It appears that over the past two years or so, the international community has developed an obsession with African cultural products. Now, whether this is due to the overwhelming popularity of the Black Panther film or something more we’re not sure, but it is rather thrilling to watch the international community indulge, from the guys dancing to gqom in Atlanta, African-America actors doing their best to try and speak Xhosa or watching them be schooled on black tax and some deep-rooted South African humour by Trevor Noah, or emulating Die Antwoord’s zef style.
Our primary concern however is that while we chuckle at the inside joke of Americans and the Brits and Europeans falling head over heels in love with traditional fabrics and tribal inspired jewellery of the Zulus and Maasai to bright traditional fabrics that capture hearts and catches every wondering eye – are we taking full advantage of this new-found popularity?
Or are we missing out at the chance to be a functional part of exporting our culture? Do we even realise the potential, how revered the likes of Spoek Mathambo are in France? How people in Sweden freak out over Youngsta CPT? How a German woman started taking Afrikaans lessons because she heard Isaac Mutant rap. And lest we forget the likes of Zodwa Wabantu, who is celebrated as a rising and brightly shining star far from the shores of her birth.
We as Africans are a unique collective, our culture, outlook on life and daily interactions are unlike any of those we may encounter in the United States or Europe and foreigners are realising our value, but are we? Our creative products from the minds of the people who have created them are authentic, fresh and like nothing the world has seen before, which is why there seems to be an unquenchable thirst for all that is African. Are we looking at the opportunity of a life time, a globe takeover of sorts? You decide.