|The Breakfast Club: Charlamagne and Chadwick Boseman|
By Mwabi Kaira
My father is from Zambia and my mother is from Malawi. My late paternal Uncle was our family historian and wrote out our family tree back to 5 generations based on oral tradition before his death. I’ve always known my history because of this and I have never questioned where I’m from. In 1998 my best friend Jackie was pregnant with my Godson and she decided to give her son a new last name because she and his father did not want to pass their slave names down to him. She told me I was so lucky to know where I am from because they didn’t. That conversation made me appreciate my Uncle and gave me a different viewpoint on ancestry. Ancestry is not something people who grow up in Africa think about and it is something we learn the importance of living in America.
DNA tests weren’t as popular in 1998 as they are now. If they were I’m sure Jackie would have gladly taken one and given my Godson a family name from the results she found. As DNA tests from AncestryDNA and 23andMe have gained popularity I have watched and delighted in seeing my African-American friends receive their results. As the years have gone by, I have been giving these tests a major African side-eye. There are 54 countries in Africa and most of the results that come back from these ancestry tests trace ancestry back to five, maybe ten countries usually in West Africa. I’m no historian, but I do know that although 54 countries didn’t exist during the slave trade, Africa had empires that date back to before the 1500s. I’m from Sub-Saharan Africa and Northern Rhodesia, Southern Rhodesia and Nyasaland made up my region in the early 1900s. It wasn’t until we gained independence from our colonizers, the British, that we named the regions Zambia, Zimbabwe and Malawi. Each region of Africa has its own similar history.
The test is pricier than the competitor’s price (under $100) at $299 but it is important to note that a simple cheek swab from one test will reveal your maternal roots from the past 500 – 2,000 years. One result is the same for your siblings, maternal aunts and uncles, maternal cousins, children and your daughter’s children should you choose the MatriClan test. There’s a PatriClan test and Family Celebration option available as well that similarly give results for your entire family. One person can take the test for the whole family but the whole family can chip in on the cost.
Twitter user @ChicNSmart deserves her experience best with her tweet:
“The moment @AfricanAncestry reveals the tribe, so beautiful! Like snatching the family legacy back from the slave owner and those tears you shed when you find out, you finally know where home is =)”
Visit African Ancestry to see if this is the piece of the puzzle that has been missing from your history that will bring you much needed peace of mind.