You Heard it Right: #WhatILoveAboutAfrica

Lumley Beach - Freetown, Sierra Leone
With all the tiring Kony 2012 buzz going around, it's about time we have some good conversations surrounding Africa - and thankfully the lovely @Semhar, founder and executive director of the Diaspora African Women's Network (DAWN), has started just that - positive, accurate, and optimistic conversations surrounding the continent I consider home. 

@Semhar has started trending #WhatILoveAboutAfrica worldwide on Twitter - a huge accomplishment. As she says: "For those of you wondering, I started #WhatILoveAboutAfrica to add to the conversation. I'm Eritrean-American, lived in EAfrica & love it" and she is "Tired of reacting, complaining. Tired of fighting stereotypes. Tired of having your debate. Now have mine. #WhatILoveAboutAfrica". Nice work, girl!

"It's about time we ushered in the era of afro-optimism through words and action" (@IamQueenNzinga)

Okada + Harmattan = Bliss

So here is #WhatILoveAboutAfrica
1. Okada rides (especially during harmattan).
2. Seeing the stars in the sky for the first time...ever.
3. Drinking coconut milk from the coconut itself and not that processed crap you buy at the grocery store in the U.S. 
4. Happiness and resilience that is unmatched in the rest of the world.
5. Falling asleep to incoming rainy-season thunderstorms and watching the lightening fill the sky in the distance.
6. Eating the freshest fruit I've ever tasted (i.e. Sierra Leonean oranges and Pineapples).
7. Potato leaves over rice and cassava leaves over rice.
8. Music everywhere!
9. Groundnut stew.

The Mountain's in the Distance
10. Football - Manchester Pride. 
11. Sunsets like I've never seen before! 
12. Religious Tolerance
13. The unmatched views from the flights over the Sahara.
14. Waking up to roosters.
15. The hum of the generators lulling me to sleep.
16. It's the only continent people love enough to make a hashtag about it!
17. African weddings where everyone helps out and everyone comes.
18. Everything with palm oil.
19. It taught me to became a self-taught plumber.
20. Eating rice with my hands. True finger food!
21. The bumpy roads, and I don't know why!
22. Its people smile from their feet to their ears. 

Here are what others love about Africa:
1. "Ba Cissoko, Ali Farka Toure, Angelique Kidjo, Pierette Adams, Cheick Lo, Geoffrey Oryema, Masekela, Refugee All Stars" (@JeremyKonyndyk)
2. "The communitarian culture. Ubuntu: Umuntu Ngumuntu Ngabantu ( a person is a person because of others)" (@IamQueenNzinga)
3. "Is that she loves me back!" (@TylerPaziuk)
4. "I am because we are, & because we are, therefore I am." - John Mbiti" (@TexasinAfrica)

Sierra Leonean Oranges
5. "The music & dance: Highlife, Mbalax, Afrobeat, Kwaito, Zinli, Soyoyo, Coupe Decale, Zouglou, Azonto, Ndombolo, Makossa"  (@mafoya)
6. "Warmth. Sweet rain. Smiles. Coffee. Local radio stations. Crowded streets. Mangoes. Markets. Jewelry. Faith. Tea." (@semhar)
7. "The community-based and grassroots organizations. Always there- before, during and after any issue." (@InnovateAfrica)
8. "The inspirational liberation struggles." (@TylerPaziuk)
9. "The unbelievable human potential and talent in Africa. So much intelligence, creativity and ingenuity." (@decadentbastard)
10. "People: Mandela, Nkrumah, Sankara, Lumumba, Fela, Makeba, Kidjo, Maathai, Gbowee, Achebe, Dube, Soyinka, Tutu, Biko." (@mafoya
11. "Pidgin" (@mafoya)

Cassava Leaf Sauce
12. "It is the Motherland. The Mothercontinet, it is the beginning, it is everyone's original home." (@khayadlanga)
13. "The pace of life. The healthfulness of going to bed when it gets dark and waking up with the sun." (@TylerPaziuk)
14. "The world is working hard to rob it of its rich resources, but we're still more giving and down-to-earth than anyone." (@itsfnan)
15. "Nollywood." (@Laugh_LoveLive)
16. "Family is not defined by blood alone" (@TraceAdjoa)
17. "People survive with $1 a day n are happier than 99% of the '1st world' people." (@Imuigai)
18. "African time." (@Mangaliso_M)
19. "The music of the African Renaissance." (@TylerPaziuk)

Waking Up to Roosters
20. "When an African greets you, you are acknowledged as a human being. You are seen, and experienced." (@SoniaCabano2)
21. "No matter how far you have traveled, you are always welcomed like you are coming home." (@USEmbPretoria)
22. "Ils nous prenaient pour des fous mais 4000 ans plus tard les pyramides tiennent encore debout!" (@NinoValdOr)
23. "Is that while people paint it as the source of the problem, I know it will be the beginning of the solution." (@sasyrae)
24. "The joy (and mischievousness) of the kids. The joy (and resilience) of the grandmothers." (@TylerPaziuk)
25. "Watchin people dance like nobody is watching. dance was born here." (@RosebellK)
26. "That while most people I know are angry about colonialism, they don't blame the West for all their problems." (@HistTeacher1453)
27. "We allow ourselves to feel-we don't hold back - when we cry we wail. When we laugh we beam in joy, its contagious." (@DAWNInc)

Religious Tolerance
28. "Ugandan pineapples, Kenyan beaches, South African kwaito, West African funk, barefoot football, tech innovation." (@Rosejackson3)
29. "People smile not just wth their teeth but wth there heart! That makes me believe in humanity mo than anything." (@RosebellK)
30. "The dancing at Beninese weddings and the wailing in the streets of Zambian funerals." (@HistTeacher1453)
31."Ghana's highlife. Congo's soukous. Maninka from Mali. Kwaito from South Africa. Nigerian jùjú." (@USEmbPretoria)
32. "The long road trips" (@jonathanglennie)
33. "Wherever you come from, when you set foot on African soil you know you're home." (@africatechie)
34. "GREEN unadulterated expanses of beautiful earth!" (@solomonking)
35. "Is the way we dance through polarities, complexities and complex cities." (@Wespresso)
36. "The generosity of people who don't have much in terms material terms." (@Rwandankunda)

Natural and Effortless Balance!
37. "Mothers carrying children on their back. Not one leash in sight!" (@DiasporanD)
38. "The strength of its people! Even the most war torn country knows when to come together to make a better tomorrow!" (@MacJordaN)
39. " It teaches me patience, although still learning......" (@KidogoSteph)
40."Family has nothing to do with shared DNA." (@mhinganzima)
41. "The extended family. You're never alone (even if you're trying your darndest to be left alone!)" (@Zichivhu)
42. "People always there to help, car breaks down, getting lost, sharing food they have even when scarce" (@KidogoSteph)
43. "African Cup of Nations. It's football not soccer :)" (@mafoya)  
44. "Mango season. resilience. the stubborn refusal to be defined by stereotypes and single stories. and yes - sunsets." (@raaheli)


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