The African Diaspora is a New Global Power – Susana Edjang

Becoming Diaspora and Recognizing Oneself as African-descendant: from Equatorial Guinea to the World

Equatorial Guinea, with some 28,000 square kilometers, is one of the twenty smallest countries in the world. Just above the equator line and nestled between Cameroon and Gabon, it is located in the Gulf of Guinea, in what may be called the “armpit” of Africa.

In the last census, published in 2015, it has an estimated population of one million two hundred thousand inhabitants.
To my mind, three things make Equatorial Guinea special: the only African country with Spanish as the official language; its most renowned artist, Leandro Mbomio, inspired the Cubist movement when he gave Pablo Picasso a fang sculpture;
and our president, Teodoro Obiang Mbasogo after 37 years remains the longest serving president in the world.
I was born in Equatorial Guinea in the late 70s, amidst a massive political upheaval which forced an estimated 200,000 people to flee the country. Many of these political exiles were forced to live in neighboring countries with Spain as their final destination. My family were among these 200,000 people forced into exile. We were luckier than most and were able to reach Spain, where I grew up.

From Spain, I visited other European countries and later studied and began my career in the United Kingdom, followed by several African countries and now the United States. Although each of these contexts were different and my experience of them were also different, what they all had in common – especially in the professional contexts that spans NGOs, government or international organizations, academia, etc. is the existence of a trust network.

Whilst the number of Equatoguineans in each new country was relatively small, it is these trust networks of the emerging Equatoguinean diaspora, Afro-descendant migrants, women and Spanish speakers who helped me to understand each new circumstances and navigate my evolving realities.