Stuff African People Like: Big Words

I could lie and say that this post came to me in a dream or an epiphany but I won’t lie. After reading Stuff White People Like and Stuff Educated Black People Like, I thought to myself, “That looks fun. I should do that.” So here we are. We begin with one of my favorites……….

Written dictionary

Why say large when you can say monumental?

Why say water when you can say H20?

Why call it sleeping sickness when you can call it trypanosomiasis?

The African will take every opportunity they can, whether asked to or not, to prove that they are better educated and more eloquent than you. Ensure that you keep your dictionary handy because a conversation with an African is not complete unless he can stretch out a two syllable word into an eight syllable extravaganza.

Here you must be tactful. You must feign amazement (you see it happens to me too ;) ) even though you think he is basically blowing grandiloquent smoke (there I go again) out of his melanin filled rear.

Don’t pretend to be too blown away though! This may come off as patronizing. Always remember that the African is trying to be condescending to you. Once the African is confident that he/she has proven his/her superiority to you, he will be comfortable around you and may even buy you food and drinks.

Sure, they may constantly remind you of how much better they are than you, but it’s free food AND a free vocabulary lesson. Do you really want to pass that up?

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38 Comments

  • By seinlife, May 9, 2008 @ 2:57 am

    Am addicted to stuffwhitepeoplelike….it tickles big time:-)
    To add to your list of things some us tend to do is put the wrong emPHAsis on the wrong syLLAble (swiped from the movie ‘view from the top’ with Mike Myers)

  • By Mwangi, May 9, 2008 @ 3:04 am

    Do you know what I used to cop hell for? The word “adolescence” In the West, it’s pronouned “Adolescent” but where I am from, Mrs. Njoroge taught me to pronounce it ADOOOLEEscence.
    Check out Stuff Educated Black People Like Too. It’s amazing how blatantly honest and insulting SWPL is?! Funny…..

  • By gal africana, May 9, 2008 @ 4:41 am

    I’m feigning amazement as I laugh. Ati ADOOOLEEscence lmao. I happily “suffer” from the inability to pronounce some words right…. There’s nothing better than a self awareness and the ability to laugh at one self…which I think, the folks who started those two sites are good at.

  • By Mwangi, May 9, 2008 @ 4:44 am

    @gal: What can I say? That’s what a five star education in an African school will get you. I wonder if African people have the self-conscious ability to laugh at themselves as much as white people and educated African American people?

  • By Caustic Blonde, May 9, 2008 @ 4:46 am

    I think the blog “Stuff White People Like” is stupid and immature. It is not an honest blog,it uses stereotypes and is insulting. The whole blog is just someone trying to make a quick buck off racism. :( I am sorry I couldn’t comment on your entry, but after I saw the link to stuff white people liked I couldn’t read the rest of the article.

  • By Mwangi, May 9, 2008 @ 4:51 am

    @caustic: Wow! I wonder how many white people feel the same way? Actually you’re reaction has made me wonder how the site is perceived amongst the different races? So to everyone, what’s your opinion on Stuff White People Like?
    I find it funny and I think there are a lot of truths hidden behind the satire…..

  • By val, May 9, 2008 @ 6:51 am

    @ Mwangi…I also have trouble saying “adolescence”…emphasis on the wrong word..lol..reminds me last week went to get a sub and almost left in a huff coz the guy didn’t understand what sauces I wanted..haha.

    kenyans methinks like big words coz thats how we’re taught to write..I rem writing compositions in primary school..the more impressive the word the better..why say sleepwalking when you can say somnambulism..haha

    I like the welcome speech :) ..

  • By Mo Ma, May 9, 2008 @ 6:53 am

    “it’s important to know that all white people believe they have the intelligence and work ethic required to attend an Ivy League school. The only reason they did not actually go to one is that they chose not to participate in the “dog and pony show” required to gain acceptance. White people also like to believe that they were not born into a privileged (enough) family to get legacy admission.”

    LOL! I’ll concede, exaggerated to some extent, but I’ve seen that so much in my discussions with American pals. In relation to the rest of your post, ever meet those Africans who never just speak, they have to ORATE never mind that it’s a casual 1-on-1 convo?

    CausticBlonde. Chill, it’s just a satire blog playing off stereotypes. :D

  • By Mwangi, May 9, 2008 @ 6:58 am

    @val: First of all welcome (in case you missed it on the welcome speech, which I am glad you liked).
    Two stories:
    When we first showed up in Australia, we went to a restaurant and ordered some juice. Now Australians say juice kinda like “jus” whereas we being from Kenya say the whole thing “juis”…so when we initially ordered the juis, the waitress kept squinting and scrunching her face like she had just swallowed a lemon, “Do you want grease, weess, a feast?” Then of course our exasperation (vocal gymnastics but do I say) hit fever pitch so imagine five black people in a restaurant shouting juis, juis, juis and all mimicking the drinking action. Needless to say we went to war to get that juis and we got some jus

  • By val, May 9, 2008 @ 7:10 am

    Juis…lol

    hahaha…like the time I was with chaplain and some other students..telling them about “sooooda”…never will I forget the looks on their faces..they were so puzzled!!

    One temp homescience teacher used to say “Jooze”…so she would have had a worse time than you..lol

  • By Mwangi, May 9, 2008 @ 7:15 am

    @val: Never forget there are those Africans who call it SAWNNDA…I am sure they would have just floored your friends.
    If you would have met my home science teacher (that would be the Mrs. Njoroge who taught me adolescence), her grasp of the English language and her tendency to shrub and scratch and butcher the English language was such that I think she would have made an interesting person to follow around when talking to foreigners.

  • By acolyte, May 9, 2008 @ 2:12 pm

    I was considering doing a series of blog posts on things that Africans/Kenyans like but most of it was so melancholic and depressing that I left it alone. Funny though how as Kenyans we want to floss our mastery of english and accents or on the other extreme our ethnic mother tongue but we shun our common tongue of swahili which would play a major role in bringing us all together.
    ps: A strong tribal accent ie meru plus a weng is just a recipe for trouble I tell you!

  • By Mwangi, May 9, 2008 @ 8:38 pm

    @Mo Ma: Yes, I have met those people who every moment is a “Martin Luther King – I have a dream moment.”

    “As I look out with wonder and amazement upon the expansive empire that is the menu, I find myself overwhelmed with both joy and temptation (dramatic pause). But a man must choose. Let me say it again A MAN MUST CHOOSE. And so, on this magnificent 24 degree day, I take my right to vote with my three dollars and ten cents and do decree that today I shall consume a Big Mac.”

    Exaggerated, but I definitely know fellows like that.

  • By Mwangi, May 9, 2008 @ 8:42 pm

    @acolyte: It fully makes sense why the people from Bongoland choose to insult Kenyan’s butchering and ignorance of proper Kiswahili, it wasn’t the smartest thing to do to ignore the most spoken language in Africa.
    He he he, forget the Meru accent. I know someone from Kirinyaga who the moment she landed here decided that she will never EVER speak her language again (except of course when she is overwhelmed with emotion in which case bring on the Kirinyaga soundtrack). Now as is usual, to her the difference between ls and rs is non-existent and for some reason she has this accent where rather than saying things at the octave a Kenyan would normally say things at she pushes it one octave higher (it’s a weird thing we Kenyans do when we come here). So instead of “Hello sweety” it becomes “HeeeroosweeeriiiiiiiiiIIIIII” (emphasis on the I). A conversation between her and her sweerriiiiipieeee is what comedy was made for :D

  • By Mo Ma, May 9, 2008 @ 9:31 pm

    Mwangi, did you, by any chance, go to St Patrick’s Hill School?

    I had a Mrs Njoroge there who taught me the same thing too!

  • By Mwangi, May 9, 2008 @ 9:35 pm

    @Mo Ma: Mrs. Njoroge taught me at Riara Primary…maybe she moved around.

  • By Mo Ma, May 9, 2008 @ 9:40 pm

    That’s the same one!

    She taught me at St Patrick’s; I transferred an year later to Makini and there she was again next door at Riara! Her hubby was at Makini teaching Science.

    Did she also reprimand the boys not to “go dipping ‘it’ everywhere” like she did us? :P

  • By Mwangi, May 9, 2008 @ 9:49 pm

    @Mo Ma: No, LOL! As you would remember, Makini was the epicenter of all things immoral,we were just pale comparisons (example being “ndole”, yani whoever invented that game just tried…..if you don’t know what ndole is, you really don’t want to know). When we got that reprimand it came from our GHC teacher, SW Ndegwa who cautioned us that “those things are like sniffer dogs and bank robbers, if they see something in it’s way, they just clear it.” Good times, oh the good times :D

  • By Kelly, May 9, 2008 @ 11:48 pm

    I think the big word thing is also very predominant with the people from the lakeside, but I agree with the whole English Composition thing. The more flabbergasting (yeah, out of context) your vocabulary was, the more the points you got.

    I think the Meru accent is the hardest thing to shed once you’ve got it. I mean, even Harvard educated Merus (Kiraitu Murungi), still make you shudder every time they appear on TV. You wonder how they survived the US. All in all, we’re proud to be African!

  • By Mwangi, May 9, 2008 @ 11:55 pm

    @Kelly: In my room I still have my class 8 medal from writing compositions. I took the whole composition thing so seriously that I even remember in one composition, I was so tired of blood-curdling and as fast as lightning that I began throwing in Latin expressions. Not the normal ones…..no no no, no quid pro quo, I went to the thesaurus (which I picked up after having the best composition in Class 8 too many weeks in a row) and found the most obscure Latin expression I could find.
    Me thinks I will post about that and the contrast with when I started writing compositions….might help some of the younger folk who decide to follow in my footsteps and try some high school here.

  • By Mo Ma, May 10, 2008 @ 2:16 am

    Makini was just a preteen flesh market. Nuff’ said.

  • By Mwangi, May 10, 2008 @ 2:17 am

    @Mo Ma: Agreed! Considering the testosterone levels of kids that age, the fact that anyone gets an education there is truly a great wonder of the world.

  • By kenya.fm, May 10, 2008 @ 2:24 am

    These things can be fun, but, i think, they do eventually form the basis on which people believe certain things about the others( just as with news and movies ), since this information is probably the only source of information they have to judge “those others”.

    For example, take crime and AA. How many pale people (formerly white people) automatically assume that if you are a black male, you are out to rob them? Where did they get this? You only need to watch evening news in any American city to see where.

    The mainstream media could have been used well to educate people about others, but the media was long hijacked.

    So, do you enjoy the jokes or shun them? I do not know.

  • By Mwangi, May 10, 2008 @ 2:30 am

    @kenya: I agree wholeheartedly. One of the things that I absolutely love about the “Stuff (Insert Ethnicity Here) People Like” format is that it’s actually a way in which through humour one can show the absurdities, inconsistencies and generally what’s broken and needs fixing to the (Ethnicity inserted in the brackets above) without being too direct.
    I think if we pause to look under the surface of the joke we will uncover the inconsistency, tragedy that we can then begin to work on.
    All the while having a pretty good laugh.

    But I agree with you wholeheartedly, the very content of the media should be a very conscious process because of its EXTREMELY POWERFUL influential effects. In fact I wrote about that quite a while ago here:
    How to Take Africa from Zero to Hero: Entertainment!

  • By kenya.fm, May 10, 2008 @ 2:54 am

    @mwangi
    I wrote ” The mainstream media could have been used well to educate people about others, but the media was long hijacked.”

    (i) The media is powerful. We all know that.
    (ii) In good hands, it can change society for the better
    (iii) The media has been hijacked by people with no known noble intentions, ( whether it is big corporations or not does not matter.)

    I gave the example of the AA and crime and how the media has actually actively helped create the stereotype and “confirmed” it that ALL male AA will violently rob you OR ALL educated EBP are beneficiaries of Affirmative Action or ALL single AA women are on welfare.

  • By Mwangi, May 10, 2008 @ 2:58 am

    @kenya: Read the article and let me know what you think. I think I discuss a similar issue

  • By kenya.fm, May 10, 2008 @ 3:10 am

    Le link is broken!

  • By kenya.fm, May 10, 2008 @ 4:31 am

    @mwangi. I read your post. This is my quick response.

    I am a very positive person, BUT i also look around me and observe things. I must tell you, i do believe (75%) that Africa’s case is a gone case, that no one, repeat, no one, ( except the Lord of Hosts from on High ) can save her.

    Why?
    A.Africa had her chance, to shake herself from bondage of a cruel taskmaster, but she did not have good thinkers to liberate her and take her out of her misery these past 50 years. Even now she does not see the future. That chance is now mostly Gone, because of C
    B. There is a fierce battle for resources ( manpower, natural resources, etc). The stronger manipulate the weaker, and controls mostly ALL ( mosttly the resources). Africa is weak (because of A and F )and therefore cannot compete well. She is being destroyed slowly by slowly.
    -look at Zaire, Sierra Leone, Sudan. SO much wealth, so many poor people, killing each other, shipping the wealth away offshore.
    -look at you and me and a host of your buddies? Where are they after spending so much money being trained to tackle local problems?
    -see the manipulation?

    C The world is becoming global. Long before that, you could hide in your own little corner somewhere and do things your way. Now, the world is becoming one big corporation. Countries are mere departments. If a department is “poor” or non-performing (the term they use is failed state), it will be neglected or discontinued, merged with another or put under receivership.

    D.The Media has been used by C to control the masses ( to think, to sway, to buy, to go,) to do wherever/whatever the Leaders of the corporation want people to. Can you stand against this? Yes, if you are massive and know what you want. If you are like Kenya or Uganda, ha ha.

    E. Can an individual like you turn Kenya over? Yes. People change systems. You perhaps have 0.001% chance by ourself. The chance increases to 99.999% if your have the Lord on your side. The starting point is of course the Media.

    F To know the Origin of Africa’s problem, consider the tower of babel case. “Lets confuse their language so that they are not one.. And they Killed one another.. and left building their houses..” Africa has failed to grasp the importance of this principle, so she cannot be ONE, but many peoples pulling in different directions. Therefore she is weak, and shall continue to be easy prey to whosoever is stronger than her.

  • By Mwangi, May 10, 2008 @ 5:00 am

    @kenya: I for one do not believe Africa is a basket case at all. Let me see if I can go through your points one by one and give you my take on why I think that is:
    a) Africa NEVER REALLY had her chance per se….I remember reading somewhere recently that the decolonization process was planned by the US and Britain. They would train the future leaders of Africa in the West – Nkrumah, Kenyatta and on and on – and put them in as puppets or if not as leaders who would proliferate Western interests in some way shape or form. If a leader did not do what the West wanted he was shot…maybe if the leaders who were shot and overthrown with Western support were still alive we may say that Africa had her chance with all things even.
    b) The only resource that has ever been necessary for change to take place is many people coming together….THAT’S IT. We can talk about guns, minerals, diamonds, technology and so on and so on all we wan. However, change came one way and one way only all through history (including the West): significant numbers of people said ENOUGH IS ENOUGH, death is better than this and took to the streets to organize until they improved their conditions.
    We have millions of people in Africa who are at their breaking point. Can you imagine if tomorrow all the young people of Africa decided to drop their tools and say ENOUGH IS ENOUGH, Africa would change in a heartbeat. I think the Kenya election violence and the fierce protest in Zim shows you that this energy is there and just waiting to be channeled.
    c) There have been empires since the dawn of time and an empire consists of one country that controls many other little ones. Many empires have risen and fallen. Our destinies as nations have been interconnected for a very long time….if we look at it historically, we are just in the midst of yet another country (America) running other countries, that’s nothing new. Empires fell, remember.
    d) Propaganda, fear and brute force to control the masses has always been there too. It’s just been adapted to control us..but it’s always been there. Again, empires have fallen. If you are looking at it historically, there’s a greater chance of the US collapsing and another empire rising up (not that I’d want that) than US running the world forever.
    e) I will not change the world no…I want to ignite the minds of the people who will, THE MANY PEOPLE WHO WILL. Only when the many decide will anything get done. One wants to control the media so that they can ignite many minds simultaneously and keep the embers burning.
    To be honest though, I don’t even want to be in the media to cause a revolution, I just want to find some way to improve the lot of people’s lives NOW assuming America remains in charge of the world for a long time. How can we improve the lives of Africans now? What messages can we transmit that will somehow improve their conditions? That’s all I want to do…………..

  • By kenya.fm, May 10, 2008 @ 5:15 am

    I do not agree with ALL your points. For example, who is holding a Gun on Mugabe’s Head? Who held a Gun on Moi’s head when he was running down the institutions. Is anyone holding a gun on Kibaki;s head? Anyway.

    On igniting the MINDS

    To be effective, ALL those in the West going back to their ingo’s and engaging the people. Tell the people what they need to do to make life work for them. Tell the young people about how the Movies/TVs (Tyra banks, Mexican Soap, BET) being just that, fairy tales.

    The Best way to give back what we got is to go be leaders back home( But how many of us will accept the diminished life style?)

    But, point F is the greatest obstacle to any progress.

  • By Mwangi, May 10, 2008 @ 5:31 am

    @kenya: Just to be clear…if African leaders don’t do what the West wants them to do, I don’t think we doubt that the West will kill them. Mugabe and Moi were and are controlled by that ever lingering possibility but also through economic means – AID aka compound interest loans which HAVE TO BE REPAID – diplomatic pressure and means – as was shown during the violence. I think the behaviour of the West during the violence should have made it pretty clear how little control we have of our destiny: ” Condoleeza blatantly said, that the country was going to return to peace and calm OR ELSE!” I didn’t imagine that, so I think my point of the West still having MAJOR control of African life still stands. I actually wrote a short little funny post about that too:
    http://www.thedisplacedafrican.com/41/raila-and-kibaki-to-bring-end-to-kenya-riots/
    I didn’t understand your second point, please rephrase.
    On the third and final point I fully agree…that’s one of the reasons this blog exists…to see how we can utilize the vast brain power of all the Africans in the diaspora to bring positive change back home….I think with the advent of technology and communication via phones and the Internet we can do much more than we ever did without even having to travel HOWEVER I do agree that leadership back home is needed. I intend on eventually going back home and know I’m not alone. Let’s hope over the course of this blog’s life I inspire many people to return home and serve.
    As to the Tower of Babel…I agree too. I am an eternal optimist but it looks like this world will constantly be in struggle and strife on the basis of our differences….that having been said, that’s no excuse for us not to work towards improving people’s lives and raising their consciousness NOW. Isn’t serving other people the highest form of human existence?

  • By kenya.fm, May 10, 2008 @ 6:32 am

    2nd point: wasn’t there- it was a title based on your previous reply

    Your post seemed to suggest that you were seeking a way to change things, so my interest was basically to assist you in this: If you need to solve a problem, figure out what the problem is. It is my considered opinion that Africa’s major problem is that of F(Tower of babel). I mean, if the 700m Africans were all one, they would be like china or India, not easily controlled. Or, if they took the path of smaller entities such as Malaysia/ S Korea, you could still control them(ie is a fact of life) but THEY too would have mutual benefits. Currently, africa has no such benefits( as you said, a few, perhaps 0,00001% sit at the emperor’s table)

    On “..serving other people the highest form of human existence?” NO. NO I STRONGLY DISAGREE.

    Perhaps said this way, it may be correct “serving other people the highest form of social SERVICE”

    As for reason of existence, i am sure you know what solomon said.

  • By kenya.fm, May 10, 2008 @ 6:48 am

    But that is obvious, so maybe
    “serving other people the highest form of social EXISTENCE”

  • By Mwangi, May 10, 2008 @ 6:56 am

    @kenya: Oops my bad…I meant highest form of existence. Thx for the correction.

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