RealNews

In the U.S., Africa's Bantu see a reversal of fortune

They may be the world’s closest thing to a truly stateless people: abducted 200 years ago into slavery, relegated in our time to near serfdom, and driven finally into exile by civil war. Until recently, most had never flushed a toilet, flicked a light switch, climbed a flight of stairs or watched a TV. They had never talked on a telephone, cooked on a stove or ridden in a car, never held a pen or used a fork. Many have never crossed a paved road. Now, they’re coming to America. They are the Bantus of Somalia, long the least fortunate people in one of the least fortunate nations on the least fortunate continent. But suddenly, all Africa is talking about the luck of the Bantus. Their identity, once a curse, has become their passport. The U.S. government has judged their future so hopeless that it has agreed to resettle about 13,000 from refugee camps in Kenya, where they fled in the early ’90s to escape the Somali civil war. The Somali Bantus will be the largest single group of African refugees ever admitted to the USA. Several hundred already have arrived, including Muya Malande, his wife and four children. They are the first of several hundred members of their tribe who will settle in Buffalo over the next 18 months. Full Story

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