I grew up in Nigeria and have traveled all over the continent. I love exploring other cultures, meeting new people and learning about their traditions. Here are some of my favorite African traditions that make me thankful every day:
The traditional African greeting, or dap
One of the most common forms of greeting or saying goodbye in Africa is the traditional dap. It involves two people shaking hands and is a sign of respect, friendship and trust. If you’re not comfortable with this gesture, it’s okay to bow instead!
Beautiful festivals and celebrations
One thing I am thankful for is the many beautiful festivals and celebrations that take place on the African continent. These celebrations are a big part of African culture, and they usually involve family and friends gathering together to have fun, eat good food, dance and sing together.
I am particularly thankful for this time of year because it means that my family will be coming over from Ghana to visit me here in South Africa! We will all be able to spend some quality time together before school starts again in September!
African food and hospitality
African food and hospitality
Africans have a deep appreciation for food. It’s not just about filling our bellies; it’s also about sharing with others and showing gratitude. Food is an important part of celebrations, and it’s customary to bring a dish when visiting someone else’s home. Even in the most remote villages, you’ll find people gathering around a pot over an open fire or braaing meat on sticks over charcoal fires (the South African equivalent of grilling). In fact, “braai” has become synonymous with grilling or cooking outdoors in general!
It’s also very common for African hosts to welcome guests who arrive unannounced by offering them something to eat or drink–even if there isn’t much left in their pantry! This shows their generosity as well as their understanding that visitors may have traveled long distances without eating anything along the way (it happens!). If you plan on traveling through Africa someday soon–or even just visiting friends from other countries–make sure your hosts know ahead of time how long your stay will be so they can plan accordingly!
The warm and welcoming people
- The importance of hospitality.
- The importance of the family unit.
- The importance of community and how it affects us all.
- How we should respect our elders, as they have much to teach us.
And lastly, but certainly not least: the importance of honoring our ancestors by listening to their stories and passing on their wisdom so that future generations may benefit from it too!
The importance of family
You can’t talk about African culture without talking about family. Families are the foundation of society and they serve as a source of strength, support and love. This is no different in America or anywhere else in the world. However, there are some things that make me appreciate my own family even more than usual:
- My parents took me to church every Sunday growing up–and it wasn’t just because I had to go! They wanted me to be part of their community at church so that I could learn about God and grow closer with Him every week (and still do).
- When I was younger, my dad used to take us out on weekend trips where he would teach us things like how cars work or what kinds of animals live around our house (and even how we could catch them!). These days he still tries his best whenever he can find time since we’re all grown up now but sometimes life gets busy!
The magic of meeting a stranger and realizing they are far more than that
It’s important to be open to meeting new people. In Africa, this is especially true. You could be sitting in a market, or on a bus and find yourself in conversation with someone who seems very different than you–and yet, they might be exactly like you. They may even become your best friend!
The magic of meeting strangers cannot be understated. It’s something that happens everyday here in Kenya and has been one of my favorite parts about living abroad so far. It’s amazing how much we can learn from each other if we just take the time out of our day to make eye contact with someone else instead of looking at our phones all day long (or even worse: sleeping).
The culture of respect for elders and ancestors.
It’s a common African tradition to respect elders. In fact, it’s a core part of many cultures across the continent. Elders are seen as wise and knowledgeable people who have lived long enough to know what works and what doesn’t work in life. For example, if your grandfather tells you that he can tell when someone is lying by looking at their eyes, then you’d better listen!
The respect for elders also extends beyond just one’s family: it’s also important for younger generations within families and communities at large to learn from older generations’ experiences so that they can avoid making mistakes themselves (and maybe even benefit from some wisdom).
Africa is so much more than what we see on TV or read about in the media.
Africa is a continent full of diversity. It’s not just about lions and elephants, war and conflict, HIV/AIDS. Africa also has its own traditions that are unique to each country on the continent.
I’m thankful for these 13 African traditions:
I’m grateful for the many things that Africa has given me and my family, including the opportunity to learn more about our culture and how it shapes who we are as people. I hope that sharing these traditions with you will inspire you to explore them further on your own journeys through life!