Dutch | Ghanaian

I identify as an open-minded Dutch-Ghanaian girl. My Mom is from the Netherlands, my Dad is from Ghana. They met in the eighties at De Melkweg, a well-known concert hall in Amsterdam. My Father used to perform there often with his Ghanaian highlife band. My Mother used to go there to dance. They met when a friend of my Dad was playing. Visiting Ghana as a young girl showed me that there was another side to me, another world, another home, that my friends and family back home were unlikely to ever see. It was something I needed to hold space for by myself.

In elementary school, I was surrounded by mostly non-Dutch ethnicities. But my secondary school was very upper-class and White. Having grown up in these very different environments taught me how to be comfortable with my dual heritage regardless of my surroundings. My Mom has always been interested in African culture, even before she met my Dad. And I believe my Dad has always had a pretty broad perspective on things. I think they managed to combine their cultures because they have similar values and lifestyles; they are both creatives and have never worked a nine to five job. However, these days they live in their own respective countries for most of the year, so they don’t have to combine them as much.

In my early twenties I realised that I didn’t fit anywhere. This not fitting in has been one of my strengths. I’ve always felt free to experiment. But at times I still feel like I don’t belong anywhere. And that people don’t understand the way I see or experience things. I’ve been pretty clueless in dealing with my afro hair, since no one around me knew anything about it. At 28, I’m still learning how to take care of it properly. I feel a special connection to African rhythms and guitar styles. I grew up hearing my Dad making highlife music. It has become an integral part of me, and the music I create is inevitably infused with it. I love Ghanaian food. It’s something I crave and miss often. It’s always a special moment of connection with my family when my Father cooks.

A positive for me is that people are generally interested in my background. Recently, my Dad became chief of our tribe in Ghana. I feel privileged to be part of a rich cultural tradition on one side, and to experience the freedom of living in Amsterdam on the other side. Being mixed makes me feel like I don’t blend into society sometimes. I am very aware that there are multiple ways of seeing and doing things. Taste wise, I’m particularly into music and art that reminds me of Ghana.

I struggle with the individualism and pressures of Western society. I wonder what I would be like if I grew up in Ghana. Would I be able to enjoy life more?