While millions of Africans are migrating to the West in search of “greener pastures,” Carl Manlan, an African Father of two, has returned his family to Africa from Geneva, Switzerland, and has no regrets about it.
In a recent interview with NPR, Carl Manlan said his decision to leave Switzerland, one of world’s most stable economies, came from his desire to be a Dad in Africa.
Manlan is from the Ivory Coast while his wife, Lelani, is from South Africa. Together they have two children, a 6-year-old daughter named Claire and a 3-year-old son named Liam.
“Raising my two African children in Geneva has limitations. There are experiences they will not be able to have because of the geographic location,” Manlan said.
For Manlan, it is important for children of African heritage to understand where their parents come from, be part of the local culture, understand the local languages, and appreciate the challenges the continent faces.
Manlan, who has now settled in Ghana where he works as a chief operating officer for a foundation, said one of the observations his daughter has made so far since relocating is the large number of children living on the streets in Accra.
Most of these kids are either begging for money or hawking things just to eke out a living, a phenomenon that his daughter was not used to in Geneva.
“Part of the explanation we gave her is that there are many children who cannot go to school and they have to find a way to make a living,” he explained.
An African Dad
As a Dad in Africa, Manlan hopes to instill the same good morals into his children that his late-Father taught him when he was growing up in Abidjan.
Although his father, who was a medical doctor, used to travel a lot and had little time to spare, he always tried his best to spend time with his son and to teach him how to become a professional.
“In my teenage years in Abidjan, he’d wake me up in the early hours, around 5 in the morning, and we’d go for a walk,” Manlan revealed.
“With my kids, when I travel for work, I make sure we have a conversation about my traveling before I go. I explain what I’m going to do.”
Manlan’s advice to fellow African Dads is to always have time for their kids. He also insists that raising children is a commitment that every parent, especially Fathers, must embrace to ensure their children become good citizens.
Manlan and his family are a part of the growing number of African migrants returning home from the West. While some returnees cite economic troubles in the West as their main reason for returning, others are attracted by the growing job and business opportunities in Africa.
by Fredrick Ngugi