Twenty years ago the sighting of black people in Warsaw was always something unusual. At the time,the very few black Africans in Warsaw were such exotic sights for the Polish population,generating different strong emotions and reactions such as racist remarks and hostile behaviours towards these black Africans,and also very delicate emotions such as a certain level of hospitality towards these Africans and a desire to learn more about them and the culture of the societies they came from. But that can no longer be said to be the case now,especially in Warsaw.
As the years rolled by more and more Africans continued to head into Poland,with Warsaw as the most popular destination for the Africans(thanks to the death of communism and the ascension of Poland into the European Union).
But a closer look at the African population in Poland reveals a very interesting,and at the same time curious,fact. Citizens from certain African countries out-number those from other African countries in Poland by far. For example in Warsaw the population of immigrants from Nigeria by far out-number those from the rest of Africa.
At the same time,some countries in Africa have extremely few(if any) citizens here in Warsaw.
But why is that?
There is a combination of different reasons. The first reason is the huge difference between different African countries. For example,with Nigeria accounting for over 18% of the entire African population,it is easy to understand why about 2 out of every 10 Africans in Warsaw(and indeed every European city) are Nigerians.
But apart from the sheer numerical strength of some African countries over the others,there is also another reason behind the discrepancy in the numbers of the African immigrants in Warsaw.
Nigerians are the most adventurous and daring people in Africa. Their adventurous nature have over the years propelled them to every corner of the world,more than any other people from the rest of the African continent.
But having said that,there also other nationalities represented here in Warsaw in relatively large numbers. The French-speaking African countries such as Senegal and Guinea have large representation in Warsaw as well. Others include immigrants from Somalia,Kenya,Cameroun and so on.
The most obvious reason behind the influx of immigrants from Africa into Poland(and Europe) is the great desire and the quest for a better life,life better than what is made available for them by their morbidly corrupt,excessively wicked and,in many cases,laughably illiterate political leaders in Africa.
These corrupt leaders,from Nigeria(before 2007) to Zimbabwe,from Sudan to Guinea and Gabon and Egypt,create an economic mess in their countries that leave their young citizens no choice but to seek for greener pastures outside the shores of the continent of Africa(But,whether or not their hopes and dreams are realised is a topic for another day).
But despite this influx of immigrants into Europe,there are also some African countries with little or none of their citizens here in Poland. Top on the list of such countries is Libya,followed by Tunisia.
The reason why there is almost no Libyan immigrants in Poland can best be understood by looking at the political and economic structure of Libya itself.
In as much as there is no western-styled democracy in Libya,the economy of the country is structured in a way that almost every Libyan is gainfully employed, and those who are not enjoy vast government welfare support. Thanks to the country's oil wealth.
So,since the average Libyan lives in relative comfort-many of them employing house keepers from other African countries- no wonder nobody sees them hustling to make a living in the cities of Poland.
Text by: Ify Nwamana, author: 'Stadium: The Devils' Playground'