Short tales from Africa

Beyond the beautiful braids and bright colours, Africa Day at Africa House in Morningside is a celebration of new lives and old cultures for the thousands of people who make up Brisbane’s vibrant African community. Griffith University journalism team hit the grassy fields during the weekend festivities and found plenty of revellers happy to share snippets of their lives past and present.



Mansour from east Africa with Alicia and Sam

“God brought us together. Alicia was on a holiday first in Tanzania and everyone was telling her about Zanzibar. She already had plans to volunteer in Dodoma but she went to Zanzibar instead and fate brought us together. I’m now a stay-at-home dad and learning English.”

– Carla Westwood with photo by Rachel Corbu-Miles

Tunde from Nigeria2 tunde (7 of 1)

“I like interesting people and I like to be in strange places – but I am too old for Surfers Paradise. When I first came to Australia I was at a crossroad and there was a sign that said, no standing, so I sat down and someone said, ‘you can’t sit here’, so I went to the supermarket and saw a beautiful lady and she said ‘see you later’. So I waited outside for two hours until she finished – I thought it was a date.”



– Carla Westwood with photo by Rachel Corbu-Miles


3 QuinnTaylor_Moses_001

Moses from South Sudan

“You can just hear a very, very sharp sound that’s almost like a whistle and all of a sudden it just goes quiet, and then you just hear something go BOOM! It was a civil war time between the North and the South. That time was not the best. Everyone was trying to survive. What I remember is my mum putting me on her back and just running around from one place to another. It was always running around and moving from one place to another hiding because there was constant bombing. And its not like we had proper houses, people are going into dungeons to hide from the bombings. Every time we hear that whistle like sound, we know that something has been dropped. So then we all run around like maniacs. But people are doing that because they want to survive. That’s what I remember the most”.

– Lujayn Hawari with photo by Quinn Taylor

4 Clarah EDClarah from Zimbabwe

“We value our families, back home we don’t take families to a nursing home we look after our parents no matter what. I will always look after my parents. My mum is very lucky, she has a job so she can look after herself. It would mean the world to me to have her with us. With the things going on back home, and are we are so comfortable, I just worry at times that she’s not okay. She’s hard working and she’s always positive. When I was at uni and had a hard time trying to adjust, she’s always been there for me encouraging me to keep perspective and focus.”


Amy Griffin and Elleanor O’Connell 

Gideon from Malawi5 Gideon ED

“Childhood in Malawi was the best. We didn’t have much but we made the best of the little we had. My brothers and I used to pretend to have magical powers of being invisible by running through smoke while my mother was cooking.   We would swim naked in the lake Malawi and chase around roaming monkeys. It was the simple days and I miss that.”




– Mini Biti with photo by Amy Griffin

6 Abdil is in the teal hijab Both from Somalia ED2

Abdil (right) from Somalia with friend Raho

“I miss my mum in Somalia. She is 60. I had to leave her because of the war. I would tell people that war is not safe. Because of the war I was in a refugee camp for 10 years, in Eritrea. I miss my mum. I want to go back, if it was safe, to my family.”

­– James Rose

7 VEE4 of 8)Vee from Zimbabwe

“I’m having a boy in four week’s time. I moved here one year ago and wish to own my food stall one day.”






– Carla Westwood with photo by Rachel Corbu-Miles

8 Selma - option 2 ED

Selma from Ghana

“Home sweet home. I miss African food. The culture, the way we live. I miss everything. It’s a bit different from here. Our culture is the way we live. I love African food and we sometimes struggle to get ingredients here so it’s not the same as getting ingredients back home. I miss home because of food. My country is a peaceful country. We’ve never had a civil war and we never will. Ghana is so peaceful. We are peaceful, we are welcoming.

Amy Griffin and Elleanor O’Connell

9 Jemima QuinnTaylor_002

Jemima from South Sudan

“I remember a shell was thrown and someone was trying to run. A soon as they put their head into the tent, their head was cut off and their body fell back. It’s not good to remember. Life there, it was good, but its not good because of the war, and that’s the reason why we are here. You can see people being killed in front of you… your loved ones. The power that God gave us to escape is one I will never forget. With out that power of God or Australia accepting us here, we wouldn’t know if we would be alive now. It’s a sad life there.”

– Lujayn Hawari with photo by Quinn Taylor 

Ako from Cameroon13. AKO (6 of 8)

“I play striker for a football team here and I coach the under 18’s third division. Football, that’s what I miss most about home. I work for the air force and it has allowed me to experience a variety of jobs I have a Business and Logistics Degree.”




– Carla Westwood with photo by Rachel Corbu-Miles

10 Masai ED

Sianga from Tanzania

“I think I am the only Masai in Brisbane. I go back and forth between here and Tanzania.

I run a school in Tanzania. I have a lot of responsibilities there. Future Warriors, my school, is a preschool that fills in the spaces the government doesn’t provide, such as a preschool system. My job is to help young Masai to keep their culture, which is threatened by global warming.”

-Aceda Rose

11 Audrey ED

Audrey from Kenya

“My dad got separated from us because he had to run away from people who wanted to kill him. My dad was a pharmacist and also a doctor and there was this lady who came to him. She was really sick. She was complaining about her heart. My dad said he couldn’t do anything and he had to take her to another doctor. On the way there, she died and they blamed him for it and wanted to kill him. So he ran away. I remember running after him but he ran a bit faster and I was nine years old. There were lots of people running after him and I was really scared. At night, they wanted to burn our house down because they couldn’t find my dad. So they wanted to kill at least one male, and I only have one brother. So we had to run away too. Till this day I haven’t lived with my dad.”

– Lujayn Hawari 

 Tinashe from Zimbabwe12 Tinashe ED

“No matter where you go, you are never a stranger back home. Everyone looks after each other there. People actually make an effort to create relationships and a bond with each other. I miss that.”





– Mini Biti with photo by Amy Griffin


 14 SYDNEYANDRAUMB (5 of 8)Raumbi and Sydney from Zimbabwe

“Sometimes you have to sacrifice things you love for your family, but one day we wish to return back home. We met eight years ago and moved to Australia for more job opportunities, but we still speak Shona and Ndebele at home for our children. They love going back home with us because when they come back here they have so many stories to tell their school friends.”



– Carla Westwood with photo by Rachel Corbu-Miles


15 Debra ED

Debra from Zimbabwe

“At home I always felt connected, like I as part of something big. I have a big family and we used to have lots of family gatherings. I miss the food, the laughter the music and the friendships. That is the reason why I attend these events I get to feel at home away from home and connect with other people in my community.”

– Mini Biti with photo by Amy Griffin

16 CLAPMUCO (3 of 8)

  Alaine, Nezia, Aliere from Burundi and Brisbane

“We are called Clapmuco, we’re performing a native cultural dance today. We like Brisbane but people aren’t the same as back home.”

– Carla Westwood with photo by Rachel Corbu-Miles

Hanan from Sudan

17 Hanan ED“I have been detained several times in Sudan because back there I was a political activist. This is one of the things we do, we oppose the government back there. They are not democratic, they are trying to enforce Sharia Law and Islamic Laws in the country where everyone is opposing. There is no freedom of speech. You say something against them and you will be detained. The last time I was tortured a lot. So I fear for my safety and I fled to Egypt. From Egypt I apply to be a refugee. The hardest part was leaving my home country and my parents, my sisters, and my brothers back there.


Amy Griffin and Elleanor O’Connell


  1. A beautiful insight into the heart of people who have now made a home in Australia. I wish them every success and happiness. Beautifully written and lovely photos too.

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