Belgian | Senegalese

Photo by Tina Todd

Photo by Tina Todd

My mother is Senegalese and my father is Belgian. I grew up in the city of Liege. I was always interested by both sides of my origins. I love going to Senegal as I can discover another culture and live for a while in that way.

I’m studying physiotherapy at university as this diploma can allow me to work, travel and help people around the world. Moreover, music was always one of my favourite hobbies. Listening to some music or by playing instruments, I play guitar, piano and flute, and singing helps me bring out my innermost feelings.

I feel mixed race though if people talk about me they refer to me as black. But I’m open minded and not much bothered by that.

My Mum is from Senegal and came to Belgium when she was 22 years old. She identifies herself as Senegalese/Belgian. She cooks both Senegalese and Belgian dishes. Dad is Belgian and has a Belgian/German background. Belgium has 3 regions and the smallest region in the east of the country bordering Germany officially speaks german. My parents met in the Senegal, but I grew up here in Liege. When I was 7 a teacher said to me « your hair looks like a bomb. I know it was just supposed to be meant as a joke but from then on in I wore my hair in a ponytail. I realised in retrospect that what she said was wrong and made me see that I was different.

A negative experience : Sometimes I feel that service is not rendered politely and I do feel that they’d rather ignore me than serve me. I hope this changes. I’m glad it doesn’t happen often. Positive: I love the Brussels festival called COULEUR CAFÉ, when I go there I feel particularly at ease and welcome. This festival is of immense mixed cultures and it’s complete harmony for everyone.

In Belgium I believe diversity in race is very evolved and I think that having the same rights as everyone else here is definitely positive for mixed race people.