You know you are African when….

As Africans, we do have things that are entirely unique to us. There are small little idiosyncrasies, or cultural attitudes that are synonymous with our background.

DISCLAIMER: Africa is NOT a country and these are huge generalizations so please proceed with caution.

With that in mind, let’s get into it. I present to you my list of “You know you are African when…”

  1. You have heard someone say to you in utter surprise “you speak English very well…”
  2. If you are over 25 with no kids/wedding and the pressure to “settle down” is laid on thick by your family members
  3. You call everyone older than you aunt or uncle regardless of whether or not they are related to you
  4. You have been raised with the belief that regardless of how full your belly may be, it is a sign of disrespect to refuse food when you visit someone’s house
  5. Your parents talk loudly on the phone
  6. When your parents want to call your name, they call your siblings first before they get it right
  7. When you do something bad, the whole family eventually gets to find out about it. You get extra points if you lived in the diaspora as a child and were under the constant threat of being sent back home
  8. When you have to invite guests or family you have never met to whatever celebration you are having
  9. When you eat chicken, beef or lamb and you are not satisfied until you chomp on the bone and successfully suck the marrow out.
  10. If you understand the concept of “African time”

Now, this list was made in jest and while there may be some element of truth to it, please don’t take it as gospel.

…it doesn’t seem right to pay the asking price on anything in a store. If you can’t barter for it, it’s not worth having.
…you’re appalled that American grocery stores only sell one or two different types of bananas.
…your parents yell at you for forgetting to use silverware in public.
…you’re going to visit your Grandparents and take you passport ~ just in case you have to evacuate.
…you find all the non-white people on campus so you can be a minority again.
…you’d rather be barefoot and you know that the bloody gooey mess they call beef jerky in the States would never pass for true bolting.
…every toothpaste is Colgate.
…every soap is surf.
…every soft drink is coca cola or fanta.
…you have uncles and aunts who are younger than you.
…black outs are nothing new to you.
…no running water for a day is just another ordinary thing
…40 degrees Celsius is cold.
…You can do your monthly shopping on the pavement.
…four cars are driving parallel to each other on a one-lane road.
…The smell of freshly rained on mud paths/tarmac is comforting.
…being an hour late equals being “on time”
…you get car sick because the roads just can’t have enough potholes!
… you pass by someones house and you know what they gonna have for dinner because u can pretty much see and/or smell what’s cooking
…you can bribe a cop and get away with it!
…you have an over whelming urge to wash all your salad in Milton (baby bottle bleach, supposedly kills cholera) and add a bit of charcoal to your milk just to get the taste your used to.
…You know that the police isn’t always the safest place to go when you’re in trouble.
…Cramming 7 passengers in a 4 passenger taxi is really not a big deal.
…you know never to question what you’re eating (even if it does taste good), becasue sometimes you just don’t want to know.
…you invite people for a get together at 7 and they all come at 9.
…football is played with some sort of ROUND ball and WITHOUT hands.
…everyone in your country plays soccer.
…you cram 24 people into a 14 passenger minibus and have never felt closer to your African friends.
…you make friends with the local Shepard and know the goats by name.
…you spend countless hours shining your shoes when u know very well that by the time you get to the taxi stop, they’ll be covered in unbelievable dirt!
…you keep converting the value of things in your home currency when u see the dollar value.
…a plane flies by and you just cant help but look up!
… you have another name in your home language.
… you hate American corn, because it’s never hard enough.
… you’ve drunk real chai, not this coffee shop stuff. (AMEN!)

What do you think? Is there anything else you would add to the list?



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