Welcome to the WoBusu, Fam!
WoBusu [whoa-boo-sue] loosely translates as “A made-up word for ‘family’”…in no singular existing language!
The word for “family” in Ga, my mother’s mother-tongue is “Weku” [whoa-ku, way-ku]
The word for “family” in Twi, my father’s mother-tongue is “Abusua” [ebu-sue-ah]
Neither word is pronounced how they are spelled, so phonetically when combined I came up with “WoBusu”. Family is, after all, what you make of it.
In post-Independence Ghana, A Ga woman marrying an Ashanti man wasn’t completely out of the ordinary… but neither was it absolutely common. I’ve always been proud of my heritage, even when challenged by what it meant to be an African and an American.
A prevalent concept throughout the African diaspora for evaluating one’s history comes from the Akan Adinkra symbol “Sankofa,” which concretely means “go back and fetch,” but more romantically is the idea that to go forward, one must know where they come from. It is a proverb that is fraught against the history of slavery, colonialism, corruption and oppression to which any heirs of the Black Atlantic must contend with.
I wanted to draw from the rich and complex biological and geographical histories that made me, while also leaving space for the seemingly tangential histories that shape me today. When it comes to the African diaspora we are all linked, and ALSO distinctly unique. Black is not a monolith. Neither is family.
In thinking through why I wanted to design products and how I wanted to express creativity, I constantly came back to issues surrounding communication, language, acceptance and adaptability in the face of differences. These are things which require a lot of heart and openness of spirit to address. These are things which family —in and of itself— constantly address, whether your tribe is biologically linked or the tribe that you choose.
So, I’ll write “Fam” often, and I mean it. I choose you. I am linked to you. I hope you’ll feel the same, but it’s okay if you don’t.