” there is something foundationally wrong with our collective reasoning,that automatically assumes anything foreign is superior”. @drOlufunmilayo on twitter.
There is this thing my mum used to do. Anytime meat was boiled, she gave I and my sibling a piece. This was before the food was ready. Sometimes she made something similar to garri ‘kodo’. (Not sure of the spelling, but I think those who went to boarding houses especially federal schools, that allowed sardines and garri might know it. Salt and pepper was also added). In our own case, we mixed a little stock from the meat with the dry garri. It was a fun little thing we did in the kitchen. Now that I am independent, I still do that sometimes when I boil meat.
Now on to my real story, there was this day I was cooking with a certain someone sometime ago, and for fun, I decided to give this person my little mix to taste, hmm, big mistake. The look of disgust I received, it was as if I had committed the worst sin ever known to mankind, or that, that was the most disgusting food the person had ever seen. In my mind, I asked myself who sent me?. This person did not even taste it. How bad can garri look?
Funny enough, I believe wholeheartedly from experience, that if that same garri mix was served in a luxury restaurant or lets not go far, just call it Chinese or Indian, this person would have tasted it without a second thought. I mean taste oh, not eat.
The quoted tweet at the beginning sheds light on my story and is one I would say is particularly true about Nigerians. A typical Nigerian may assume that just because something is foreign, then its better. I have not exprienced life in other african cultures but the little I have read, it seems we are a lot similar.
Aside Nigeria, I have lived in denmark and I must say, the culture on this aspect is so different. The danes appear to take so much pride in their products, and just saying something or someone is Danish, is enough to make it more desirable. This is not a comparison just an observation.
To my fellow Nigerians, I just want to ask, who did this to us? Cloth sellers sometimes go as far as trying to sell clothes to us by implying they are not Nigerian made. If you are Nigerian, and you have ever been to the cloth section in markets, you would understand what I am talking about. Our trust level increases automatically when we are told or we see a product branded with a foreign label. It has been proven that some of these so called packaged ‘foreign products’ are actually made in Nigeria, but the manufacturers believe that with a foreign label it may sell better.
I know there is the argument of our products sometimes lacking quality, but a lot of these Chinese products flooding the Nigerian market in my opinion are no better. A lot of times, our country is the dumping ground for everyone else’s rejected stuff.
In his tweet, @drOlufunmilayo said, we say we do not like yoruba or igbo movies, because it is all about witches and wizards or money rituals, but can comfortably sit and watch Harry potter series with all its incantatations. we say masquerades are evil, but gladly dress up as demons(this may be an exaggeration, but you get the point) for Halloween as soon as we find ourselves abroad. I laughed when I saw that, because my dear, it is the same boat you all are rocking.
We consider it a thing of class to say things like, ” I only eat foreign rice”, or “I use this and that”. Where is the pride in that? that our country cannot produce quality products that can match and excel those foreign products? If there is anything we should feel at all, it is shame and not pride.