Abuy Nfubea (middle) during African Press Club summer event last week
Dateline: San Antonio, Barcelona
By Chiogor Constance Ikokwu
“My mother always said that the most important thing is not for people to love you but to respect you.” These are the words of Abuy Nfubea, whose life to date has been consciously or unconsciously piloted by this formidable belief.
Born to activist parents in Equatorial Guinea, Abuy gained political consciousness very early on in life. His teacher mum and politician dad were neck-deep in issues of social justice, human rights, feminism, and black liberation. As expected, Abuy grew up alive to the global black movement at the time.
He was immersed in the relevant literature too. His reading list ranged from Thomas Sankara to Malcom X, Bob Marley, Marcus Garvey, Fela Kuti, Winnie Mandela and a host of others. He recollects very vividly an incident at home following the assassination of Thomas Sankara.
“When Thomas Sankara was killed, my mum imposed a curfew at home. No food, no television, no going out. She said it was out of respect for him,” explains Abuy. He was 14 or 15 then and did not understand the rationale for the lockdown. It was not too long before he grasped the issues.
After primary school, Abuy was shipped off to Spain for secondary education. Travelling back and forth between Spain and Africa provided a lot of exposure. By 19, he was involved in school politics at University in Spain. It would seem that he chose the perfect course to study: Political Science.
His activities at the University shaped his future. He edited a newspaper and worked at radio and television stations, specialising in African affairs, immigration, black thought, philosophy and women’s rights. Abuy was moved when he read about the travails and death by hanging of Nigerian writer and activist Ken Saro-Wiwa.
His political consciousness also propelled him into different movements of the time such as the free Mandela movement. Activism took him to the USA and later to Brazil, Columbia, Venezuela, Bolivia, Chile, etc, where he learnt about the plight of blacks in South and Central America. Knowledge of the fact that there are at least 200 million Spanish speaking black people, gave him a reason to stay true to the cause.
Of his work in that part of the world, he says: “I’m proud we’ve changed the mentality of Africans in the Spanish world. They’re now optimistic and fight for their future. They now call themselves afro-descendants.”
He is equally proud of achievements in Spain. “We changed black people in Spain as a consequence of our struggle,” he states.
Abuy has continued working as a journalist. He has written five books; runs the Uhuruafrika Television; manages the Marcus Garvey Online University focused on teaching black history, afro-feminism, Pan Africanism; and co-founded a bookshop called Wanafrica.
These are Abuy’s books if you would like to check them out: Poesia de Estirpe, Introduccion a la Cultura Bubi, Mujer Rastafari Chile, 50 Anos de activism Mujeres Negras en Espana, Uhuru Rigoberto.
What an interesting life. I love Abuy’s mother’s advice, which places premium on respect over love. Of course, love is necessary in life but there’s wisdom in this counsel. My question this week is: what do you think about love and respect? Which, would you rather strive for?
Have a wonderful week everyone!