$5000 up for grab in African Jollof Rice Challenge
In seems like a deliberate attempt to put to rest the ongoing debate on who makes the best jollof rice in Africa, the Brand Television Network (Btv), a lifestyle and entertainment television network, has launched the African Jollof Rice Challenge.
The show is a continental lifestyle and entertainmenttaste tour and cooking contest that seeks to discover the country that has the best Jollof Rice in Africa, in a contest where representatives of different African countries will slug it out for the $5000 Grand Prize money.
According to Felix King, the Executive Producer of Btv, the argument on which country has the best Jollof Rice in Nigeria inspired social network and street conversations across Africa, especially among the West African Countries, where Jollof Rice is most popular. This argument has grown into a very strong continental debate, which has dominated both conventional and social media spaces.
This debate sprang up from a statement by Lai Mohammed, Nigeria’s Minister of Information that Senegalese Jollof Rice is the best, with a counter claim by Nigeria’s Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo that Nigerian Jollof Rice is the best.
The argument gets fiercer with each passing day with claims and counter claims on which country actually has the best Jollof Rice in Africa. “There is no official position yet on which country has the best Jollof rice in Africa, hence, the Btv desire to unravel the mystery through this contest. None of the perspectives has proved convincing, despite Nigeria’s strong claims to the African cuisine. The different viewpoints on the streets have only generated more controversies and continuous placement of different points to back up individual claims,” the Btv Executive Director said.
Ororo Pattaya Otono, an Executive Producer with Btv said the challenge would start with an online recipe contest, where the best contestants will be selected for the live screening and then the Grand Finale. He said the programme would come to a flourishing end at the Reward Night that will be used to mark the World Jollof Rice Day on Tuesday, August 22, 2017.
“Jollof rice was born with controversy about its true origin, the best ingredients for cooking it and where the name itself was discovered,” he said. In recent times, Nigeria and Ghana has laid major claims to the origin and ownership of Jollof, but some historians traced its origin to Senegambia, which was ruled by the Jolof Empire. This argument about the origin of Jollof Rice has become a culturally sensitive issue between Nigerians and Ghanaians.
Whatever the arguments are, Jollof rice is one of the most common dishes in West Africa consumed throughout the region including Senegal, Gambia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Togo, Cameroon, Mali, and Ghana, thouhg with variations.
However, to the organisers, African Jollof Rice Challenge is more of an entertainment platform than a contest. It’s the positive and healthy exploration of the beauty of African entertainment that makes us one big continent.
King describes the Grand Finale as a celebration of different African music, where African rhythm meets African Jollof Rice. Beyond entertainment and food values, the African Jollof Rice Challenge will serve as a veritable platform to promote tourism, cultural exchange among African countries and overall economic growth.