Racial discrimination does not seem like a pandemic that will ever have a vaccine as nations of the world, even those considered intellectually advanced continue to wantonly display the psychological defect of thinking being white makes them superior to the black race. One good thing is that blacks continue to excel, continue to be pushed into new frontiers that show the immense capacity and values of the black race, in the face of this cowardly disposition.
Wode Maya is a Ghanaian aeronautics engineer who lived in China for six years and whose experience with racial discrimination led him to dump his engineering calling to preach the beauty of Africa to the world, which perhaps may have been his true calling.
According to Maya, his worst moment of anti-Black discrimination was when he set out looking for a job and was denied just because he was Black. “Hey, we are looking for a Black man who looks like Obama, but you do not look like Obama,” he was told. He was also derided in public buses and trains.
Maya was propelled by these condescending attitudes of the Chinese to begin a YouTube channel through which to share his experiences as a Black man living in China.
Today, as one of Ghana’s top YouTubers, Maya is telling the African story with a wide collection of engaging videos that are changing the narrative about the continent.
One of his first videos that immediately went viral was when Maya was a student of BLCU in China. In the video, he is seen in a bus with the seat beside him remaining empty throughout the journey as scores of Chinese passengers decided to stand instead of getting closer to him.
With over 550,000 subscribers, the Ghanaian YouTuber has so far been to 17 African countries and interviewed about 200 personalities doing amazing things for the continent.
Maya attributes his success to his parents, particularly his mom, who supported his dreams right from the start.
Growing up from a village in Kofikrom in the western region of Ghana, Maya, born Berthold Kobby Winkler, had the opportunity to travel to China to further his studies. Trained as an aeronautical engineer, Maya ended up as a vlogger due to his personal experiences with discrimination.
In his own words, Maya says, “it all started when I got tired of how Chinese people see me as a Black man coming from Africa,” Maya revealed. “They thought that nothing good comes from Africa; Africa is a war zone area, so I decided to take this upon myself to change the narratives. I am an aeronautical engineer and I decided to quit my job, go out there and promote Africa in my own way as a black man telling the African story.”
His first videos about his experiences in China were packed with humor and entertaining jokes, and his father, who was then against his vlogging idea, urged him to go one step further. With Maya being a fluent Mandarin Chinese speaker, his father thought it would be ideal if he could educate Chinese people he meets regularly about Africa.
“That is where I listened to my dad and decided to talk about Africa-China relationship, and from there, my whole YouTube channel escalated. I mean, I thank my mom for supporting my dream, but I also thank my dad for giving me that idea to become who I am right now.”
Having left China with a loan from friends to pursue his passions, Maya first travelled to about five African countries sharing his travel experiences and each country’s culture. And today, his YouTube channel Wode Maya, which started off as a bridge between Africa and Asia, has grown to be the welcome train to the African diaspora, he says on his website.
Maya’s videos usually start with, AIYA MAYA, AIYA WODE MAYA, which means “oh my god” in the north-eastern Chinese dialect, and with the unstoppable rise of digital content creation in today’s world, Maya is so proud of choosing that path.
“Digital content creation is something very lucrative, it’s something I think worth more than being an engineer, being a doctor, being a pilot,” he said. “People tell me to go and look for a job. ‘Why are you in front of the camera?’ I just wanna tell people out there that I can literally employ you, let you stay in your room, and then pay you every month.”
And Maya, who is urging all and sundry to always follow their dreams, is doing great with his mission to “showcase the hidden jewels of Africa.” But having lived in China for about six years, he is worried about the Africa-China relationship which he says it is not “a win-win cooperation.”
Describing itself as a friend of Africa, China is strategically offering a helping hand in the infrastructural development of the continent while it positions itself as a global superpower. It has won the hearts of many African leaders and continental bodies with its several generous projects that have, however, raised eyebrows among the international community.
It is widely believed that China’s interest in Africa is down to neo-colonization, calculated to stem from the burden of debt on the continent.
“Our people here are signing contracts that will benefit their pockets so China has seen that and they are going to feed you with money because money is not the problem in China so they are gonna pump in money for which they know that if they are giving you 1 billion dollars, at the end of the day, they are going to earn 5 billion dollars, so they don’t”. Maya says.
“It’s about time the leaders in Africa would think twice and say that we are gonna sign deals that will benefit the people of the continent but not our pockets…If we don’t take care, they [China] will soon colonize the continent”, conclude the African ambassador.