The Thing About

The thing about focuses on different topics and issues from an African perspective

Peace, Love, and Chicken Wings

There are three things in this world that can bring shame to Africans. In no particular order they are:

  1. Not being able to handle spices/spicy food
  2. Being a vegetarian 
  3. Not eating the meat off bones properly. 

 Not being able to handle spicy food is the least of your worries as an African, the people will make fun of you but that’s all they will do. Being a vegetarian is probably your biggest problem because you might not eat. Vegetarians are like the grass in Africa (there is no joke here.) The grass is there and it is a lot but people don’t think of it that often. In people’s minds it’s scarce. Africans love meat so much that they cannot comprehend why someone would purposely leave being a meat-eater to only eat vegetables and friends. Africans love meat so much there is a restaurant in Kenya called CARNIVORE where all you eat is meat. Carnivore may also cater to vegetarians but i’m not sure because as all other people there, I am there to be carnivorous. 

That leads to the third shame, it’s almost as bad as being vegetarian. Not being able to eat the meat off the bones properly. If people could make this a crime in Africa they would. 

In my ethnic community fish is the major staple food. Growing up I would constantly be told how I didn’t know how to eat fish because of the amount of meat I was leaving behind. Looking back, I’m a little bit salty because fish bones are hella small so I could not have been leaving that much on the bones. Nonetheless, I learnt how to not leave the meat on all bones. I’d become really good at it, even being able to do it with a fork and knife in public…obviously not as well as if I used my hands but well enough to not be shunned.

That is until this past Wednesday. Naysayers will say it’s a regression of my basic African skills but I look at it as an elevation of my African status. 

This past Wednesday I was out for lunch with friends and I ordered 10 chicken wings. TEN chicken wings. I thought I could finesse the wings but they finessed me. I didn’t want to waste the food so I ate the wings, not well, but I ate 9 and a 1/2 chicken wings. This was no easy feat people!

Please note: the pictures you are about to see are graphic and do not reflect the true quality of my character. Additionally, the full piece of chicken is just for banter.

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Now the picture looks pretty rough and I’m not going to lie I was embarrassed and ashamed when I was called out but I don’t regret the way I ate those chicken wings. Let me explain why.  

For starters I ate 9 and a 1/2 chicken wings. That in itself should end the discussion but there’s more.

 I think of myself as a modern day hero. For centuries Africans have been chewing the meat and the bone. The slurping of the soup followed by the cracking of the bone and finally the sucking of the marrow from the bone is a sound that Africans are all too familiar with. I too have indulged in chewing bones just not as much or as seriously as some Africans but I have been known to nibble a bone or two. 

 However, Africa is rising and as a people we must rise too. That’s why I left that much meat on the bones. I am part of a changing continent and if the continent can change so can I. 

How can an entire continent be rising and I’m being left behind?

This was the dream of our ancestors, that we would rise and realize that we too can eat chicken like we live in First-world countries. Isn’t that what they fought for during independence? 

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It’s obviously not but we need to see the way I ate those chicken wings as a revolutionary act. Africa is considered one of, if not, the poorest continent in the world. Wars, famines, diseases, underdevelopment it seems as though we just can’t win. By eating the chicken bones the way I did, I elevated the status of the African.

No longer will they be asked if they are hungry when they chew the bones. No more being told there is more chicken in the kitchen. No longer shall we be called savages for the way we eat. No more. 

As lil Bev (my bitmoji… not my rapper name) said “Everyday…children in Africa WISH they could disrespect chicken wings the way I did.” 

No regrets. 

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