Episode 10: Masauko Chipembere & Dr. Natasha Gordon-Chipembere - "A Journey By Choice."
Almost five years ago, Amanda read this personal narrative in a magazine article written by Dr. Natasha Gordon-Chipembere as to why her family relocated to Central America. Her article always stuck with Amanda and I knew she would have a great story to tell. Amanda decided then that she was someone the Black Expat should track down.
In the process, Amanda not only meets Natasha, who shares of her story of growing up in an immigrant household in New York City but Amanda also meets her singer/songwriter and musical producer husband, Masauko. Masauko, who grew up in California, is the son of two prominent political activists who had to flee in exile from their native Malawi in the late ‘60s during a time revolution and resistance. As you can imagine, he also had a story tell.
You get to hear the intertwined journey of the Brooklyn woman who meets an LA musician while they both happen to be in South Africa…and how their histories, identities and cultures led them to leaving to the U.S. and create the life they’ve built in Costa Rica.
You can learn more about Natasha’s work, including her writer’s retreats here: www.indisunflower.wixsite.com/natasha-g-chipembere.
You can follow Masauko’s music on https://www.masauko.com/.
Below are some excerpts from Amanda’s conversation with Masauko and Natasha.
Afro-Latina or Black?
“I’ve never called myself Afro-Latina. I’ve always called myself Black, even though there are definitely spaces where I have been identified as an Afro-Latina and have been welcomed into a community. But in actuality, I am not Afro-Latina because my dad was Panamanian with Jamaican grandparents. So they were Afro-Caribbeans who became immigrants to work in the Panama Canal, to work on the railroads and banana plantations of Costa Rica on the Caribbean coast. So I very clearly understand myself ethnically as someone who is Jamaican, of Jamaican descent, a culture.” (Natasha)
“The first time we arrived in Limón [Costa Rica], we got off of the bus and a man walked up with a guitar and looked at Natasha and said, “You’re Norma’s daughter”. And she was like, “What?”
He literally looked at her face and could tell that she was the daughter of somebody that he had grown up with years ago. But it was like, wow, this place is definitely home for my wife if a man can walk up to her on the street, see her history in her face and name her and where she is from and everything all at once. And that never left me. (Masauko)”
Why Costa Rica
“There’s no place that’s perfect, but certainly it was an alternative to what we had been living.” (Natasha)