Getting comfortable under my skin

CPLP Talks 4




Tinotenda Dean Nyota from Gweru, Zimbabwe, took part in the Caux Peace and Leadership Programme (CPLP) in 2018. He is  an Economics graduate, who describes himself as an active citizen, with a passion for entrepreneurship and development.

'As a young person in post-colonial Zimbabwe, I was raised in a society that taught me that everything foreign and white is better than everything local and black.

The best schools in my country, which any child would want to attend, are the private schools, which are actually perceived as ‘white schools’. The best and safest neighbourhoods, where we would want to live, are dominated by a different cultural set-up, which once again we perceive as white. The ability to speak English fluently  is associated with affluence and intelligence. We all want to dress like a white person, eat and live like the image we have of a white person – over 40 years since we attained independence!   

The first time I engaged in a journey of self-discovery was when I took part in the CPLP in 2018. The World Cup was taking place at that time, and I was supporting France, because of Paul Pogba, who plays for my favourite football team, Manchester United. I can tell you more about Manchester than I can tell about my home town. I knew more about the English Premier League than I did about the league in Zimbabwe. My language of choice, dress code and food choices were all inspired by images of white people and white institutions.

I now look at myself in the mirror differently. I am slowly getting comfortable under my skin...

During our training at Caux, all the CPLP participants told their stories. They came from more than 40 countries and cultures, and they were all markedly proud of who they were. Their stories showed their esteem for their language, food and style of dress. This allowed me to experience a transformational realization; a realization that made me feel misplaced. I felt more British than I felt Zimbabwean.

When I went home after Caux, I felt pushed to lead a discussion on ‘Being young and black in Zimbabwe’. This made me realize that I was not the only one experiencing the isolating reality of an identity crisis. Over the last few years I have seen a shift in young people’s attitudes – towards the idea that local and black is good too. I now look at myself in the mirror differently. I am slowly getting comfortable under my skin and, definitely, my black and curly hair now looks naturally beautiful. The Black Lives Matter movement couldn't come at a better time than now, as we seek to find ourselves as young people in an independent Zimbabwe.


Discover more CPLP Talks articles on culture and its impact:


The Caux Peace and Leadership Talks (CPLP Talks) is an online space where stories can be shared and connections made. This series is hosted and facilitated by the Caux Peace and Leadership Programme Alumni as a two-way discussion. It offers an opportunity to listen to young voices from around the world, get inspired and engage with one another.

If you wish to be part of an online conversation with other Alumni of the Caux Peace and Leadership Programme on 13 March 2021 at 14:00 CET (13:00 GMT) and share your thoughts and feelings on the topic of culture and identity, you can sign up through this link:




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