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Can we talk about how Africa is too awesome?! Seriously, she is probably, if not definitely, the most underrated continent there is. Let us take a minute or two and just appreciate how incredible this part of the world is in every sense of the word!

For starters, I am not ashamed anymore to admit that I was one of those Africans who suffered from mental slavery and not being satisfied by anything African because I thought things "white" and generally not African were way better than ours. I just thought whatever it is, doesn't matter, it would always be crappy if it was African and high quality if it wasn't African, specifically European or North American. I say I'm not ashamed to admit that I was like this before, because now I have grown out of that horrible retarded mentality and I am so proud of myself, oh Alhamdulillah.

In all honesty, though, count on Africa to show you exclusive impressive diversity in every aspect imaginable for sure! A very good example of this is the two thousand languages Africa possesses across her countries. Nigeria alone has five hundred different dialects, mind-blowing right?! 

The Sipi falls in Kapchorwa, eastern Uganda. Source: Wild Travel Safaris and Adventures

Then we move to the thousands and thousands of diverse cultures across all African regions as language connects us to this inevitably. The different shades of black, white, and red Africans. It is like collectively Africa has people from all over the world right here.

If I even start on the foodstuffs tied to different African cultures, how they are prepared and so full and rich in taste and their importance, you and I both know we shan't finish. Then comes the names...Good Lord the beauty of native African names has not been spoken of enough yet.

The Epitome of Newfound Love

So my journey of falling in love with Africa probably began without me even noticing it, as so many of the amazing things in my life have occurred. As a kid, I would urge my siblings at home to speak Kupsabiny, which is my first language, instead of English. An aunt of mine would applaud me for this and I just saw it as me being African in the slightest way possible.

Fast forward to several years later, my sister read me a beautiful article in a Ugandan magazine about Africans valuing our native names. The best part about this was that it was written by none other than my Dad, which goes to show the love for both writing- and most importantly Africa- runs deep in our blood. That really explained a lot to me because my father would always call me by my Kupsabiny name; everyone else mostly called me by my Arab name, I remember asking him to call me "Mariam" but he proudly insisted on calling me "Cherotich". 

The Sebei, also known as the Sabinyi, are a Southern Nilotic ethnic group found across various countries in East Africa. Source: My Uganda

I really did not know why and frankly I just immaturely thought "Oh he is being too African", wow okay now I am kind of ashamed to admit I was "not in love" with Africa before. At school it was a different story, many people called me by my other Kupsabiny name, and honest to God I hated that.

Believe me, again, I am so ashamed to be admitting this, but I hated being called "Satya" by my mates and teachers at school because I thought my Kupsabiny culture and name were embarrassing. I wanted people to call me by my Arab name because I thought "Oh it is more beautiful and saves me a lot of the shame." Talk about mental slavery, am I right?

Africa is Blessed with Organic Food

When it comes to food, allow me to share how proud I am of Africa. Different regions of the continent are famous for different dishes. Interestingly, so many Africans are trying so hard to be like others while at the same time, non-Africans are seriously enjoying African dishes on multiple cooking shows.

Note how jollof rice is famously known for originating from Ghana, but has become synonymous with West Africa. Back home here in Uganda, different tribes are known for their staple foods and different meals. Some parts of the country proudly have matooke as their main food, others have malewa, millet, posho, sweet potatoes, eshebwa, cassava, and wheat to name but a few. 

Fufu which originated from Ghana is considered one of the best African dishes across the globe. Source: Low Carb Africa

Sanctified with Diversity in Languages

Africa’s blessings are countless. The continent is blessed with over 3000 different languages and diversity, while Uganda alone has up to 70 languages. As I mentioned earlier, speaking Kupsabiny was and has always been a way for me to stay true to my roots. I may not be excellent in it but I sure respect the fact that I do my best to speak it as much as I can whenever possible. The same respect goes for any African who refuses to speak colonial dialects and chooses to communicate in an African language.

My love runs deep for such people and especially for African languages. I know of certain series and Ugandan shows where the actors on the screen choose to act while speaking in English, indirectly claiming that the wealthy and sophisticated speak "Oluzungu" and the poor and backward speak Luganda or any other African language. When did we reach the point of downplaying and undermining how beautiful, rich, and thick in character African languages are?!

Honestly, this is precisely why I have so much love, respect, and admiration for any African show acted in a native African language, be it Kiswahili, Luganda, Kinyarwanda, Zulu, Xhosa, Igbo, Chichewa or Tonga because in other words, they refuse to conform to the colonizer and they actively value the beauty of their African dialects. Actually, scratch that, I meant for anything portrayed in the media around the world, be it Asian or South American because those people know how to not give in to colonialism. 

A group of Masai women from Kenya dancing in their flamboyant cultural attire. Dancing has always been a part of most African cultures. Source: iStock photos 

As a teenager, I recall being so in love with Nigerians and South Africans simply because they have names tied directly to their cultures and tribes. To me this was, and still is, their way of actively staying true to their ancestral African roots, even after so many years of being colonized and repeatedly told our African ways were considered barbaric.

Some Africans believed the colonizers and did everything in their power to change our "backward" ways, especially by abandoning our beautiful names and conforming to foreign names that we thought were up to date and fashionable. In Uganda, it's usually odd, to say the least, to find someone with all names African, for example, Kirabo Namiiro, Cherotich Satya Chemisto, and Sanyu Batte among so many others, you know why? Because in Uganda, a foreign name assigns you to a religion you probably belong to. My Arab name is Mariam, which automatically makes people think I am Muslim because we have strongly tied Arab culture to Islam, and yet interestingly some Arabs are not even Muslim. If someone is called Nassuna Deborah or Lucy or Anita we immediately believe she is a Christian or just non-Muslim because these names belong to Anglo-Europe.

In hindsight, that is the most illogical thing ever because my name could be Keza Umutoni Mugisha, and I could be the most hardcore Muslim you would come by. In high school, I had a friend that was called Roberta and she was Muslim. I was not the only one who found that strange because my mind, like many others, was still closed on to the whole concept of English names being for Christians and Arab names for Muslims. 

Now I know South Africans and Nigerians that don't possess any foreign names, or as I like to call them "colonial names" and they could be the staunchest in their religions. Do you now see how much relevance we give foreign names in recently colonized countries? 

Kabaka Mwanga of Buganda (left) the last independent King of The African kingdom of Buganda. On the right is a current day Ugandan actor portraying Kabaka Mwanga in a Ugandan film. Source: Wikipedia

I choose to talk about names, languages, and food as African patriotism because it's a day to day concept as part of life. However, if I ever came across a European named Chelangat, Kateregga, or Kwemoi or an Arab called Mugabe, Sekatawa or Karungi, I would probably change my whole lifestyle and leave everything behind to do whatever they demand of me. Do you see where I am going with this?

I have put so much on the line if such an incident ever occurred because chances are high that it could never happen. My point is, that the Europeans (specifically English) and Arabs are simply being true to their culture and roots with their names and languages, and then there's us, Africans, the majority of whom are clowning and running away from our roots thinking "ebya Bazungu" (things of Whites) are better and more sophisticated than our ancestral and African things.

The Center of God Given Tourism

Before I wrap this up, lest I forget to mention and remind you that Africa is home to the widest range of some of the most stunning tourist sites this world and its inhabitants will live to see. Let us not pretend like we do not see the stunning pyramids of Egypt that were built by revolutionary ancient Africans. There is also the incredibly breathtaking Victoria Falls situated on the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe, which is one of the world’s largest falls. 

The magnificent Victoria Falls are some of the numerous tourist sites in Africa. Source: Four Seasons

And as the rest of the world pretends to view Africa as mundane, we know they cannot help but praise the creation for astounding features such as the Pyramids of Meroe in Sudan, the Table Mountain in Cape Town, South Africa, and the gorgeous blue waters of Zanzibar. Do you want to stay reading this article all day as I mention every game park that keeps our tourism sector booming?

There is a lot to fall in love with about Africa, and if I were to state every single one of them in this article, you would never see the end of it. Do the exploring of your roots and be overwhelmed by the immense beauty that Africa has to offer. Now excuse me while I go enjoy a Sabiny dish as I bask in how thick and rich African culture can be in all contexts.

Cherotich Mariam Satya

Cherotich is a passionate Muslim feminist and content creator who loves to travel and explore the world through her different writing styles. Being a people person, she loves to meet new people and share experiences across all cultures. Cherotich has written for a top media house in Uganda and is currently pursuing her Bachelor’s degree in Mass Communication. She enjoys writing about Women, Wellness, Arts and Culture, Travel, and all that allows her to express herself wholly through her words.