This time it is not about one country or one culture, but one person who has the peculiarity of growing up across multiple African cultures.
Born in Nairobi, Kenya, from a Mandiga-Fulani Ivorian father (Ivory Coast, West Africa) and a Tutsi Burundian mother (Central Africa), Aminata has been shaped by a blend of cultures and countries.
At certain periods of her life, war forced her and her family to move from Burundi to Kenya, then from Uganda to France, back to Burundi, Uganda and Kenya again. But those difficult journeys crossing borders have moulded into an open-minded women who cultivated a melodious voice.
From a very young age, Aminata felt this urge to sing and she grew up learning more about singing and built her confidence. It comes to her naturally as she describes, “I walk with it everywhere, a thought becomes a song”.
Listen to Aminata speaking about her inspiration for music:
Aminata has been living in Australia for seven years – the longest time that she has ever spent in one country – and she is the composer of songs written in English, French and many African languages. Through her music she wants “to communicate, to encourage and empower people. I do it for a good cause, not for fame”.
Coming from a Mandiga-Fulani-Tutsi background and having grown up in East and Central Africa, there is a cultural balance between the warm and extravagant culture of West Africa and the welcoming and traditional mentality of East Africa.
“I feel privileged of having that cultural mixture because I feel more balanced and I can understand both sides”. Even though she has never lived in her father’s country in West Africa, she has inherited from the strong paternal Ivory Coast traditions and she has formed a dominant cultural identity from it. From her maternal Tutsi side, “Burundi has taught me a lot about pride and how to be myself”.
Born and bred within two tribal heritages was certainly not so easy from a cultural and social point of view, but she hasn’t developed an ethno-centric mind. It has taught her diplomacy and open-mindedness.
Interestingly, French and Swahili – two languages foreign to her both parents – are used to communicate between her parents and her seven siblings living around the world.
Because she speaks 8 languages fluently, she finds it easy to communicate with the diverse African communities. Besides her day job and music composition, she gives her time to the African community in Melbourne through Africa Media Australia (AMA, www.africamediaaustralia.com). She assists in organising African events to gather the diverse communities. In line with AMA, she firmly believes that the communities should be more united and confident that the whole African community can support each other. “We are all Africans but culturally diverse, therefore it is important to bring people together”.
Today she wishes to bring more to the African community. Considering education as ‘fundamental’, she hopes to implement support programs that are less segregated and open to all African migrating to Australia, regardless of their Sudanese or Ethiopian background. “There is a real need to understand what has shaped these people to do more than giving them a home, orientating them in the community but to bring a psychological support”.
What’s more delightful than an advocating and passionate voice to bring together the African communities?
I invite you to click (on picture) and discover Aminata’s artistic life through her website. It gives you a taste of her repertoire of African rhythmic songs.