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Abigail Kajumba Bite

"I identify myself as an African, and as a black woman, which has its own challenges and its own blessings. I come from a mixed ethnic background, which also came with its cultural nuances… here in Uganda and in the United Kingdom. Now I can say in front of other Ugandans that I am a Ugandan woman, an African woman, a mixed ethnic woman, and in most circumstances at least, I do not feel reactions from my peers or my colleagues. But as a child I felt it. And even now if I go to my hometown in rural Uganda, where the members of the community have less experience with diversity, they might emphatically describe me as a mzungu (foreigner). They assume that I'm not like them because I have lighter skin, due to my mixed ethnicity with a black African father and a white English mother. In the case of the United Kingdom, they described me as a black girl, as an African, with its implications, and I was often perceived as black, and NOT ‘British’, because of my darker skin. At that time even the label ‘Black British’ was not common. That is changing. Now in Great Britain being black or mixed ethnic is not an exception. Nevertheless, there are still challenges of being black, and more so a black woman even in Britain today.

Interestingly, relating to my career leading global nonprofits and International NGOs, across Africa, the UK, USA and beyond; as well as being African and multi-cultural myself, I have decades of work experience managing multicultural, diverse, and global teams. That coupled with my related studies means I have a deep understanding and working knowledge of this ever more global world. In light of that, although my ethnicity and international background was, and still can be, seen as a disadvantage, to the more enlightened, it is increasingly seen as a strength. I have been described as a unicorn. I am happy to identify as a colourful, unique (and ideally flying) unicorn! Mostly, like us all, I am me and for those who know me, that is enough."

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