THE “KNOW-IT-ALL SYNDROME”: Challenges of diasporas journey back home

In an age where borders blur and cultures intertwine, the African diaspora stands as a testament to the global interconnectedness of our world. It’s a mosaic of stories, aspirations, and dreams, with millions of Africans venturing beyond their homelands in search of opportunities, knowledge, and a taste of the unknown. Yet, amidst the allure of distant shores, there remains a magnetic pull drawing many back to the embrace of their roots.

As Maya Angelou so poignantly expressed, the longing for home is a universal ache that resides within us all. It’s that innate yearning for a place where we can be unapologetically ourselves, where our identities are not dissected but celebrated. For many Africans, this sentiment echoes profoundly, beckoning them back to the comforting familiarity of their homeland.

The motivations driving Africans to seek opportunities abroad are as diverse as the continent itself. Some are propelled by the quest for elusive job prospects, while others embark on educational odysseys to acquire specialised knowledge. Yet, regardless of the initial impetus, the journey often leads back to contemplation of a return home, where roots run deep and connections flourish.

However, the path homeward is not always paved with gold. Returnees from abroad are often expected to know it all, carrying the burden of high expectations. They may also believe that their exposure to different methods abroad means they “know best” how to solve local problems. This attitude can lead to friction, as they might overlook the importance of involving local communities to understand real issues, root causes, and priorities. The know-it-all syndrome thus highlights the tension between the desire to implement foreign solutions and the need for culturally sensitive, community-driven approaches.

For those contemplating the journey back to their homeland, meticulous preparation is paramount. It entails not only nurturing ties with one’s roots but also fortifying oneself financially and tempering expectations to align with the nuanced realities awaiting their return. It’s an acknowledgment that the romanticised notions of home may diverge from the gritty actualities experienced abroad.

Conversely, the communities awaiting their return play a pivotal role in facilitating the transition. By extending warm embraces and offering support networks, they pave the way for a seamless reintegration, recognising the value that returnees bring in enriching the fabric of local life with their diverse experiences and perspectives.

Amidst this intricate dance of departures and homecomings, platforms like iWIA emerge as beacons of hope, bridging the chasm between diasporic aspirations and tangible opportunities on the African continent. By matching skilled professionals with employers who value their expertise, iWIA not only fuels career trajectories but also nurtures a sense of belonging and purpose for those seeking to reconnect with their roots.

In the grand tapestry of the African diaspora, each thread represents a unique journey woven with experiences, challenges, and triumphs. It’s a testament to the resilience and tenacity of diasporic communities, who, despite the obstacles strewn along their path, persevere in their quest to carve out a meaningful existence and leave an indelible mark on the world.

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