Growing Up As An American Uganda Youth

I am a native Chicagoan.

I have lived here all my 24 years, born at what is now Rush Hospital. I grew up on the South Side, but I was raised on the West Side. Most of my formative years were spent “out west” and I have been a West Sider for the past 9 years. Growing up in Chicago, I had the privilege of encountering many different cultures. However, I never felt that I fit in to one specific culture. I knew I wasn’t Ugandan. Growing up in the 90s and after the millennium, there weren’t many kids and teens I could relate to as a Ugandan American. It was even to the point that a Ugandan kid laughed in my face after I admitted I wasn’t proficient in Luganda. Also I wasn’t exactly African American. There were certain historical and cultural things that I couldn’t relate to given my Ugandan heritage. So I spent my teen years floating between cultures and having friends from different cultures. At 18, with the completion of senior year and the start of college, I let go of the cliques and the labels. I gave myself the room to take my own cultural inventory and address all the cultures that I identify with. I am a Muganda, an American, and African American. I identify with all three of those cultures. I eat kawunga, polishes and peach cobbler. I do the Kiganda dance, the Macarena , the Electric Slide, I juke and percolate. I am hybrid.

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