Friday, 20 September 2013

SBWG: Making the most of multi-citizenship

If you are a second-generation African, like me, and you're looking at starting some sort of life in Africa (even a transnational one) chances are you'll begin at your home country. The country that your parents come from. Lucky for me I get a choice of two: Ghana and Nigeria.

So the best way that I thought to symbolically mark my moving to West Africa was to maybe get a passport. I've been thinking about it and I've been doing some digging. Apparently, dual citizenship in Ghana is not all it's cracked up to be. I have been hearing stories of people facing suspicious questioning and being made to pay "fees" at the airport to be allowed back out of the country.

Practically, dual citizenship is still a complicated right in Ghana and even more complicated for those who are claiming it for the first time instead of reclaiming their Ghanaian citizenship after losing it by virtue of emigration.

Ideologically, the idea of getting a Ghanaian passport if you're foreign-born is really thought provoking. I'm happy to be seen as British when I'm outside of Britain, that's all by virtue of the passport I travel on. Presenting a Ghanaian passport at any border control, (including ECOWAS ones to enjoy visa free mobility) really hits home the idea that I can be non-British outside of Britain and that's not an identity I've prepared myself for. Of course, if I decided to get the Nigerian passport I would face similar, maybe more confronting issues about identity and how the world sees me.

Ahh. What a difference a passport makes.

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