Friday, May 17, 2013

I Fail as an African Because I Do Not Know How to Pronounce the Beginning of "Circle of Life" from "The Lion King."


The Lion King © Disney 1994



See? Utter failure. Even Rafiki is disappointed.

Plus, a kabob only consisting of peaches sounds pointless to me. But I digress...

In order to redeem myself from bringing further shame to my ancestors, I decided to Google the lyrics of this acclaimed anthem from "The Lion King." And while I was figuring out the pronunciation of this song, I was reminded that its opening lines were in Swahili, a language common to East African countries such as Kenya and Uganda. My family speaks Efik, a language spoken in Nigeria and Cameroon, both of which are West African countries. So, since I am not a Swahili speaker, I actually don't fail as an African!

Property of

But this certainly is a failure:

Okay. So, maybe it wasn't a fail. Maybe they heard of the language called Afrikaans and honestly did not know how to spell it. That speculation was short-lived once I recalled a conversation I had with a peer when I was in middle school.

"Do you speak African," she asked.

So, I asked her, "Do you speak North American?"

Then she looked at me as if I said something nonsensical. 

She hesitantly responded, "...Nooo..." And I just sat across from her hoping that she was picking up what I was laying down.

I wish I didn't seem so irritated about things like this. But when there hasn't been a year that has gone by without me hearing someone make similar remarks like these, it easily gets under my skin. So, when there is a commercial about "an organization that helps girls in countries like Belgium and Africa"....

Found on Geeky Wonderland
...I should just pay attention to the mission of the organization rather than...well...the obvious.

I will try. I will really try. But before I begin that endeavor, I want to make a few points.

Africa is a continent, not a country. There is no language called "African" for the same reason that there are no languages called "Asian", "European", "South American" get the point. 

Also, out of all the continents in the world, why does it seem okay to almost always refer to refer to Africa as "Africa" while other continents are rarely referred to in comparison (with the exception of Australia due its existence as both a country and a continent)? I understand that Africa is the continent with the most countries, but Europe is not that far behind. And like Europe, Africa is a continent that is so vastly diverse in culture and languages. In fact, Nigeria alone has 250 languages! So, lumping all these countries together robs one of the knowledge in the amazing diversity that exists in this continent. To help counteract that, I have placed a map of Africa so that you can Google some of these countries. Compare the northern countries with the West, East, and Southern regions and you'll notice the difference among them. It's really interesting!

So, in the event you hear someone say that they're "going to Africa" or want to learn "African", kindly refer them to this blog post.

In the event that someone makes similar statements to me, my dear friend, Tori, said that I am obligated tell them...

The Lion King © Disney 1994

And I will do just that.

You think I'm kidding...


  1. This is most excellent. I'm going to stop telling people that I'm going to Africa.

    You are too cool.

    1. Haha thanks Lydia! But YOU are definitely the cool one. Besides your obvious coolness, your profile picture is a refrigerator. It doesn't get cooler than that! ;)


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