You read that correctly, today - August 22 is WORLD JOLLOF DAY!
As the self-appointed Ambassador of the Salone Jollof Lives Matter movement #SLJM, I have taken the liberty to give you all the run down and mini-history on Jollof in 7 things you should know about Jollof!
Back in May 2022 as some of you may be aware, I served as a Jollof judge here in Freetown. I won't (re)trigger myself by hashing up the details of the unfortunate results of the competition - but feel free to read for yourself if you haven't already here: Review: My weekend as a Jollof Judge - #SaloneJollofLivesMatter
Since my humbling experience and addressing the nation after the results, I relayed my Strategic Implementation Agenda to viewers and I have had months to think about how I am going to commemorate this day.
Would I be shady?
Would I be informative?
Would I be petty?
Why pick when I can be all three.
Hey, bad habits die hard 😉. As the saying goes "Every setback is a setup for a comeback".
However, along lines of diplomacy and to foster good international relations for today I will do a Switzerland and claim neutrality.
On that note, your Salone Jollof Plenipotentiary presents a few fun facts about Jollof - 7 to be exact:
1. World Jollof Day started in 2015.
Jollof historians, enthusiasts and ambassadors trace the origins of this day to 2015 AD. It is unclear who is behind the ingenious idea but advocates have called on the United Nations to officially recognize this prestigious day. We are yet to hear back from them.
2. Jollof's origins are Senegambian
Jollof can trace its wonderful roots (and grains!) to the Senegambian region as far as the 14th century to the Wolof or Jolof Empire in what is now known as Senegal, The Gambia and Mauritania to where the rice itself was grown. The spread of Jollof across West Africa is debated but some food and agriculture historians believe it was adopted across the West African coast due to commerce as well as the spread of Islam.
3. Jollof has different names
Jollof is known as Ceebu Jën or better known/written as Thiéboudiène in Senegal and The Gambia which means "rice with fish" in Wolof. Traditionally, it was a dish prepared with fish but the gastronomy culture has changed across West Africa and can be prepared with chicken or beef. In the other countries it is also home to (which is mostly anglophone) it is known as Jollof rice or simply Jollof. In Mali it is known as Zaamè in the Bamanankan language.
4. Jollof has many homes
The tantalizing dish is home to the following countries: Senegal 🇸🇳, The Gambia 🇬🇲, Sierra Leone 🇸🇱, Liberia 🇱🇷, Ghana 🇬🇭, Mali 🇲🇱, Cameroon 🇨🇲 and I don't know why... Nigeria 🇳🇬. 🌚
5. Thiéboudiène is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site!
In October 2021, UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) added Senegal's national dish Thiéboudiène to their Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity List. Such a flex, go Senegal!
6. Not all Jollof are created equal
Though not all Jollof across the various nations are the same with each one has its own unique twist, blend and aroma - the essential basis for most Jollof is tomatoes (and the paste) which is responsible for the reddish color of the dish. Although we can agree there is a certain country that adds too much of both 👀
If you know, you know. #iykyk
7. Salone won first place in the Washington DC Jollof Festival
On July 30 2022 in Washington DC, USA - Sierra Leone won (okay, tied with Senegal) at the Jollof Festival. As the Queen that she is, Salone Jollof took her rightful spot in the Diaspora and oh, look what we have here. Nigeria came in last place - I mean FOURTH place...shocker. Can't argue with facts baby. 😎
Where will I be after dropping all this vawulence?
You can find me somewhere in Freetown enjoying some SALONE Jollof with Maltina.
If you haven't already, get you or make you a plate of Jollof rice - I trust and pray it is the RIGHT Jollof and remember, a wise contemporary philosopher once said:
"Don't allow anyone to treat you like fried rice when you're JOLLOF." - Unknown.
Jollof with love,
ergo sum cogito
I'll be taking a social media break for two weeks, if you can't reach me there of course you can reach out to me via email at email@example.com - I would love to hear from you. Have an event you'd like to advertise or need an event curator? Email me. Until then, see you in September! 👋🏾