Cultural Imperialism III – Culinary Dependence

Have you recently tried getting the attention of young children with a locally prepared food? Or tried to set the next date in a buka (local eatery popular in West Africa)? Did you succeed? Perhaps not. Change gear, tell the children you are taking them to McDonald’s for pizza and set your next date for a more ‘dainty’ venue and you are bound to get 100% attention.

Africa no longer feeds itself, though it owns 60% of uncultivated land. A 2013 study finds that 30% of our continent is malnourished and that only 3% of our food growth is exported.   

Truth is, we are no longer attracted to our local food. To eat with your fingers is to be the lowest of human species. Yet, the Chinese have internationalized the use of chopsticks. Our preference for foreign food has turned our continent into a dumping ground for all sorts of genetically modified and disease inducing food habits.

It is an irony because we are a continent that has not been able to extend primary health care to the needy – that 60-70% of the population that lives in rural areas, far from modern amenities and usually either neglected or forgotten by local governments. This means that being susceptible to manageable diseases is itself a death sentence.

In most instances, food items that are banned in advanced countries still find their markets in Africa. Most chemically processed foodstuff are known to be slow killers. They are known to be high in sugar (because it is used as preservative). They are incredibly addictive and they contain in most cases, carcinogenic properties – they induce cancer of all kinds. Processed foodstuff are usually bleached off their nutrients.

If you want to destroy the future, target the youths. That’s exactly what our love of foreign food is doing to us. First it is deracination, it takes away the natural appetite and replaces it with something that makes the eater dependent. If you cannot grow it and your only craving is towards it, you are bound to buy it. Love of foreign food is turning our continent’s youngsters into couch potatoes. According to a WHO finding, childhood obesity in Africa is expected to around 12.7% by 2020.

Childhood obesity is responsible for diseases such as diabetes, cancer, hypertension and coronary or hearth disease.

So, before you accept that invitation for a night of pizza and fizzy drinks, think what you are doing to your vital organs. Going back to our natural food helps our continent organically feed itself, provides income for rural farmers and reduces migration.Image


Pix: Obesity – Courtesy Smithsonianmagazine – Google pixs.



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