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Last Updated: Friday, 1 June 2007, 06:56 GMT 07:56 UK
Identity: Who do you think you are?
Composite of pictures showing a zebra, men drinking from a gourde, a woman carrying oranges, Kwame Nkrumah, Somali passports, an Egyptian football fan and Ethiopian veteran soldiers.

As Ghana celebrates its 50th anniversary of independence this year - an event that symbolised the beginning of the end of colonialism in Africa - the BBC's competition for Africa explores the continent's identity.

Here, the BBC News website reader Hussein Yusuf describes how he sees himself.

Hussein Yusuf
My overriding identity is Somali although I live in the United States. If you asked me what makes me who I am? I think it would take me a while to respond.

Our identities are shaped by the world in which we live. Outsiders influence how we think and even look at ourselves.

I think being Somali is contradictory because the Somali identity is mixed, and even, dare I say, confused.

We are Africans... and yet we are also part of the Arab world.

I belong to a powerful clan in Somalia, but I have no affinity for it

Our psyche, worldview and even who we are is mingled with what happens in the Arab world.

Our destiny seems to be tied to that world... and yet we are so different from them in so many ways.

Our Somali identity is real: our music, food and everything we do smells of a unique Africa.

Beautiful and proud, Somalis remain Somali.

Clan means so much to so many of my people.

Yes, I belong to a clan, a powerful clan in Somalia, but I have no affinity for it.

I choose to be Somali.

But I am also more than Somali, I am the product of many oceans, always changing, revolving, learning and growing.

Yet my Somali culture and history remains the tower that gives light to the oceans I swim in.

I breathe like a Somali.

My culture is not a fixed configuration but a constructive process.

This is maybe a weakness on my part, but my identity and culture are always conditional to my environment and the centre of the process that I feel is never complete but always under construction.

This is the Somali story: we are the product of many cultures, ideas and people.

I am Somali.


Let us know whether you identify yourself first and foremost with your family, your ethnic group, your country, your region or your continent. How does that affect the way you behave and the way you see the world?

If you have photos to accompany your contribution send them to newsonline.africa@bbc.co.uk, otherwise use the form at the bottom of the page.

Entries should be no more than 300 words.

The best will be published on the BBC News website, broadcast on the BBC World Service's Network Africa programme and entered into a prize draw to win a week-long visit to London.

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The BBC may edit your comments and not all emails will be published. Your comments may be published on any BBC media worldwide.




Girl hanging out cloth to dry in Mali, West Africa [Photo: Barry Perks] Your take
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