Nigerian poet and journalist Wana Udobang curates a new 4-part video series for the Program of African Studies at Northwestern University. The project is titled Reclaiming the Tongue and explores black cultural connections through food and cooking. In the series, four food researchers address the “complex ways in which history, geography, memory, colonization, relationships and more, become part of a dish’s recipe.”
Udobang is joined in the series by food writer and researcher Ozoz Sokoh of Kitchen Butterfly. Her work has been featured on CNN’s African Voices. Also featured in the series are Neema Syovata, the founder of Modern African Table and the nutritionist and dietitian Iquo Ukoh of 1Q Food Platter.
Udobang explains that the project centers food in global black experiences and cultures:
“The aftermath of slavery and colonization is often spoken about in connection to the violence done to the political, social and economic fabric of the African continent but very little of these repercussions are ever connected to food. The one thing that is and has always served as a system of survival.
Being Nigerian and part of a wider continental and diasporic community, food has always played a central role in our consciousness. Food for us is history, memory, lineage, placemaking, belonging, healing, celebration, mourning, resistance and ritual. Food is our love language. Food is in fact my love language.
Our culinary histories have been made complex by many things. From invasions and wars, to settler colonizers, border creations, migrations and climate catastrophes. Though we have relied heavily on oral traditions, a lack in other forms of documentation has wreaked its own consequences on the erasure of our food histories…”
The 4-part video series is dedicated to each of the experts, including Wana Udobang. The videos were published throughout the month of February and are now available to watch on the YouTube channel of the Program of African Studies. You can watch all four of the videos below and head to the website for more information.