#5 Third Culture Kids (Part 1 – A Pan-African Perspective)

A Third Culture Kid is a generic term used to describe a generation of people raised in a culture different from their parents or what’s on their passport.

The term covers the style of life created, shared, and learned by those relating to the societies they’re in, whilst integrating elements of their birth culture to create a third culture.

My Third Culture

I was born in Uganda, Kampala and moved to the UK in the early 90’s when my dad decided to take a job here over in England. So whilst I visit Uganda frequently, I’ve been educated and spent the developmental years of my life in Britain. I hold a British passport, speak with a British accent but rarely describe myself as British, I always say I’m Ugandan (unless I’m at airport immigration).

The truth is, I feel like an impostor between both of these two places. There’s nowhere I feel least Ugandan than in Uganda itself. I struggle with the local dialect, particularly as I don’t have many people to speak it to in the UK, and I don’t understand the local banter, or agree or understand with some of the societal values that my people hold.

When I consider the political landscape in the UK, and the largely shared attitude towards immigration, how could I possibly associate myself with it? Surely I can’t claim to be British, it’s a bit like trying to date someone whose really not that into you. Furthermore, from a young age, many interactions I’ve faced in the UK have made me feel like ‘the other’ and so even at 30 years of age, I often don’t know where to place myself.

Me! Picture taken in 1988 – Kampala, Uganda

Me and Sarah, my first real friend (and the only one who didn’t bully me actually). Picture taken 1992, Uxbridge, England, UK.

Me going back “home” to see my mum. Picture taken 2015, Mbarara, Uganda.

Cultural identity is complicated… 

The cultural complexity that entangles itself around being a Third Culture Kid is experienced by so many of us who have built our lives around this vague sense of belonging. Sometimes it makes us over-romanticise our heritage, and other times, it makes us highly adaptable with a heightened sense of cultural intelligence and empathy with others.

Third Culture from a Pan-African Perspective

In this two part podcast episode, I will be talking to other Third Culture Kids to explore the similarities and differences in our experiences and share what how it feels to be cultural confused, discovering your race and living everyday life tied to three cultures. This is Part 1, focusing on the Third Culture Kid from a Pan-African lens.

Louisa Kiwana – @afroblush and Ruth Muthoni – @Mothonee

Tina Tama – @mouthe4t

Ugochukwu Njoku

Juliet Segayi – @blackacrylic

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Louisa Kiwana – @afroblush

Funmi Ogunlusi – @arinola91

Ruth Muthoni – @Mothone, Funmi Ogunlusi – @arinola91 and Louisa Kiwana – @afroblush

Louisa Kiwana – @afroblush and Ruth Muthoni – @Mothonee

Part 2 –‘A Global Perspective’ we will hear from Third Culture Millennials from a wider ethnic people from wider Europe, the Middle East, North Africa, Canada and Asia – taking the conversation to another level.