Hélène Christelle – This is for my people

On the TEDxAmsterdamWomen 2017 stage, Hélène’s TEDtalk focused on the definition of the Afropean identity. She reflected on black ‘womenhood’ in Europe, and shared her story of resilience and hope.

“A minority culture coming into a majority culture induces the search for identity and through this search you can become your own person, your own character and your own culture.”

Unsure of what identity fits her 3rd-generation migrant status, Hélène regularly asks herself: ‘Am I rootless or am I free?’ A profound question which resonates with so many who’ve migrated and struggle with identity (past and present).

Hélène shared the name given to her by her grandmother: Munganyende, which means ‘she whose voice cannot go unheard.’ A name which is as powerful as for whom it was given. And, so aptly fits the journey she’s on.

To Hélène, the experience of enculturation has caused discomfort and diaspora -- as both her ‘home’ and the Netherlands feel foreign. Yet, to Hélène, the experience of migrating meant thriving within a geographic context that was given, beyond her own choice. Today, she is not lost; nor, is she hiding or keeping silent. As Hélène powerfully states, “I am alive. I am resilient. I have become Afropean! I am not rootless, I am free.”


Missed the event but still want to see Helene’s talk? Check out her TEDtalk here!