Jollof Rice: The True Origins of Nigerian Jollof Rice

This thing called Jollof rice! You may have heard by now, of all the fuss about these colored grains of rice by both Ghanaians and Nigerians. There’s even a division: jollof rice made by Nigerians is termed Nigerian Jollof rice and the same made by Ghanaians, you can guess.  I have always refused to be a part of this argument citing for reason that the greatest element of impact  to the taste of this delicacy is the brains behind the meal. Thus, like any other delicacy, if it tastes so good, all credit to the chef. If it doesn’t, you know who to blame.

Through the thick and thin, and the heat and cool of this ongoing and never ending debate, there is a missing piece. This piece is highly integral to the uncovering of the truth. This truth will be self evident, a claim you will attest to at the end of this read. I am no Sherlock Holmes, but I am certain we will uncover this mystery; the mystery of the origins of the Nigerian Jollof Rice. Why the Nigerian?  Because embedded in that section are the clues to the bigger picture.

Origins of the Nigerian Jollof Rice

It all started sometime in 1969. The government of the then Republic of Ghana banished Nigerians out of the country. Well, not just Nigerians, but other immigrants. The reasons as to why this happened, are irrelevant in this case. But one thing you should know is that, Ghana, the pride of Africa, had gained independence from colonial rule (1957). The grass was indeed greener on the other side for all these neighboring countries. Long story short, Ghana attracted immigrants.

jollof rice ghana independence- Afriket

Fast forward to about two decades later, Ghanaians were being chased out of Nigeria (1983). Well, once again alongside other immigrants but the majority being Ghanaian. A catch phrase that is still existent today was even developed. Now, like the lost stories of the childhood of Jesus, in that gap is where we derive our cue to the truth.

In between, this time frame, Nigeria needed help in building and sustaining a strong economy. Ghanaians offered to help and before you could utter the phrase Jack Robinson, Ghanaians had taken over the land and almost every sector and industry. Being all generous and hospitable, they decided to also help Nigerians in the kitchen and dropped to them, a recipe to a certain unknown delicacy, totally oblivious to the Nigerian population, that will eventually set the stage to an eternal battle.

Time Bomb

By 1983, Nigerians had attained lots of information and decided to break this fairy tale of a love story with the people that readily came to their aid- Ghanaians. To do that, they developed xenophobic characteristics and chased them out. Once the last Ghanaian was ousted, they supposedly reinvented the wheel that is branded today, (you name it). The older generation through whom these deeds were done, phased out and a vibrant young with no knowledge of that evil past came in. The ECOWAS free movement between West African countries was formed. Rumors of this fine tomato covered grains of rice from both parties emerged. The internet joined our worlds together. Then all hell broke loose!

So now I ask: What is truth? Better still, what is the truth? Let’s hear it in the comment section.

Disclaimer: This is a piece of art; a combination of history and fiction. The writer has no intent to create division but only to entertain the imagination of readers.

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