Africans resident in Sweden have been enjoined to participate in politics so that they can play a direct role in political decision making in the country.
If the Africans living in Sweden desire to get into the mainstream of governance in the country, it is important for them to participate in politics by joining any political party of their choice in order to be able to influence government policies.
Speaking to the African News in Stockholm, a human rights activist, Miss Rokibath Alassane, said ‘’even though it won’t be easy but anything you want to do you can do it. You must not give in to those who may want to discourage you’’
According to her ‘’Africans in Sweden can participate in politics if they believe in it. As long as you live here you can join politics. I have friends here who are politicians and they are blacks. Africans must believe in themselves and believe in their capability’’
Alassane, who also writes for Afropé.se, however, said that it would take a lot of years before an African can attain the position of a prime minister of the country because ‘’Sweden is going through identity crisis right now. It will take a lot of years for Africans to produce a prime minister in Sweden. My dream is that we get a lot of black people into politics, people owning companies but the reality is that the Swedish politics still have a long way to go’’
The activist who affirmed that racism is a fact in Sweden, said ‘’with black skin it is hard for you to get a job. You have to work ten times harder than your colleagues because you have a black skin. Hard to get apartment, people are wary of you while on public transport. At the train station people will keep their bags or purses and other personal effects when they see black people. Black people face these racism problems every day’’
She said ‘’statistics tell us that people of black colour or people that are not of Swedish origin have things tougher for them in the society. I have friends that changed their names so as to get good jobs. I think definitely Racism is a fact in Sweden’’
To get fully integrated in Sweden, she said ‘’Africans must get good education because education is a weapon. We must educate ourselves and our kids in order to be able to navigate our way through in the society’’
The activist, who frowned at the unabated trend of seizing African children and placing them in foster homes by the government, attributed the problem to cultural differences, saying that African parents must understand how the system works. ‘’The way we raise our kids in Africa is different from way children are raised here. We beat and spank and these are not encouraged here’’
She implored the Swedish government to live by what they preach by making life better for the people ‘’we need to be seen. Seen as individuals and also seen as a group. See us and acknowledge us. If they do that, afro Swedes will feel better and that will help the structural discrimination and to open up jobs, housing and migration.
She also counselled afroswedes to always push the doors and make them (government) ‘’know that we want them to open the doors. We need to be part of the society. Africans in Sweden must also cooperate and unite. We are one people. Let us come together and let go our ego’’
In addition, she encouraged African women to be fearless, brave and put in their energy to get education and be proud of who they are. ‘’African women should be proud of their colour, size and they should own it and see themselves as queens’’ pointing out that ‘’despite the difficulty we will face when we are living with racism and sexism. I am trying to do my part as a feminist to empower women who do not have voices’’