The ‘Reconquista’ is arguably the longest war in history, but the enduring and gladly ‘no violence’, jollof wars amongst west African countries, is one that has tarried so long. ‘Jollof is life’, as some would say, and it quite deserves some of the hype it gets. Still, there is so much more about Africa’s rich and diverse cuisine that is shadowed by jollof rice.
To recontextualize a quote from the great Nigerian writer, Chinua Achebe, “Until the rest of Africa’s cuisine have their own historians, the tale of the continent’s greatest dish, will only glorify jollof rice.”
How do we give the rest of the world a whiff of what else is cooking in the motherland’s kitchen?
A new food pop-up is opening a window to let the aroma out and invites the world in to get a taste. Enter, the Taste of Ghana Food Pop-up, a regional food, culture and tourism event set to premier in Lagos on September 19, 2021. It is an exquisitely packed 1-day of culinary discoveries, food adventures and fun thrills hosted by Nania by Achimba.
Africa’s cuisine is as rich as its languages – the continent has over a thousand of them – and every opportunity to show off this cuisine is definitely worth celebrating and should be emphatically embraced. African food festivals are an important addition to modern trends that are sure to help keep original African food and cooking styles relevant.
Food events have always been an opportunity to showcase the richness of the continent’s food as well as its cultural diversity, and this new one coming to Lagos is no different in that regard. While some of the continent’s food have roots that date back to pre-colonial times, there is no doubt that there has always been a willingness to evolve and explore, whether through building on what already exists or starting something completely new.
The explosion of the internet has also made it easier to showcase Africa’s culinary heritage to the world, but it will never be enough without these food festivals and events which give greater practical insight into this heritage. People have a better appreciation of the continent’s cuisine at these festivals because of all it involves, and there is more depth to it than any Tik Tok trend – as was seen with fufu earlier this year.
Food is not just food, and it is never just about tasting. Value given to any cuisine can often be linked to its history, cultural significance and the process that goes into it. This is perhaps the reason why food festivals matter, and Africa continues to have them. Also important is the fact that those with a real appreciation for cuisine will attend, not merely engaging in a trend for social media attention.
The Taste of Ghana Food Pop-up happening in Lagos this September will be an opportunity to preserve and express Africa’s culinary heritage, propagating Ghanaian culture and heritage in Lagos, and in a way that has not been done before. This is the vision of Nania by Achimba, a contemporary culture, food and lifestyle purveyor that is focused on inspiring a new narrative on Africa’s rich culture and heritage. Through this Food-pop, the world is set to see that Africa’s cuisine is more than jollof wars.
Surely, neither Ghana, nor Nigeria, nor Senegal, will yield to the superiority of another’s jollof rice, but through food events and festivals like Taste of Ghana that showcase Africa beyond jollof, we can agree that African cuisine, beyond jollof rice, is king of all – and we altogether share the throne and glory.