ZORA
Published in

ZORA

Ola L.

Nov 25, 2021

19 min read

For the Girls Once Lost in the African Diaspora

What it’s like to grow up as a black girl in a predominately white environment

Untitled Portrait #1 from Simphiwe Ndzube’s Collection

“We don’t understand you? Who can understand you, I wonder?..Don’t imagine such nonsense, child, and thank your good fortune that you have been received here. Are you not in a warm room, and in society from which you may learn something?…Believe me, I speak only for your own good. I may tell you unpleasant truths, but that is a proof of my friendship. I advise you, therefore, to lay eggs, and learn to purr as quickly as possible.”

“I believe I must go out into the world again,” said the duckling. - Hans Christian Andersen, 1843

“From elementary school, I felt like I had to fully assimilate to white culture to survive and attempt to be accepted…and now as an adult, I’m realizing how many pieces of myself that I have repressed or broken and how I’m not my full self because of this feeling [of being] unsafe, unsupported, and less than for embracing or being anything Black culture or “too ethnic” [or] “too black.” I’ve been effectively “whitewashed” and now I’m trying to strip off this shame and brainwashing from existing and tapping into my roots.” — Halle

Mazembe from Simphiwe Ndzube’s Collection

[White men wake up in the morning, look in the mirror, and see human beings. White women wake up in the morning, look in the mirror, and see women. Black women wake up in the morning, look in the mirror, and see Black women. ] — Michelle Haimoff’s quote in reversed order.

Piece by Simphiwe Nduzbe

“To be born in a duck’s nest, in a farmyard, is of no consequence to a bird, if it is hatched from a swan’s egg. He now felt glad at having suffered sorrow and trouble, because it enabled him to enjoy so much better all the pleasure and happiness around him; for the great swans swam round the new-comer, and stroked his neck with their beaks, as a welcome.” -Hans Christenensen