Celebrating African Culture: Dumb Beliefs From Our Childhood

BaKongo masks from the Kongo Central region in the DRC
Photo Courtesy: Ndoto Ya Afrika/ Wikimedia Commons

Africa has been fast losing its culture. People no longer lick yogurt containers after drinking the yogurt. They don’t even chew and spit the paper used to wrap cupcakes. How disappointing? Kids no longer disappear into the bedroom whenever a guest is served tea. High school kids absolutely have no idea what alenya, aka mkarango for our sister schools, is. I once explained it to some lady and she was like “people eat that? Without a gun being held to their heads?” As an elder, I have been depressed since then. Imagine kids don’t know what brikicho is, and most of them will only see banta in a Physics lab when they get to high school.

Who is to blame for this downward trend? Partly, the elders. Instead of sipping busaa under mango trees while imparting wisdom to their future successors, they have been more concerned with spending our school fees on our girlfriends. To what end? So that they can be called bae, and cropped out of Instagram photos.  

That’s why we, as Junior Elders, have decided to remind you of some funny beliefs from our childhood so that you can look into your life and see where you went wrong in case adulting has been dealing you knockout blows. Side note: According to the African culture, bad luck just doesn’t choose you, it is you who must have angered the gods. So stop thinking that someone has hang a voodoo doll of you with a needle stuck in it somewhere along the river beds of River Wuoroya.

Here we go:

1. Have you ever seen those people who eat gallons of food that seemingly go nowhere, while you add 1000kgs even if you just look at fries? Science says they have a very active metabolism system. The African culture disagrees. Apparently, you would go thin if someone hit you with a broom. That sounds like a better alternative than spending 6k a month on gym membership if you want to lose weight. A broom only costs 20bob on the higher side.

2. Still on matters food, it was a capital offence to eat with one of your palms on your chin. Eating with a palm on your chin was akin to trying to kill your mother. If your mother noticed that you were eating with a palm on your chin, she would give a shrill scream that would wake the whole village.

“Why are you trying to kill me? Have I wronged you in anyway?” Then she would give you a hard slap and take away your food and give it to your younger siblings (if you were the last born, she would calmly explain to you why you never eat with your palms on your chin).

“Since you are so grown and don’t need me anymore, go and start your own home and get your own food.”

By the time the neighbouring village got to your homestead to see what was happening, it would look like she was the one trying to kill you. Then she would explain that she is acting on self-defence, exaggerating the facts. Everyone would murmur “why are you being merciful to your killer” before walking away. From then onwards, you would be the poster-child for the sperm that should have never won the race.

3. Get rich or die trying. They say. If you sweep your house at night, you will die poor no matter how hard you try to get rich. They never say. There is a reason why early guests were discouraged from African homes. You had to give your hosts enough time to sweep away any messes from the last night before they would be ready to welcome you. So if you see a Kenyan MP who sleeps in an SQ with all the money they earn, it is not because they lack financial management. It is because they sweep their houses at night.

4. Who hasn’t watched that stage-managed BBC documentary about night runners? I’m saying stage-managed because every African worth of their Africanness knows how to catch a night runner. All you have to do is stay outdoors the whole day and eat nothing but cold food. When evening comes, you must stay bare chest. The logic behind this is that night runners can smell non-night runners from a mile away because they have a warm smell. So you have to stay as cold as possible so that you don’t have a ‘smell.’

5. Arsenal.

6. Manchester United.

7. Taking a shit behind bushes would make smoke from the eathen fire follow you all your life. So next time you head down to the village, observe that drunk uncle who the smoke always seem to follow. Disregard the direction of the wind, even it is blowing in his direction. Science of the wind has nothing to do with it! He takes a shit in the bushes and probably uses leaves to wipe his ass. Another side note: That’s why you should never shake people’s hands, or use a hand sanitizer afterwards.

8. Whistling at night attracts snakes. But you don’t have to worry about that. Cool kids haven’t mastered the art of whistling. Just like sighting frogs, I can’t remember the last time I heard someone whistle. Instead, they prefer walking around with vuvuzelas that they share with people who have herpes on their lips.

You can add more in the comments section, we will really be glad to hear from you.

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