By Usama Abdullahi
It’s challenging that we are found wanting in our own culture. We don’t promote it simply because we don’t want to be looked down upon or mocked about it. Western culture has now substituted ours. We assimilate and worship anything western. Ironically, the West doesn’t force their culture on us; we rather westernise ourselves.
Sometime in 2013, my uncle bought us pizzas. I used to see pizza as the best dish ever, but I was nauseous when I took my first bit. Being in the company of my cousins, I had to conceal my bitter feelings and fake some smiles to fit in. I was pretty low that day.
For me, pizza is supremely overrated and not as delicious as I thought; it’s aromatic, though. Mind you, I’m not condemning the Italian dish in its entirety. But why do I bring this to light? I felt like sharing my experience, and I want my people to understand that not everything foreign is delectable.
As people with beautiful cultures, we have crazy good dishes that can excite and quench so many aliens’ appetites. Yet, we don’t promote that. We fault it instead. I have watched several western TV shows where the westerners expressed their liking for African culture, particularly their foods.
Arguably, most Nigerians tend to shun and dislike their culture because, to them, it’s worthless. The preference for western dishes leads to the decay of our cultural dishes. Sadly enough, most of the dishes are given western names, which has become difficult to catch on to. Those names don’t correspond and are mostly corrupt versions of the western ones.
Some of us, the so-called civilised ones, erroneously claim that most of our foods are detrimental to one’s health. Though I’m not medical personnel, the little I know tells me that foods like Tuwo provide the body with energy. Awara/Kosai, the most-avoided dishes by the corps d’elite, help build and repair tissues because they are “proteinaceous”. My claims are open to criticism because they are perhaps not well-grounded.
There are others too, which I guess could be harmless and good for consumption if thoroughly examined. It’s time we stopped self-hating or ridiculing ourselves merely because we want to look or sound different, say like the western. Until we promote our culture, our culture will go extinct someday.
Usama Abdullahi wrote from Abuja, Nigeria. Can be reached at email@example.com.