Big is beautiful in Africa- but should a person’s size matter?

4 Min Read

September 21, 2010 By IdaHorner

They are things in our way of life or culture that we do not question even if we know that they do not serve us or that they are outdated but we do not question them.

I am one of those people that lose weight when I have something bothering me emotionally, my appetite just goes and food isn’t appealing to me at all  when I am that state of mind.  I am currently in that state of mind and consequently I have lost some weight, but not too much to be described as skinny and in fact could lose a little more to get to the ideal weight for my height, but this is possibly a topic for another blog.

The realisation of this unintended weight loss has brought a new set of worries which may lead to further weight loss- my upcoming trip home to Uganda. The last time I was there was May this year. My mother and aunties were beaming with the biggest smiles at my appearance. I had gone up a dress size!

Oooh! You look well they cooed!

At the back of my mind I was concerned about having to get a whole new summer wardrobe and how I could afford it as nothing from the previous season would fit!

Well I didn’t have to worry for much longer as one thing led to another on my return and off went the weight and a new summer wardrobe was not an issue anymore.

I am due back to Uganda in 3 months time and although I am a grown woman I am worried about the matriarchs’ reaction if I don’t regain the weight before I go.

There will be questions, lots of them!

See in most African communities being fat is a sign of

  • good health
  • for men in particular it is a sign of wealth
  • feeding well (this translates as having  good quality food as well as having plenty of food)
  • And in the case of a woman, “your husband must be taking good care of you” which translates as having a well stocked kitchen amongst other things.

This has left me wondering about the origin of this way of thinking and whether is serves us as a continent. We know much more about health implications of being over weight but in  some quotas this doesn’t make a bit of difference!

Take the example of Mauritania women/girls have to be fattened like cows due for sale at the slaughter house before their wedding

What is that all about?

Is being that obese really sexy? What about the health problems associated with being obese?

Is it possible to be thin and healthy or even happy in an African society?

What are the current trends? Are the new generation still obsessed with being fat or have they caught up with their western counterparts and prefer to be a size zero?

Please share your views on the matter.

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