The Daily Grind Video

The news coming out of Africa this week has been pretty damn depressing. I’m talking the grisly case surrounding Oscar Pistorius, the deadly Egypt hot air balloon accident and the grotesque video circulating on the web of a man being dragged to death in South Africa. It’s been kinda heavy to say the least. Yes, we need to know what’s going on around the world (with all due respect to the victims and families) but sometimes it can be a bit much to soak in. Wouldn’t you agree that we need a bit of balance every now and then?

Quiet as it’s kept, there is good news coming out of the motherland. The good folks over at the Economist published an interesting post noting a couple of positive factors regarding Africa. They pointed to its growing economies, most countries being at peace, record numbers of children going to school and HIV infections decreasing by up to three-quarters.

That’s all kinds of awesome! With every negative story there has to be something positive or uplifting coming out of the continent.

In that vein, this week on the African Scene with Makho, I am stepping up to plate. I am going for it! Yes, ladies and gentlemen, this post will aim to provide a bit of comic relief.

Truth is, as large and diverse as the continent is, there are ties that bind us not just as Africans but with other ethnicities and cultures worldwide. In my experiences as a Zimbabwean, I have noticed that while I may have certain attributes that separate me from my friends, for the most part we are all alike. We share the same fears, triumphs and heartbreaks regardless of where we are from.

But as Africans, we do have things that are entirely unique to us. There are small little idiosyncrasies, or cultural attitudes that are synonymous with our background.

DISCLAIMER: Africa is NOT a country and these are huge generalizations so please proceed with caution.

With that in mind, let’s get into it. I present to you my list of “You know you are African when…”

  1. You have heard someone say to you in utter surprise “you speak English very well…”

  2. If you are over 25 with no kids/wedding and the pressure to “settle down” is laid on thick by your family members

  3. You call everyone older than you aunt or uncle regardless of whether or not they are related to you

  4. You have been raised with the belief that regardless of how full your belly may be, it is a sign of disrespect to refuse food when you visit someone’s house

  5. Your parents talk loudly on the phone

  6. When your parents want to call your name, they call your siblings first before they get it right

  7. When you do something bad, the whole family eventually gets to find out about it. You get extra points if you lived in the diaspora as a child and were under the constant threat of being sent back home

  8. When you have to invite guests or family you have never met to whatever celebration you are having

  9. When you eat chicken, beef or lamb and you are not satisfied until you chomp on the bone and successfully suck the marrow out.

  10. If you understand the concept of “African time”

Now, this list was made in jest and while there may be some element of truth to it, please don’t take it as gospel.

What do you think? Is there anything else you would add to the list?

Makho Ndlovu is a Zimbabwean born celebrity reporter and blogger based in New York City. You can follow her @MakhoNdlovu. To learn more about her, check out her personal blog