Current Students

Nasiphi: Portraying authentic African stories

Nasiphi Debe is a South African student studying media at Pierce College through the Northwest Community College Initiative (NWCCI) program. In this blog piece, Nasiphi shows her gift and love of writing, and how she plans to use it when she returns home to South Africa.

Xhosa girl (1)Rewind to November 2013, there’s a lawyer at my door… they are taking our home. I hear the conversations through the walls, where are the kids gonna go? What’s gonna happen to Nasiphi? I’m in my room packing, trying desperately to squeeze my life into recycling boxes and trash bags…my heart is pounding. I’m out of breath so I slide down with my back against the wall, put my head on the floor close my eyes and whisper “God this can’t be the end.”

Fast forward to November 2014, I wake up in America, living in an apartment I don’t pay for, studying what I love at one of the best colleges in the state. I’ve been here for over four months but it’s still surreal, it feels like a recurring dream that I’m painfully going to have to wake up from eventually. But it’s not a dream, it’s my reality and I’ve taken a hold on it with both hands.

Self portrait (1)I frequently ask myself, what will I have to show for my time in the U.S when I get back to South Africa? Will I just have a thousand selfies and a participation certificate or will I go back with the trajectory of my future being completely changed? That’s what guides me. I am grateful for all the friends I’ve made who have become family, maybe someday I will travel to their home countries, go to Colombia to drink fresh coconut juice and learn salsa dancing, then Ghana to get unprocessed Shea-butter for my hair, then India and Pakistan to buy spices and take cooking lessons. This experience has opened my eyes to a whole new world. I’m no longer afraid to dream big, and my confidence in what I can achieve has reached greater heights. There are so many elements of the American culture that I want to integrate into my own such as their love for education, their discipline with regards to the law, punctuality and hard work. As much as I complain about being homesick, the cold weather, the sleepless nights doing assignments, I wouldn’t trade this opportunity for anything.

Naz (1)In six months I will be heading back to South Africa, and just the mere thought of it evokes bittersweet emotions. I’m sad to walk away from all the wonderful relationships I have been blessed with during my stay here but I am extremely excited by the opportunities that will now be within my reach when I get home. I have always wanted to be in media content production, my passion for it greatly fueled by how African countries and more especially black people are portrayed in the media. In future I’d like to establish my own media production company that specializes in creating and distributing content that portrays authentic African stories.

I may not succeed in changing perceptions throughout the whole world but I strive to be influential within my immediate community and ultimately throughout the whole of Africa. The skills and knowledge I acquire from this program will serve as a solid stepping stone towards achieving these goals, hence I don’t take my time here for granted.

The NWCCI program is part of the Community College Initiative, an exchange program sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

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