Stuff African People Like: Sleeping

Sleeping cat

Africans never get enough sleep. From the moment they are twelve years old, their schools have 12 hour days, 6 times a week.By the time they are hitting the job market they have had half the sleep that the rest of the world has had.

For that reason, if you take a journey through African Facebook profiles, you may be baffled and surprised to find out that A LOT of African people put sleeping right up there amongst their interests, and even above reading in some cases (”I had enough of those things at school”). When Africans say they love to sleep they love to sleep.

Ask an African what their perfect day looks like and somewhere in that day there are long stretches of time where they “chew a comatose” (slang for catching some Zs (zeds not zis) or getting some shut eye).

Africans don’t need any fancy equipment or machinery to bring the sleep about. Give them a flat surface and lots of time and they’ll know what to do. It doesn’t matter if the mattress is so expired and worn out that they are receiving free massages from the bed springs, they’ll make it work. It doesn’t matter if the sheets have a thread count so low that they really should be called see-throughs, the African will grab some heavy clothing and get down to business.

If you ever supervise an African in the workplace or are a teacher or lecturer of children of the soil, you might be surprised by how much they love you if you say something to the extent of:

“Kwame/Achieng, you are a great worker/student/human being. You look like you haven’t been getting enough sleep.Why not go home and get some sleep….on the company’s dime/without it affecting your attendance?”

Don’t be surprised if this statement results in uncontrollable crying and so many thank that you think you are in downtown Japan. For the next few weeks the African will put all their complaints aside (tough job but they’ll do it) and instead brag to all their friends how they are such good workers that they were rewarded with the greatest reward of all: a really long sleep in the middle of the day.

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Catch some sweet sleep tonight,


No Comments

  • By akiey, May 16, 2008 @ 4:55 am

    Right on point and I’m one of the worst examples of such Africans yet I’d give the best advice on the importance of sleep. How ironic!

    Most of us do pull incredibly long hours day and night doing what we love or what we must…or at times both. Since Africans’ interests an be so diverse there’s never shortage of stuff to keep some Africa awake. However, like you pointed out, any chance to go catch some Zzzzs is most appreciated. I sure can use some sleep seeing that in the past 4 weeks I’ve averaged 4 hrs a night.

    The weekend’s nearly here, the project is like 92% complete and definitely going out to clients by FedEx tonight. Will turn off phones & computers, shut all the blinds and snooze away into Saturday. Sunday should be another resting day…hopefully, do the non-African thing and sleep away.

    PS: Will get back to you soonest on the not losing the language issue.

  • By Mwangi, May 16, 2008 @ 5:10 am

    @akiey: Please do, one of my goals in this life is to become a Kiuk and Kiswahili scholar, complete with pretentious and unnecessary use of language and any help would be more than appreciated.
    Personally the only thing that affects me in a huge way is sleep cycles. I can drink coffee, eat excess sugar and still get to bed. But should my sleep be interrupted…the quality of my day takes a nosedive.

  • By seinlife, May 16, 2008 @ 6:06 am

    Com’on now this is over generalizing…..LOL…what Africans are you hanging out with?
    This brings back childhood memories of a farm hand that had a severe case of trypanosomiasis. The bloke would drop off and snore mid sentence. Boy was it hilarious to watch….not so funny now…but then as a kid we would follow him everywhere….

  • By Mwangi, May 16, 2008 @ 6:10 am

    @seinlife: This one I have seen from my mother to the hobbies on Facebook profiles all over the place. Plus I have been known to be a violent defender of sleep ;) .
    Do you want to tell me you wouldn’t consider a weekend where you just get to sleep to be a welcome relief and a divine gift?
    If so, then I need to find out who you hang out with, they need to become my friends

  • By Sunny, May 16, 2008 @ 10:45 am

    Hey, this one covers me squarely. Wawawa, thais is soo true about this African, especially since joining the Diaspora. I love love love to sleep. Last time I was home I must have slept for 2 weeks straight before I reappeared, mpaka I was sent to the doctor to be checked for the said ’sleeping sickness’ Hahahahaha. Good one.I am done with finals tomorrow, I should not hear from anyone after 2pm, I will swatch properly, then the other thing Africans love, celebrations should be my next agenda!

  • By Mwangi, May 16, 2008 @ 3:28 pm

    @Sunny: I will never forget when I visited Kenya back in 2004. At the time I was having problems sleeping and the moment I touched home I had some of the best sleeps of my life….did they actually send you to a hospital? Lol

  • By gal africana, May 16, 2008 @ 3:56 pm

    gotta say, I love my sleep as well…also one of those blessed with the ability of being able to sleep anywhere anytime, if I feel like it…I’ll sleep through parties going on on top of my head…if I’m sleepy. I wouldn’t count it as a hobby though…there isn’t enogh hours in a day for all the things I want to get done!

  • By Kelly, May 16, 2008 @ 4:16 pm

    Yeah, we Africans do love to sleep. I love a good nights sleep, but unfortunately it’s one of those things that are ever elusive. The ironical thing is, I fall asleep very early, wake up in the middle of the night when I can’t do anything (Nai is a 12 hour city), then fall asleep at around 3 am, which makes it virtually impossible to wake up before 6 am. The most irritating of all, is being awake at 6 am on a sato morning when there is no work to be done!
    Enjoy your weekend, and your sleep!

  • By Mwangi, May 16, 2008 @ 4:20 pm

    @gal: I wish I could do that, I get my one shot at sleep and any noise disturbance or any excess fluids drank and I am up…….days when I can just decide to sleep, go and sleep through any noise disturbance are a very welcome novelty. This is usually just for the rest benefit, I am with you, I usually go to sleep thinking about all the exciting stuff to look forward to when I wake up.

  • By Mwangi, May 16, 2008 @ 4:22 pm

    @Kelly: Thank you! Should Project Cayman work out I think you will very much enjoy being awake at night, much more to do and there’s cheap broadband Internet at the very least. Sleep cycles are weird aren’t they…..yours is one I have never heard of and I also have a weird one…..where are the sleep professors I say? Maybe you can use those three hour cycles to write a novel, apparently that stage between sleep and wakefulness is great for creative juices.

  • By akiey, May 16, 2008 @ 4:58 pm

    Mwangi says: “apparently that stage between sleep and wakefulness is great for creative juices.” Amen to that! I just did that & I do that often, too often it’s become a habit. Got a 2.5 hr nap & now am ready for the 3am to whenever I feel tired again during the day routine. Yes, a lot has been ccreated in the middle of the night. I often attribute it to the still in the night where ideas & even creative energies flow more smoothly.

    Sawa, am back on thr grind for the day but will catch up with my erratic sleep this weekend.

  • By Mwangi, May 16, 2008 @ 5:21 pm

    @akiey: Plus it’s quiet and so there are no interruptions once you get into a state of flow.

  • By Kelly, May 16, 2008 @ 7:53 pm

    @Mwangi, yeah someone needs to publish something about sleep cycles. Yeah, I hear you on the creative thing in the middle of the night, worked out so badly for me at once. I woke up at midninght and decided to get some work done. I became so charged (figures do that to you), couldn’t get back to sleep, the next day at work, I was dozing like a fool. So these days all I do is watch CNN and hope the telly lulls me back to sleep.

    If I didn’t have an intensive 8-5 job, i’d actually try writing or something at night!

  • By akiey, May 16, 2008 @ 8:21 pm

    Now Kelly makes me glad I don’t have a 9-5 since I wouldn’t be able to fully function the first hour or two I get there because of all nighters, lol! Too bad the alternative I have isn’t much better either seeing that it’s a 24-7-365 job I have. You win some, you lose some I guess!?

    @ Mwangi, you’re daaaarn right about the quiet of the night. Some naysayers insist it’s only the freaks that come out at night but if working hard/smart at that unusual time of night brings a kool, non-stop flow of ideas then I’m A Freak and proud of it!, lol!

    Sawa, been working nonstop since my last comment here. Break time is here…

  • By Mwangi, May 17, 2008 @ 3:07 am

    @Kelly: A person who finds figures exciting…that always fascinates’s so outside of my reality, though I did like algebra, so maybe not.
    Depending on whether or not I end up making this blogging thing my full time thing I just may end up at one point writing articles on how people can blog as a job….watch this space.

  • By Mwangi, May 17, 2008 @ 3:08 am

    @akiey: I am typing this at 3:05 a.m. so tell them they can classify me a freak too :D

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