Tonight, I want to talk to you about Africa, my Africa, and together, I want us to explore its multifaceted culture. Because it is home to a multitude of immensely rich and dynamic cultures and heritages. This time, I focus my ticket more on cinema, sport, etc..
From tangible and intangible heritage to creativity, Africa’s rich cultural diversity and talented cultural professionals are powerful catalysts for peace, sustainable development and human rights on the continent.
Although we often talk about African culture in the world, I would like to point out that it is difficult to talk about an African culture. Each country — and even each region of each country — has its own culture. It’s a bit like talking about a European culture (certain points only concern a minority of the population) or French culture, as if Lille, Parisians and Marseillais had the same culture. Do you kinda see what I mean?
This makes one year and 17 days that I passed the competition Mondoblog, which allowed me to establish links with many Africans (especially in West Africa). During the exchanges with them, I was able to learn certain things about African culture. My “learning” was supplemented by the articles of the latter, as well as their various posts on social networks.
What is presented here is not necessarily representative of Africa in general. It’s a simple point of view, recurring expressions during discussions or things that marked me. Because no, in Africa not everyone lives in a hut in the heart of the savannah. Not everyone is into voodoo. And yes, in Africa, we have access to the Internet!
sports in africa
Sport and Africa… (MDR) When I was a child, adults talked so much about the Ethiopians, about their speed in the race, so much so that I imagined the Ethiopians running. Long races: 5,000 m, 10,000 m, half-marathon, marathon… The Kenyans too, to which we add the 3,000 m steeplechase. It was crazy, childhood.
Speaking of sport, football occupies an important place in Africa. When you walk in the streets, it is not uncommon to come across a child, ball in arm, who joins his friends to play football. Personally, I was not such a fan of the CAN (Africa Cup of Nations), until I grow up. And that I lean towards the professions of communication and the media, even more, that my love for football increases to the point that I specialize in it. Funnily enough, in Africa teams have animal names. Thus, the Ivory Coast (which also plays in orange) has its Elephants, the DRC its Leopards, Burkina Faso its Stallions, Togo its Sparrowhawks, Mali its Eagles, and my native Cameroon its indomitable Lions. And so on…
To stay in football, do you know André Onana ? No ? I do, Onana is currently one of the best goalkeepers in the world. The Cameroonian is Italian champion with Inter Milano and Champions League finalist. He would have abandoned the national team of the indomitable lions of Cameroon during the last Qatar 2023 World Cup in this country, an act which still causes a lot of ink and saliva to flow. A fact very little mentioned in certain foreign media, but which had its short quarter of an hour of glory across the Mediterranean!
Cinema and television in Africa
It’s been two years that I’m a little more interested in the FESPACO. The FESPACO is the Panafrican Film and Television Festival of Ouagadougou. Indeed, created in 1969, it takes place every two years in Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso). It is the African film festival. And here, it’s not just about West Africa, no no. We are talking about all of Africa.
It is disappointing, even sad, that, except for a few aficionados, hardly anyone talks about FESPACO outside of Africa. Almost no one knows about this festival except Africans.
Sometimes, we see the word Kala-Kala popping up in a discussion… A well-known cinematographic reference in Africa, but not too much abroad. THE Kala-Kala (or Kalakala) are from the movie and the Crocodile of Botswana. It is a rebellious tribe, which opposes the president, and which has as a distinctive sign… large ears, which makes it possible to recognize them from afar! It is amusing to note that, sometimes, this film is regarded as cliche on Africa. Because, yes, he did create an expression that is taken up by Africans!
Likewise, the Chacala will come if you continue to talk nonsense! Boo it’s cold in the back… the jackal is the title of a TV series on Novelas TV. But, more importantly, the Chacala is a demon (which appears in the series)! That’s why when someone does something absurd, they tell him that the Chacala will come if he continues. There are thousands of such examples.
African culture: incomprehensible
For some foreigners who have never set foot in Africa, Africans all have rhythm in their skin. And often, they represent African music with its percussion. And yet, many other instruments exist. Take for example the Valiha. The Valiha is a string musical instrument, a kind of bamboo zither found in Madagascar. In the capital, Antananarivo, the day is often rocked by the sound of this instrument, which is sold in all the streets.
In Abidjan (in Côte d’Ivoire), mini-buses serve as public transport (much like in Madagascar and other countries). There they are called gbaka and in Cameroon, Cargo. They must call each other differently across Africanon ?
Let’s move on to the baby libé. I can already see you making dumbfounded eyes in front of your screen. Actually, the baby released simply corresponds to the game of hide and seek in Togo. While in Benin, it is a people found mainly in the northwest of the country.
Finally, we end with the concept of African time. Because in Africa, an hour is not the same as in France or England. Yes, I assure you… If we give an appointment at 8 am, very few people will be present before 10 am… It’s funny but nevertheless true.
As the Director General of UNESCO said:
It is precisely because of its profound uniqueness, diversity and richness that African heritage is universal and requires our attention.
Audrey Azoulay, Director General of UNESCO
Other ideas of cultural particularisms in Africa? I will come back to oral traditions very soon. In the meantime, take care of yourself!