NAME: Melissa Nambangi
OCCUPATION (AMERICA): Executive Director of Minnesota African Women Association (MAWA)
OCCUPATION (AFRICA): Journalist and News Anchor
FROM (AFRICA): Cameroon
IN (AMERICA): St. Paul, Minneapolis, Brooklyn Park – Minnesota
IN AMERICA SINCE: 1992
WHO IS BACK IN AFRICA?: Lots of family – my precious mother, my precious sister (and her twins), lots of cousins…
WHO IS IN AMERICA? Immediate family (couple of kids), sister (and her kids), several cousins.
WHY DID YOU LEAVE AFRICA?
I came on a Hubert Humphrey Fellowship. After graduate school, your priorities change. It made more sense for me to stay here and do more of what I felt like doing.
THE GOOD NEWS IS, YOU DON’T NEED A VISA THIS TIME AROUND….WHAT’S KEEPING YOU IN AMERICA?
I’m very invested in the whole idea of assisting African and African women adapt to this new society and improve themselves.
YOU CAN TAKE THE MAN/WOMAN OUT OF AFRICA, BUT YOU CAN’T TAKE AFRICA OUT OF THE MAN/WOMAN…HOW DO YOU KEEP AFRICA ALIVE IN YOUR LIFE?
Everyday! Everyday! Through the work we do with young women here. I expect the people going through our program, when they return home, are going to do something that is meaningful.
ONLY IN AMERICA….WHAT DO YOU LIKE THE MOST ABOUT AMERICA?
The opportunities. The fact that anybody can aspire to be something. I love the fact that law enforcement does its work.
BACK IN THE GOOD OLD DAYS….WHAT DO YOU MISS ABOUT AFRICA?
The warmth. That relationship between people, that thing when you meet a total stranger and they mention one name you know and you are instantly friends, or even family.
LOOK, THERE GOES A STAR ACROSS THE NIGHT SKY….WHAT DO YOU WISH FOR AFRICA?
For Africans abroad to take back home those things that work where they lived. When you can make your country efficient, that’s how you show your love.
IF MONEY GREW ON TREES AND YOU OWNED A JUNGLE, WHAT WOULD YOU PLANT IN AFRICA?
I would love to get all the leaders together and make them swear to make the countries work—because they can!
PUT YOUR HANDS WHERE YOUR MOUTH IS…WHAT WAS THE LAST THING YOU DID FOR AFRICA?
Taking these [MAWA] girls on a college tour. The first college tour of its kind.
AFRICAN OR AMERICAN? .
Listen to the interview