Visiting each other is part and parcel of the African culture. A visitor has to eat and drink otherwise he or she will never come again! As a result cooking and welcoming visitors has been one of my great passions in life since childhood as I grew up in a family which warmly welcomes visitors. Our family is a typical African extended family whereby everyone who comes in is a relative in one way or another. We receive a lot of visitors especially towards and during weekends and over public holidays like Easter, Christmas and New Year. Africa culture dictates that every visitor is given something to eat or drink whether on appointment or not. Food had to be continuously on fire waiting for visitors. For drink we would prepare banana juice and local wine from bananas.
Why do Africans visit each other?
Africans visit each other for a number of reasons including the following;
- At the time I was growing majority of people did not have phones in the homes for communication. People had to visit each other to convey both good and bad news.
- Reunion with people you had not seen for some time
- Burial functions
- Funeral rites
- Marriage in the family
- Welcoming a new baby in the home
What did visitors bring?
In African culture you do not go to visit empty handed. Visitors come with something for the family to eat or drink. The items brought by visitors included the following among others;
- Food including millet, cassava flour , bananas , beans and others
- Local banana wine
- Sitting Mats
Benefits of entertaining and serving others
The benefits are many and the following are key ones;
- Sharing with others the little we had. We got more through sharing.
- Being always stocked in terms of milk, millet flour, roasted meat, groundnuts, mushrooms, ghee among others to prepare a meal for visitors. We were always ready to welcome and cook for visitors
- Learning how to process and preserve food
- Learning how to use local spices. There were no supermarkets where one could go to buy spices
- Learning the discipline of hard work and responsibility
- Being prepared to do work single handed
- Being clean as people may not take your food and drink if cleanliness is not adhered to
Importance of people visiting each other
There are a number of benefits derived from people visiting each other and the following are the key ones;
- Visiting creates strong bondage with your people
- Allows creativity in terms of food and entertainment
- Sharing of knowledge
- Creates a platform for expression of love
We are the way we are because of things which we do in common. Visiting each other is top on the list as it creates unity which is necessary for development.
The Destiny of Man is to unite, not to divide. If you keep on dividing you end up as a collection of monkeys throwing nuts at each other out of separate trees.”
Director Big Drum Advisory Services,