and that's how I found out about Afrikan music. It was under the category of "world / international"and instead of being grouped by continent, it was divided by country which helped you to discover the differences in each. So in my grade 11 year, the only music I listened to was from Jamaica and Afrika.

I don't think much happened in the first semester of school, but again in February, I was disappointed by the little amount of work my school put into Black History Month. That February I had decided to help out by making a large poster of Afrika, decorated with the Pan-Afrikan colours of Red, Black, and Green. I expected that to be an addition to what my school would do, but it turned out almost being the main event. My school had made 9 posters the size of printer paper (8½ x 11) that were just pictures of individual famous Black people, without names or why they were famous. Apparently the students were supposed to guess who they were or something, but I don't think there was a prize for correct answers, and I doubt that anyone participated. Another thing my school did was say a daily fact over the announcements. At first that sounds like a good idea, but they were always "the first Black person to do this" or "the first Black person to do that"; every race has firsts, so it was meaningless because nobody knew why that was so important. I think a movie was played in a room during lunch, but I think most of the people that showed up were close friends of mine that I asked to come along.

(image from

Grade 11 was also the year that I found out about Malcolm X. One day I went to Chapters, looking to buy some books, and I saw "The Autobiography Of Malcolm X". I didn't know anything about him other than he was pretty famous and had an interesting name, so I decided to buy that along with "Roots" (the book). I had previously been reading a book I borrowed from the library called "Stolen Continent", about how the Europeans stole the Americas. Those books, along with previous books, music, and movies, lead to me refusing to stand for the national anthem, "Oh, Canada". I was sent to the principal's office for disrupting class by staying seated, but eventually we worked things out so that I would just go out into the hall (there are benches throughout the school), during "Oh, Canada" instead of sitting in class (and negatively influencing the other students).

Before the end of the school year, I joined the Student Council so that I would have more power and influence over what the school would do throughout the school year (mostly for Black History Month).


You can find some Zen Koans at this link:

Grade 12

I am currently in grade 12, so this section wont be my full year since I can't predict the future... I will add more at the end of the year.

Between the summer months of grade 11 and 12, I kept up with my studying; I learned about the Namibia Genocide, the Black Panther Party For Self Defense, different civil rights leaders and revolutionaries, and old Afrikan kingdoms. I also started up my YouTube channel. Grade 12 has so far been a good year; I have taken some classes to better understand the world around me, such as social sciences (intro to psychology, sociology, and anthropology), and a variety of history classes (20th century history; Native studies). My social sciences class was in the first semester; it was one of my favorite courses this year, even with all the assignments. Our final project in the class was to research a social issue of our choice (I picked "The Stereotypes And Representations Of Black People In Media", and eventually I will make that into a lens), and present our findings in the form of a 5 page essay, or a 20 minute oral presentation accompanied by a powerpoint slideshow in front of the class (I chose this because I needed practice if I ever needed to give public speeches in front of crowds). From doing this assignment, I learned how to find very valuable resources at school and organize them into a document.

Just like in my last two grades, this year I worked on getting a decent Black History Month at my school, but due to unforeseen circumstances (getting my wisdom teeth removed during February, for example), it wasn't as good as I would have liked. I made a number of posters with quotes from different Black leaders and put them around the school (many people - students and teachers - commented on how they liked them). I also went on stage during lunch, in front of the cafeteria to talk about Bob Marley, Mohammed Ali, and Martin Luther King Jr, because I had found some biographical music videos of each of them. This year's Black History Month was much better than the previous years', but it still wasn't great...

I guess there isn't much else to say other than that I am currently putting together a Multicultural Club at my school. I have high hopes for next year, because I have decided to come back for an extra semester.

I hope you have enjoyed this brief look into my life. I am happy to receive comments, so feel free to do so below, and I will reply as soon as possible.

Future Changes:

I will be spending time making images on my computer to replace the ones in my lenses. I do not wish to infringe on any copyrights, and this is the best way I can think of to guarantee this. Please check back occasionally to see the new images as they are uploaded.

So What Do You Think?

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    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I ran across your information while searching for some info. No offense! There are brothers and sisters who have been in the movement LONG before you were born. While many of us are glad to see this, it hurts us as a people when incorrect information is put out.

      Like you, they do not get their information accurate and it gets spread wrong. Therefore, it is those of us in the movement's rsponsibility to correct it. Please take the time in the future to authenticate your information. I wish you could take some classes in Our- Story. A good source to go to in Dr. Jawanza Kungufu and his publishing company in Chicago.

      I want to clarify...

      "Why spell Afrika with a K? Posted: February 17, 2002 and before...

      An analysis by Dr. Kwame Nantambu

      According to the Afrikan-American poet and writer Haki Madhubuti in his From Plan to Planet (1973), there are basically four reasons to spell Afrika with a K.

      They are:

      1. Most vernacular or traditional languages on the Continent spell Afrika with a K. K is germane to Afrika.

      2. Europeans particularly the Portuguese and British, polutted Afrikan languages by substituting 'C' whenever they saw 'K' or heard the 'K' sound B as in Kongo and Congo, Akkra and Accra, Konakri and Conakry B by substituting Q whenever they saw KW. No European language outside of Dutch and German has the hard 'C' sound. Thus, we see the Dutch in Azania calling and spelling themselves Afrikaaners.

      We are not certain of the origin of the name Afrika, but we are sure the name spelled with 'C' came into use when Afrikans were dispersed over the world. There the 'K' symbolizes our coming back together again.

      3. The 'K' symbolizes a kind of Lingua Afrikana, coming into use along with such words and phrases as Habari Gani, Osagyfo, Uhuru, Asante, together constituting one political language, although coming from more than one Afrikan language.

      4. As long as Afrikan languages are translated (written) into English, etc., the European alphabet will be used. This is the problem. The letter 'K' as with the letter 'C', is part of that alphabet, and at some point must be totally discontinued with the original name of Afrika used. The fact that Boers (peasants) in Azania also use the 'K', as in Afrikan to represent the hard 'C' sound demonstrates one of the confinements of the alphabet. Azania is the original name for South Afrika.

      Shem Hotep ("I go in peace").

      Dr. Nantambu is an Associate Professor, Dept. of Pan-African Studies, Kent State University, U.S.A. and a mover and shaker of our community.

      Keep up you good work and with Deeper Research, one day you will be a mover and shaker.

      Dr. Sharon Anderson

      SGFA EduTheaArts Consultants

      Kansas City, MO

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Great Share. I have been studying African history and spirituality for some time, so I understand how an Individual's cultural history is the only foundation we can build on in order to develop Self excellence. For more on Famous black people internationally follow this link.

      Black history people

    • LizRobertson profile image


      7 years ago

      I'm impressed how much learning you've embraced in just 4 years of high school! Sounds like you've done some good reading; thanks for the reading list. Here's a couple you might like; "Say You're one of Them" by Uwem Akem, and "Nine Hills to Nambonkaha." Good luck!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      It's no wonder this lens received the purple star it was thought provoking,enlightening and interesting at the same time! Great job indeed!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      It's no wonder this lens received the purple star it was thought provoking,enlightening and interesting at the same time! Great job indeed!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Interesting !

      Thanks for posting :)

    • sheriangell profile image


      8 years ago

      Back to share an Angel Blessing with you today!

    • The Afrikan profile imageAUTHOR

      The Afrikan 

      8 years ago

      @sheriangell: thank you very much :)

    • SueM11 profile image

      Sue Mah 

      8 years ago from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

      Thanks for sharing your story. It takes some work for many who are the result of mixed marriages to accept themselves. Congratulations on the Purple Star.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      So pleased to see a purple star on this lens. I hope this does not sound condescending but to find someone of your age who is so at peace with who they are is so refreshing :)

    • The Afrikan profile imageAUTHOR

      The Afrikan 

      8 years ago

      @sheriangell: Thank you, and I'm glad that you (and apparently, many people) like it :)

      maybe one day I'll turn it into a book :P

    • The Afrikan profile imageAUTHOR

      The Afrikan 

      8 years ago

      @GramaBarb: thank you :)

    • sheriangell profile image


      8 years ago

      Big huge congratulations on your well deserved Purple Star. Your story here is making a difference!

    • GramaBarb profile image


      8 years ago from Vancouver

      Your growth is very impressive and a good example for all of us. People can be divided into 3 groups: Those who make things happen, those who watch things happen and those who wonder what happened. Keep choosing to make things happen - good work!

    • The Afrikan profile imageAUTHOR

      The Afrikan 

      9 years ago

      @GuyB LM: Ya, I never got the chance to grow up with Public Enemy, but I found out about them not too long ago. I was working on a project in my social science class and when looking through a bunch of articles online, I found one that was about Chuck D. He was explaining how hip hop has changed over time because the music industry wanted to promote artists with more "attitude" or who were tougher. I've heard a few songs by PE, but not too many, so im gunna listen to some on youtube :P

      thanks for the comment!

    • GuyB LM profile image

      GuyB LM 

      9 years ago

      You may be too young to remember, but Public Enemy's Chuck D was a huge influence in my life. Listen to a few songs and I think the lyrics will speak to you.

    • sheriangell profile image


      9 years ago

      As a mom to three - one teenage boy and two younger girls (who are biracial) I am impressed with your depth as well as your desire to explore and understand your heritage. I hope you reach out and touch many, many young people and make a difference in their lives.

      Keep writing! I am lensrolling your lens to my End Racism lens because it promotes people talking to each other about race in order to bridge racial gaps. You do that very well here!


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