Have you ever traveled to another country and have you called by a name that is not yours?
It turns out that a large number of people having been at least once in another African country experienced this experience.
African peoples have a very singular way of renaming the foreigner who settles on their lands. Nicknames shared between humor and invective that generally derive from the cultural background that this stranger brings with him or quite simply from the perception that his host country has of him. We have selected for you some examples of expressions heard here and there across the continent.
We call our brothers of the Central African republic, “BOZIZE” told us a Facebook subscriber on Facebook.
In west Africa:
In Senegal, it is not uncommon to hear the inhabitants of Central Africa calling themselves “Gnaks” (inhabitants of the forest). In Benin, foreigners are affixed with the nickname “Toumenoux” Rural people living in the country.
The English-speaking countries of West Africa are no exception. Ghanaians call Nigerian nationals “Alata” (sellers of pepper – a term derived from the Yoruba) and the Nigerians nicely send them the elevator with the nickname “the Darks” (literally, the blacks)
In Niger and Mali, when you hear “Forestiers” or “Toukoro mogow” (the people of the forest), there is no doubt, these are the populations of Central Africa. These two ancestral terms are surely used because of the vast forest areas that cover Central Africa.
In Central Africa:
The “Warahs” in the Republic of the Congo are the West Africans, all nationalities combined. However, in Gabon, the Beninese “benefit” from a small mark of attention. They are nicknamed “Popos”, because of their famous Riz-Popo; One eaten with the hands, in the most ‘disorder’ according to the Gabonese.
” We call our brothers of the Central African republic, the BOZIZE, ” said a Facebook subscriber on Facebook.
In the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), any Central African is potentially a “Mo ngwenambangui”. To find the origin of this name, we must go back to the first contacts between the Congolese of the DRC and the Central Africans. In the past, when they were asked where they came from, they replied vaguely “Ngué na Bangui” which literally means “to go to Bangui”.
Now let’s take a look in North Africa. Some Tunisians and Algerians name the nationals of sub-Saharan Africa “Guéra Guéra” (monkeys) or “Karlouche” (black color in Arabic), expressions that tend to create controversy.
On the Angolan side, the peoples of West Africa are simply called “Mamandous”, in association with the first name Mamadou, which is widely used among the Mandingo. South Africans would call African immigrants “Makwerekwere” because they would only hear “kwere kwere” when the latter speak their dialects.
The “Babii” in Kenya are those that come from above, a reference made to African travelers coming out of their countries.
Elsewhere in the world too:
But giving nicknames is not only inherent to Africa. Beyond the African borders, there are also small clashes of nicknames.
This is the case of the Francophones of Europe who designate the British by the nickname “Rosbif”, or the Guadeloupeans and Martinique by South American “Mwaka” by which are amused nicknamed the West Indians because of the use Of the first person singular in Creole “Moi Kâ” which means “Moi … Je”. The Americans call the French “Frogs” because they eat frogs, the Chinese say “Hei gui” (black monster) in front of a person with black skin and the French say “Chinetoque” to the Chinese in connotation to the objects to make in china Which would be said to be of poor quality. An expression that ended up being copied even to Africa.
On your next trip out of your country, listen, you may be surprised at the name you will be given on the unknown ground.