Michaella Mutoni Talks Acculturation, Identity, and being Pan-African
Growing up as a child, my first introduction to Rwanda was through the movie “Sometimes in April.” After that, I pored over an encyclopedia and newspaper clippings trying to gather all the information available, but it just wasn’t enough.
I recently had the opportunity to chat with a Rwandan-Canadian on the podcast. We had a lovely conversation about her home country, of the ongoing inclusivity and economic growth (shoutout to President Paul Kagame), if she would consider moving back home, her identity, being a third culture kid (TCK) amongst others. She is Michaella Mutoni, a Burundi-born Rwandan who has lived in Germany, Senegal, and the US and is currently based in Canada. She is a global solution manager for a software company and also the host of a bilingual (FR/EN) podcast called “Jase Avec Moi” that highlights the stories of African professionals in the diaspora.
Growing up for her, it was a blend of different cultures and people. Like many others who relocate from home, she faced the challenge of adapting to a new way of life and environment; but this she overcame by being active in her community and joining African groups where she met like-minded individuals who reminded her of home.
I asked the question which I am also often asked, which is if she would consider moving back home. Michaella gave an enthusiastic “Maybe!” and spoke of how her life would have been different if she had remained back home in Rwanda but highlighted the peculiarity of our individuality, stating that making an impact wherever we are is what counts. What’s also great is that she is looking to invest in Africa in the coming years.
Michaella now identifies herself as being Rwandan-Canadian as an ode to her new, rounded, and more complex views of life and her thought process. Reflecting on the multiple cultures she has experienced, she agrees to be a TCK. She appreciates the role of her parents in encouraging both her and her siblings to fully integrate into the various societies and make friends across cultures. She expressed regret at the inability of the African educational system in teaching African history in place of colonial history. Michaella proffers that we first learn about ourselves before learning about others and suggested the creation of fun content that aids learning through modern platforms such as YouTube videos, movies, and podcasts. Having bagged an MBA and gone through the rigors of obtaining students loan, Michaella doesn’t think grad school is for everyone, based on the premise that we are all unique individuals and urges everyone to follow their paths.
Concerning her purpose on earth, she summed it up as service. She believes in collective success and sees it as a duty to help those facing the giants she has already defeated. On career switch, Michaella advised that there must be a strong “WHY” as a motivating factor that will promote perseverance in the face of many “NOs.” To her, success requires not only perseverance but also patience.
Michaella reminds us to keep the Pan-African spirit as we all look forward to our collective development and success. In her words:
“I stan anything African, I want all of us to succeed.”
Learn more about Michaella here: https://jaseavecmoi.com/
🅻🅸🅽🅺🆂 to the full episode with Michaella below:
- My episode on Michaella’s Podcast: https://jaseavecmoi.com/2020/03/18/019-mo-on-cultural-curiosity-and-finding-joy-in-the-unexpected/
- Sometime in April (Movie): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sometimes_in_April
- Rwanda’s Economic growth: