What we encompass as Africans: MOOTEE Culture
Author: Dom Walsh
The Cat, The Dog and the MOUSE
As soon as Africa is mentioned (especially abroad), it is guaranteed to be followed by the same questions…Do you guys have internet? Are you not scared of being eaten by animals? Do you know John? He also lives in Africa, and my favorite… But you don’t “Look” African.
Personally I love the fact that Africa is this “untouched garden of Eden”. What most people aren’t aware of is the extreme diversity, beauty, creativity and potential that presents itself in Africa.We house 11 Official Languages, a plethora of different races and a landscape that reaches from the snowcapped Drakensberg mountains to the baron Kalahari desert. Africa is like the dog, cat and mouse that are best mates.
So, what really is Africa?
To understand this, we need to understand the South of Africa – the country that pops to mind when Africa is mentioned. The first and most crucial point is that we are a 21st century country. Yes, we have internet, and no, I live pretty far away from the bush. No, I don’t know your mate John – he lives in a different province, but please invite him around to the bar – we would love to meet him.
All this being said, Africa is still a bit rough around the edges (in a good way). There are two sayings that associate with our beloved continent:
- Africa is not for sissies – this encompasses our hard working nation. Our nation is a nation that will adapt and rise rather than fall.
- TIA (This Is Africa): This is used to describe anything that Africans do differently.
Africa’s melting pot of cultures
As mentioned, Africa is a melting pot of cultures that has given birth to one of the most hospitable nations in the world. The sense of community is actually overwhelming. This is quite surprising considering the conflict that has been present on the continent for years. If you have been to South Africa you would have, at some point, been invited to a braai (South African BBQ). This could actually be a modified version of the first ever cooking technique. If you believe cooking meat is what makes us different from animals then you can thank us Africans later.
The tradition of sitting around a common space sharing food, drink and stories are engrained in the African people, even today. African food is always homely, wholesome and designed for the entire family. Even drinks are designed for sharing. It is considered rude to drink Umkombothi (A traditional Low ABV beer made from grain) alone or while standing. Its sole purpose is to bring people together.
We have an ancient proverb called Ubuntu. This directly translates to “I am because we are”. All this is the traditional side of Africa. Modern Africa is rooted in tradition, but bombarded with western influence. We are not behind in any way, shape or form. We are our own nation pioneering our own fashion, food and tradition.
Africa’s influence on the world
What is surprising is the influence Africa has on the rest of the world:
- Not many people realise that quite of few of the Hollywood films are shot here in Africa -from Resident Evil to Blood Diamond.
- An increasing amount of haute couture Is rooted in traditional African dress.
- It is said by some that the human race’ Point of Origin is positioned in Johannesburg.
- We are responsible for some of the oldest art in the world dating back 75,000 years.
- I do need to mention our love for fine spirits and wine. South African wines are considered some of the best in the world. Our spirits always win international awards.
All in all we are a nation of survivors, forgivers and most of all we are a nation of pride. Whether it be sitting around a braai, drinking Umkombothi or blowing the vuvuzela at a soccer game. We do it TOGETHER.