#HeartAfrica pulls emotional strings


When you leave Africa, you leave a piece of yourself behind. This yearning for the continent has sparked a campaign to show the passion Africans have for their land.

heartafrica text Homecoming Revolution’s #HeartAfrica social media campaign tries to find what makes Africans passionate about Africa. (Image: Homecoming Revolution)

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Shamin Chibba

Africans who have lived abroad are not only returning to the continent because they miss their family and friends. Some, like Kenyan Hazel Ojany, give more reasons for coming home.

Ojany came back because she believes Africa helps her to maximise her full potential. Ojany lived in Chicago, London, Philadelphia and New York City for 10 years.

“I chose to return to Africa to live, work and play at my true potential,” she told brain gain company Homecoming Revolution. “I now advise local and foreign business and political persons on how best to drive socioeconomic development in their countries and sectors of interest in sub-Saharan Africa.”

Ojany is one of thousands of migrants who have been influenced by Homecoming Revolution, the NGO that encourages Africans living abroad to return to the continent. The organisation recently launched its #HeartAfrica social media campaign, which could help it reach even more Africans abroad through social media.

According to chief executive Angel Jones, the idea for the campaign was sparked when organisers tried to find an icon that would represent the passion people have for Africa. In September 2014, they came up with the stencil of a heart with Africa cut out on the inside. “When you leave Africa a piece of you is always missing,” said Jones. “This missing Africa shape is something we wanted to bring to life. The beauty of the stencil frames everything we love about Africa from people to food to sunsets.”

Jones said the organisation had distributed over 500 #HeartAfrica stencils worldwide and more than 1 200 photos had been spread online through various social media channels.

The campaign calls on Africans, or lovers of Africa, to capture an image of what they love about their country while displaying the stencil. These are just some of the ways Twitter users have been showing their love for Africa: