Remembering #IfAfricaWasABar

IfAfricaBar Bar

 

One of the best hashtags ever! Remember?

 

The hashtag grabbed the attentions of millions of people. I was certainly one of them.

It all started in July 2015.

Guess what, people ARE STILL Tweeting it!

This Tweet came in 24 hours ago.

IfAfricaBar Ghana Pan African

 

 

 

Ok.

Siyanda Mohutsiwa, a 22-year-old writer and satirist (raised in her father’s native Botswana and born in her mother’s home, the Kingdom of of Swaziland, born) —Twitter@SiyandaWrites— started the hashtag, creating a unique conversation for hip, trendy Africans to comment on each other in a lighthearted, introspective way. The conversation highlights stereotypical mannerisms of various African nationalities. Like, Nigerians are typically portrayed as the rowdy money hoarders and Tanzania is depicted as a spender who can’t afford to pay for what he’s spending.

 

Siyanda is cool! Her Twitter bio: “I didn’t come here to be governable.” #Love

She’s written pieces for Mail and Guardian and Za News. If you haven’t, check out her Tedx Talk in Amsterdam where she explains how #IAfricaWasABar kicked off.

If Africa Bar Writer Siyanda

 

I like when Siyanda says, people were using the hashtag “to make fun of the countries that don’t think they’re in Africa,” making a reference to this audacious Tweet:

IfAfricaBar North Africa

 

Siyanda is eloquent. I like the way she thinks. You MUST watch her Ted Talk. She talks about Lumumba, Sankara, Biko.

“People were using the hashtag to connect. People were connecting over their African-ness,” Siyanda says.

It’s all about pan-Africanism.

 

Quick shout out to photographer Benedicte Desrus for this photo of busaa (a local beer) in Kenya

A group of Kenyans drink busaa, a traditional fermented beer, from a common pot using long straws - in a crowded busaa club at midday in a Nairobi slum on March 27, 2013. Busaa is made by crudely fermenting maize, millet, sorghum or molasses. At Kshs 35 per liter it is much cheaper than a Kshs120 half-liter bottle of commercial beer. The local brew was legalised in 2010 and since then busaa clubs have become increasingly popular. Drinking is on the rise in Kenya, especially among young people. Photo: Benedicte Desrus

A group of Kenyans drink busaa, a traditional fermented beer, from a common pot using long straws – in a crowded busaa club at midday in a Nairobi slum on March 27, 2013. Busaa is made by crudely fermenting maize, millet, sorghum or molasses. At Kshs 35 per liter it is much cheaper than a Kshs120 half-liter bottle of commercial beer. The local brew was legalised in 2010 and since then busaa clubs have become increasingly popular. Drinking is on the rise in Kenya, especially among young people. Photo: Benedicte Desrus

 

 

 

About Siyanda, Mail & Guardian writes: “Everything about this 22-year-old distills the contradictions, complexities and potential of being young (and digital) in Africa.”

The Atlantic’s Uri Friedman commented on the hashtag too writing, “There’s something maddeningly reductive, but also surprisingly instructive, about trying to sum up a country, a complex collective of thousands or millions of people, in just a few words.” Then of course, CNN featured the story as well. Mashable . Buzzfeed noted that there is a lot of truth in satire.

 

Here are some of my favorite #IfAfricaWasABar tweets

IAfricaBar South Africa 1

 

IfAfricaBar Angola

 

IfAfricaBar Benin

 

IfAfricaBar Congo 1

 

IfAfricaBar Zimbabwe Zambia

 

IfAfricaBar Congo 2

 

IfAfricaBar Zimbabwe 2

 

IfAfricaBar Congo Burundi

 

IfAfricaBar Ethiopia Nigeria

IfAfricaBar Tanzania

 

 

 

Can I just say #PharmaceuticalColonialism on this one?!

IfAfricaBar Europeans

IfAfricaBar South Sudan

IfAfricaBar Francophone

IfAfricaBar Somalia

IfAfricaBar Gambia Lesotho

IfAfricaBar Sao Tome Principe

IfAfricaBar Ghana 1

IfAfricaBar Rwanda

IfAfricaBar Morocco Western Sahara

IfAfricaBar Nigeria 2

 

IfAfrica BAR 1

 

 

by Chika Oduah

 

 

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