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#ReclaimBlackStories: Maab

Thursday 20-10-2016 - 15:13

#ReclaimBlackStories is NUS Scotland Black Students' campaign to share the reality of Black history and what it's like to live in Scotland at the moment - as told by Black students. 

#ReclaimBlackStories: Maab

There are two stories that stuck with me ever since my parents told me. One story was about my mother’s parents. Basically both my grandparents were extremely poor and could not afford to get an education because in Sudan education is not free. So due to this my grandparents were both illiterate and uneducated but they were extremely hard workers. So due to my grandparents not being able to get an education they started their own business. I forgot what it is they sold, but basically my grandpa would sell merchandise in the market every day and my grandma would sell coffee and dinner outside the house. 

My grandparents had 7 kids in total and they worked extremely hard to put all their kids through school. This story stuck with me because I realised how hard my grandparents work and how important education is. My grandparents valued education with everything that is in them, that they worked every day of their lives until their last breath for the sake of education. Now that I am studying, every time I want to give up revising and I am frustrated with education I remember how hard my grandparents worked for their kids’ education and that motivated me.

Another story was told to me by my dad. He told me that when he was young and would go to school. Every morning and evening all the kids would knock on every house they pass by on their way to school and say good morning and hello and inform them that they are on their way to and from school. This showed me how community orientated Sudanese people are especially my ethnic group, the masalit. This is so different to how life is in England because everyone is so individualist with individual orientated goals. Whereas in Sudan, it is all about the community and family and I miss that a lot about Sudan. 

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One narrative that I want the entire universe to stand by is women’s liberation and women’s right. I grew up in a house full of strong, independent, empowered women, i.e. my grandmother, all my aunties and my mother. I grew up learning that education is the key to freedom; freedom from poverty and ignorance. The females in my life are complete and utter “goals”. So for me I knew from a young age that women are to be great, successful and powerful.

I believe that women’s liberation and women’s rights should be upheld and patriarchy needs to die down. Because if men are the head of the house, the women are the necks and the neck controls everything. Women are the universes’ life source and we should cherish and respect women. We should allow for women to get educated because we are the blood vessel of the community and we bring up the next generation. We need to end FGM and allow and accept the fact that women are sexual beings and we have sexual feelings; sex is not just reserved for men. I believe that women need to bring up women and strong bowing down to this stupid narrative that women fighting each other and hating on each other is funny. We need to end shows like Bad Girls Club and Real Housewives of where ever. 

I am a proud Muslim woman and I am proud in my body and who I am. I am only defined by me and God. No one, no man can tell me who I can and who I should be in order to fit in to society; patriarchal society. Women need to empower themselves and empower each other. We need to teach men to respect women, that NO means NO and women don’t owe them anything.   

This is what I stand by because I got sick and tired of trying to mould myself into being the PERFECT GIRL so guys can find me attractive. That due to my own insecurities, I allowed for boys to tell me my own beauty is NOT beautiful. That my nose is too big, my chest is too small, my lips are too big, my hair is too nappy. I stopped allowing myself to live for others and live for myself and start the journey of self-love and self-exploration. I no longer allow for the media, patriarchy and irrelevant people to see myself as anything other than great and make sure along the way. I make as many females as possible feel just as sparkly and awesome as I feel now.

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Reclaim Black Stories, NUS Scotland, Black, Shuwanna,

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