Africa is continent with striking beauty and diversity. It is a testimony of rich religious and cultural practices. The international headlines might show Africa in tatters because of constant war, terror attacks and community conflicts but Africa is unapologetically loving, self- determined and focused on its rebirth and development through its rich resources.
With over 3000 distinct ethnic groups and 3000 languages, deserts, lakes, rivers, mountains, forests, temperate climate, tropics and sub-tropics, and mountain ranges, Africa is a scenery of decoration. These among others are what people who go abroad to study or in search of better opportunities miss the most when they are there.
1. Family and friends
They say family is where your heart is and according to Jon Krakauer, happiness is real when shared. But more so, when shared with family and friends. Families and friends might be a messy lot but are the people that stand with you without flinching when your life goes downhill. When you are abroad, these are the people you miss the most. Your caring strong mother, brother’s infectious smile, your little sister annoying curiosity or character or your father’s boldness and your friends who never run out of ideas or things to say. Some people may not appreciate their families and friends when they are with them, but when they are abroad, pangs of missing them help them notice things they never saw before.
2. African Cuisines
The African cuisine or food is as diverse as the people and cultures in Africa. The diversity is always found in the choice of ingredients, style of preparation and cooking. Depending on the region, the dishes can be a mix of cereal grains and beans, fruits, vegetable, fish, milk or meat from the kind of crops they farm or animal they keep. East Africa, West Africa, Southern Africa, Central Africa, and North Africa all have their own unique dishes with different preparations and cooking techniques. The most popular and food missed by people abroad are fufu, injera, ugali, biltong and couscous. South Africans miss their high protein healthy snack known as biltong which is made up of various types of meat like beef and game meat which is readily available. The meat is sliced into strips and cured with salt and spices and hanged to dry in the sun. Chicken, fish and ostrich meat can also be used to make the popular dish.
Diversity and exotic flavor of injera is missed by Ethiopians and Eritreans abroad. The sour dough flatbread or pancake look alike is made of teff, wheat, barley, sorghum, and corn. Its toppings are various curried stews like meat, chicken, beef, lamb and variety of vegetables and other mixed spices. For Somalians, injera is known as anjero or canjeero. East Africa dishes varies according to region of the country. Traditional cuisines differs by name or consistency. Kenyans abroad miss ugali or sima (maize flour dough-like consistency) served with nyama choma (goat grilled meat) and kachumbari (salsa). While Nigerians and Ghanaians miss the popular fufu that originated from Ghanaians. It’s made by boiling cassava or potatoes, yams, or cooking plantains and pounding them into a dough-like consistency.
From chips mayai in Tanzania to egg pasua in Kenya, do not leave East Africa without sampling at least a few of these exquisite foods.
3. Hospitality/Warmth in Africa
A place is defined by its people and Africa even with its diverse people and rich culture, remains warm, hospitable and generous towards each other and outsiders. Africans are not just proud of their continent but also of their free giving of love which is deep rooted in them. Be it in the morning, evening or any other time, Africans will greet one another and ask about their wellbeing or how they slept or woke up. They are never shy to ask each other for help because it’s just deep in them to be there for each other. Abroad, it’s easier to feel not just alone but it’s not easy to make friends or get along with others who are not from Africa. People in other continents don’t make one feel at home like it’s naturally with people from Africa even if you are a stranger.
4. The Favorable Weather
There is no perfect climate in the entire world. In Africa, weather patterns are becoming unpredictable. The attribution to the changes is global warming that has seen rains in deserts and destructive droughts on lack of downpour on fertile lands. But still, people who live in Africa mild climate are happier and healthier. Warm, dry and sunny weather is what most parts of Africa are. In absence of extreme weather such as snow or cold seasons in other continent, Africa seem like a perfect paradise with many foreigners streaming in large numbers when their countries become unbearable.
5. Beautiful Natural Scenery
Africa is endowed with a magical beauty. There are dozens of landscapes, sandy beaches, animals, birds and plants which are extremely fascinating. There is always something to explore or discover. The untold wealth takes anyone breathe away. From Victoria falls in Zimbabwe to Table Mountains in South Africa to Diani beaches in Kenya or wildlife in Maasai Mara or Seregetti in Tanzania, or Rwenzori Mountains in Uganda, Africa is too much of a beauty that most people abroad terribly miss.
South Africa is always a tourist favorite, but there are some new African hotspots.
6. Language, Accent, Slang
There are over 3000 languages spoken natively in Africa. Most languages spoken in Africa belong to either Afro-asiatic, Nilo-Saharan and Niger-Congo. Some like Arabic, Somali, Swahili, Hausa, Mandingo, Yoruba, Fulani, Berber, Oromo and Amharic are some of the major and spoken by tens of millions in Africa. Nigeria alone has over 500 languages, one of the greatest concentrations of linguistic diversity in the world. Classic street slang also a big thing in Africa. In Kenya, sheng is a typical example. It’s a mixture of Swahili and other local languages like kikuyu.
Even if you spend years overseas, one or two things will always remind you of Africa. You will miss home and you will run or wish to unburden your tired wrinkled life with the motherland's magical beauty.