By: Mazuba Kapambwe
Before I go into further detail with the article, I would like to add a disclaimer which is that I do not intend to offend any nationality .The reason I used Nigerians as an example is because most of my friends are from that country. As mentioned above, these are my opinions and they do not reflect those of the face2faceafrica team.
Now that ‘s out of the way, I would like to state that the inspiration behind this idea came from a tweet by Nigerian comedian Basketmouth who is known around Africa and performs in the UK and other countries. A few days ago, he tweeted that he was in Lusaka, Zambia, and was looking for a Nigerian restaurant. I tweeted that why does he not go for something different and try Zambian food? After all, he was in Zambia right?
I am from Zambia and I am known to finish a plate of jollof rice which we don’t eat in my country, so I thought maybe he should get a “taste of Zambia”. I resorted to posting a status referring to Basket Mouth’s tweet and how Nigerians need to step outside of their comfort zone and explore other African cultures in terms of music and food and most of my Nigerian friends said “I’ll pass”.
This bothered me a little because I thought “How can you say that when you haven’t even tried nshima (staple food made out of corn that resembles fufu)? or any other non-Nigerian (you may insert other nationality here)’s food.
It’s not just about the food. It’s about the whole idea of expanding one’s horizons culturally. The world is becoming more and more globalized and we meet different people every day. Take myself for instance; I am Zambian and did my high school at an International school in Addis Ababa ,Ethiopia where I mingled with Namibians, Zimbabweans, Zambians, Tanzanians, Swazi’s, Cameroonians, Rwandese (the list could go on ).
Inevitably, when you hang out with a mix of people from all these diverse countries and cultures, you become a blend of all of them. Suddenly I was speaking a mix of Afrikaans slang (courtesy of my Namibian friends), adopted a love of Ethiopian coffee and food and now that I’m here in America at a University where most of the African population is Nigerian and Ghanaian, you will find me dancing and singing along to the latest Nigerian song like any of them.
This is what the idea of being an afropolitan is. It’s becoming a citizen of Africa while of course not abandoning your individual country of origin. It’s seeing FELA on Broadway, practicing my Nigerian pidgin with friends and staying on top of the latest Zambian music. I just want my friends at university to be as open as the ones in high school.
When I go to a “Nigerian” party, I want to see the DJ’s playing a mix of naija music, Ghanaian hip life, south African kwaito, coupe de cale etc. Just like Taiye Wosurnu said in her essay The Afrobeat: What is an Afropolitan, "We are Afropolitans: not citizens, but Africans of the world"