18 August 2018
“What would happen if everything they told you were a lie?”, was the concern that the writer and poet César Brandon shared with the public at Rototom Sunsplash that brought African culture under the giant canopy of the African Village. César isn’t alone, he was accompanied by the Member of Parliament Rita Bosaho and the actor and YouTuber Thimbo Samb. The reason for this dialogue was to share experience that the three rolemodels had suffered through racism in the workplace.
When a diverse society doesn’t have the capacity to recognise its variety of ethnicities they are made invisible. Rita Bosaho speaks to us about her role as an Afro-Descendant when it comes to shaping that visibility from the political world: “There are power structures that subordinate us and they are totally normalised”. An imposed culture that creates racist societies: “to find a moment to be empowered through uniting”. “Racism causes us a lot of pain, you don’t know how much”, Rita shared with the public, “racism is intrinsic”.
The importance of the human condition on citizens detaches us superficially from certain privilges of putting ourselves in the shoes of others. Rita is critical of the political system, of which she forms a part and tries to change from the inside: “The left-wing is just as racist and it’s difficult for them to recognise that they have been socialised by the white hegemony”.
Thimbo’s story breaks completely with several stereotypes related to Africans. Thimbo arrived in Spain of his own accord, just as any other person who wants to visit a country. But it seemed that for him, being Senegalese, going to Spain wasn’t going to be as easy for him as for other Europeans for example. He arrived on a small boat along with 138 other people; “That was difficult, but the hardest thing was going to be when I arrived”. It seemed that, due to his country of origin, his future was already written. In addition to sharing his difficult experience in Spain, Thimbo also told us about his first role as an actor, where his skin colour decided his value or lack of; “They look at you because you’re different, but the worst thing is that it makes you feel different”. But, Thimbo demonstrated that he deserved the main role rather than the supporting one. Before leaving, Thimno offered a clear question; “Africa is preparing to live without Europe, but Europe without Africa?”.
When stereotypes define your life. When racism becomes a brand. César defines himself as a “person who wants to make things”. He is clear; “We put the debate on the table, the freedom to be seen as human beings, racism isn’t something that serves to justify us”. “It’s ridiculously complicated to leave your country and go to another”, said César.
Written by Asun Pérez and translated by Finn Darco