Jolof Rice: The Ghana-Nigeria Saga!
There is a war that has raged on between Ghana and Nigeria for many years. This war has got nothing to do with weapons of mass destruction of any kind; neither has it got anything to do with destruction of lives or property. Rather, it is the war for dominance and bragging rights in what has come to be known as the ‘Jollof Wars’! Jollof rice enthusiasts from both sides of the battle line have argued that their version of the delicious meal is better than that of their counterpart.
Unless someone has been living underneath a rock or in outer space, one cannot help but notice the online chatter on popular social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook about how one side cooks Jollof rice better than the other side. Ghanaian and Nigerian celebrities are not left out of the debate either. Some African music artists like Sister Deborah, Flexboy, Emma Oh My God and some others have even seized the opportunity to release songs which celebrate their respective country’s version of the dish.
Furthermore, the African meme community is not left out of the Jollof Wars as champions from each side throw shades at the other side using pictures with witty and funny captions to celebrate their country’s version of the dish while deriding and ridiculing the version from the other camp!
What is the big deal in a meal? What is so special about Jollof rice that makes it the centre of online debate among people from different countries? Well, it is a kind of rice that is prepared using tomato stew, pepper, onions, salt, Maggi cubes, curry, thyme, chicken, meat or fish and of course rice itself. However, methods of cooking vary from one person to another. It is almost impossible to have a party or event without the presence of Jollof rice on the menu.
But where did Jollof rice originate from? While Ghana and Nigeria are at loggerheads over whose version is better, the real founders of the delicacy – the Wolof people of the Senegambia region of West Africa – hardly have time to join in the scuffle for top position. Jollof rice in this region is called Benachin and even though the name is different, it is still same delicious orange-yellow coloured rice with the same great taste.
Interestingly enough, while this debate lingers between Ghana and Nigeria, a few adventurous individuals from the West have braved dangerous waters by trying to prepare Jollof rice the “European way” and were immediately shut down by agitators from both Ghana and Nigeria alike. Funny how the same thing that is the bone of contention between Nigerians and Ghanaians is the same thing that unites them when an outsider tries to steal the show from right under their noses!