Sitting in the park, Demmis, a 37-year-old Nigerian, enjoyed his Sunday afternoon as he used to do in hometown. Around him are his wife, a local Hong Kong woman and their two lovely kids.
“Instead of missing my home sentimentally, I focus on establishing my own home right now and right here in HK.” said Demmis.
Demmis is one of the 1400 black people who live in Hong Kong, enjoying and suffering from life at the same time. Some call themselves “plants”, trying to stretch their root deep into the ground.
Ten years ago, Demmis came to Hong Kong alone after getting a degree of finance. He started doing business between Nigeria and Hong Kong. After a romantic relationship with his wife who is also a Christian, Demmis found the sense of belonging and decided to stay in Hong Kong for the rest of life. The high quality of life is another reason for him to choose Hong Kong, although the cost of life is getting higher and higher. But being surrounded by people who speak a different language and have different culture makes him feel lonely at times. “This is the real life,” said Demmis, “and you have to face it. God help me a lot. He helps me find my true love and my inner peace.”
In the past, lives for the blacks are much more difficult. They suffered a lot from discrimination. For example, people are not willing to sit next to a black person on the bus, just out of the fear or aversion. Today a growing number of Hong Kong local have changed their mind and begin to treat the blacks equally. According to a survey done by HKUnison, among the 1000 Nigerians in Hong Kong, about 300 have married with a local residents. But the survey also implies that over 50% of people are not willing to accept Africans in their personal life, for example, being friends with them or living with them . People have not completely got rid of their stereotype owing to the historical reason and media misleading.
When asking about his future, Demmis is full of confidence. “We breathe the same air, drink the same water, and after dying we are all nothing. I have belief to be accepted by Hong Kong, and create a life of my own.”