The Jollof Wars: A Battle for Supremacy
“Any party without jollof rice is just a meeting”
The above quote elaborates the extent of the relevance of jollof rice in Nigeria. Jollof Rice is a meal enjoyed by all and is undoubtedly the cynosure of every celebration in Nigeria. A delicious dish comprising of rice cooked in sauce but prepared in diverse variation s depending on the region of Africa in question, jollof is defined by its orange-red color (similar to dusk) which is an effect of tomatoes, pepper and most importantly, rice.
Most Africans reluctantly accept the fact that Jollof originated somewhere in the Senegambia region of West Africa this is because the name “jollof” is a derivative of “wolof” a language spoken in Senegal; this alone brings about a handful of tension when jollof matters are raised. However as an avid lover of jollof rice I can say I speak for all when I say that jollof rice is a meal for all occasions ranging from birthdays to funerals and from parties to formal gatherings, it pairs well with beef, chicken ,fish and so on depending on the choice of those eating it.
The “Jollof Wars” began on twitter over a year ago and has successfully saturated all over the internet over time. It began as a debate over who “owns” jollof rice, in other words which country has produced the culinary expertise in the preparation of this delicacy. The combatants include Ghana, Nigeria, Benin, Senegal and so on with Nigeria and Ghana being the most active participants. The slight and unique variations in the preparation of jollof all over West Africa helped to fuel the agitation, each country believes that its own method is the best and the only way while all others are wrong and would ultimately taste terribly.
The Nigeria-Ghana jollof rivalry is so brutal that both citizens at home and in the diaspora go all out to defend and uphold the efficiency of their country’s jollof rice. Rants on Twitter, countless memes have diffused all through the major social networks just to prove a point, diss tracks have been recorded, theories have been propounded and so much more, the jollof wars is not an arena for the faint hearted.
On the other hand one can say that the battle for whose jollof rice tastes better is just a shroud concealing the real matter at hand; it is a contest for which country is “better”. It is an indirect platform for people to decide which of the nations have an upper hand in West Africa especially between Ghana and Nigeria, people go to all lengths to demonize the other person’s jollof meanwhile holding theirs in high esteem, rather it is an avenue for such nation to assert dominance and relevance in the region regardless of how it affects the others.