Afro and Happy
Prequel to The African Story
The origin of the world is regarded as less! The source of all race is despised and mocked! This is a story of a group of people that have overcome their past and are excited about the future. They are Afro-Colombians.
They came in ships and vessels. Those of the masters. They had a clear purpose- to replace the indigents. Not in the best ways you’d think. They came in here to do the hard work- ones the master couldn’t do.
Afro-Colombianos is what they were called. They were indeed Africans but hardly Colombian.
From gold extraction to sugarcane plantation, Africans were as hardworking as they always were- and forever will be. They worked in the area today known as Chocó, Antioquia, Cauca, Valle del Cauca, and Nariño. From the emerald mines of Bogota to the textile mills of Cucuta, their intelligence and hard work literarily made the economy go around.
They are literally the men who built Colombia
It didn’t take long for them to start fighting for Ominira- Uhuru, Freedom. Their make-shift settlements called palenque sheltered marginalized people from every background, sometimes including Native Americans. Perhaps this is why wood-propped make-shift buildings characterize regions like Chocó. On May 21, 1851, Slavery was officially abolished in Colombia
Today like they always did, the descendants of these hardworking despised ones are changing the narrative in Colombia. They are not scared, they don’t feel inferior- they act with the same attitude that will forever make them distinct- Resilience, Diligence, Sweat.
Today, Afro-Colombians, unlike there ancestors are happy and free, truly Colombian, proudly African. And despising the challenges around them, they remain resilient still.
They believe that discrimination may exist in the society, but it will matter less if they are leaders in their society. They believe that the best way to fight injustice is to succeed despite it.
I was at the Universidad Autonoma de las Americas. There I met Darwin, an Afro-Colombian who was excited to invite people with whom he shares history; he had us challenge his students and reminded me that:
A successful person needs hardly fight for his right and that a determined man succeeds despise injustice.
Notable Afro-Colombians include Colombian scientists like Raul Cuero, writers like Manuel Zapata Olivella and politicians: Piedad Córdoba, Paula Marcela Moreno Zapata, and Luis Gilberto Murillo, Miss Colombia 2001 winner and fashion model Vanessa Alexandra Mendoza Bustos, Miss Colombia 2015 winner and fashion model Jealisse Andrea Tovar Velásquez, first Olympic gold medal winner for the country Maria Isabel Urrutia, Major League Baseball player Edgar Rentería, the wonderkid/football player Eder Alvarez Balanta.