“I don’t want to have to ask permission to come and see my people. I want to come when I want to come to be with my people” – Actress and Author Tiffanny Haddish
BY ASMAIT FUTSUMBRHAN | SHABAIT
No introduction needed to who she is. After her first visit last year, the Black Unicorn is back to celebrate the 28th Independence celebrations with her people in Eritrea. Ever since her recent re-connection with her Eritrean heritage, Tiffany has proudly been in-touch with her Eritrean side.
Now that she is here to celebrate the biggest and glorious day for Eritreans, she managed to visit a number of places including the historical trenches of Nakfa, where she actually conducted this interview.
Q : Welcome back Tiffanny, what new changes have you noticed since your last visit?
I have seen a lot of things and advancements. For example, the roads to Massawa are not as bumpy as they used to be, it was a smooth and very nice ride. I love the roads to Massawa. I have also noticed more internet cafes which I was excited about, a lot more farmlands, which is really exciting to me, and more livestock. Most of all, the President showed me the amazingly beautiful Dams.
Q : You have travelled to a number of places during your stay, how did you enjoy them?
I have been to Asmara, Massawa, Dihil Island and Nakfa. Dihil is an Island where the Afar ethnicity inhabits. The food was really good and I enjoyed the singing and dancing. I also went to sleep in one of their traditional beds outdoors with the stars and everything, I was just knocked out, and it was so good. It was wonderful.
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And my most favourite place of all was the hot springs at Mai Wuei. It is a beautiful place; the hot springs have helped me with my knees, which I recently have just hurt.
Q : Tiffany, you are here for the independence celebration, how does it make you feel, especially with the peace situation that the country has recently embarked on?
Coming to Eritrea at the time where it celebrates its independence week, there have been many events I attended which one of them was the carnival. It was so much fun and I am happy that I could be part of it. All our freedom fighters sacrificed their lives to make sure that we have our independence and our own land. Personally, I feel like it’s not recognized enough.
Now, we are here in Nakfa, the home of the heroes; the freedom fighters. The homes of the people were bombed and had to move away but they took care of the freedom fighters and look out for them. To be walking those trenches and seeing how they were defending their lands with the enemy just steps away, we had these people willing to sacrifice and to be strong. I was going through every emotion at the book. I was feeling every emotion you could feel. I am still feeling it. It is a lot of pain. Still is beautiful.
Those trenches are Eritrean version of the Great Wall of China, the great trenches of Eritrea. I saw the trenches and I keep thinking to myself that, would I have done that? Would I have done all the things they did? So my gratitude, I am so grateful that they did that and were willing to sacrifice for the future, for their children and grandchildren. To me it’s a lot; it is a lot of emotions that I am dealing with. I am trying to figure out how to process all of this.
I couldn’t imagine how someone could be lived through it and survived. I know it had to hurt tremendously to see someone that you care about die right in front of you and your home blowing up right in front of you. It is a sad situation.
And the fact that I didn’t know about it for so long makes me really upset. I don’t understand why they don’t talk about it anywhere else in the world.
But the fact that I am here now, and be able to celebrate those people that paid their lives for this, to show gratitude and appreciation, with every one teaming up and staying strong and not giving up, to me is amazing and I am grateful.
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I also got my citizenship here in Eritrea. Signing those papers and getting the validation meant the world to me. That is something my father wanted. I love my father so much and maybe he didn’t get to raise me but he installed enough for me in my blood. He thought me a lot during the time I did get to spend with him. I want to honour him and I just want to be a good daughter. I want to help my family who still live here and want to do good things for them.
I always had to ask permission to come and see my family and people but I don’t like that I had to ask permission to see my family. Now that I got my citizenship and I can come and see my family when I want to see my family. I don’t want to have to ask permission to come see my people.
Q : Before we conclude our interview, would you please share with us what you have been up to since your last visit?
Well, I started my own productions, the #SheReady productions. I am putting together TV shows and movies. One of my goals is to come here and make some movies and take the opportunity to give them good line of movies and really get it out in the world. To make sure the world can see how beautiful the people and Eritrea is. We got great stories to tell that the world needs to know about. I also got cartoons coming out. My goal is to one day own my own studio so that people who work with me have a generational wealth.
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Q : Well thank you for having us, before we say our goodbyes, do you have anything to say?
I am so happy my daddy was born here because now I have a place to go, as a citizen of Eritrea, I am happy to be home and I can’t wait to keep coming back home and learning more and more to share with the world. The world needs to know how amazing this place is.