January 1, 2009

A Good Relationship is like Fufu

We have a new site www.g-lish.org where you can read all articles from This is Ghana in a much more organised fashion. Read A Good Relationship is like Fufu there.

You may be asking, what on this bountiful blue planet is fufu?

It's a staple of the Ghanaian diet, and other parts of Africa besides, that involves mashing boiled vegetables--plantain, cassava or yam--in a huge wooden mortar with a 4-foot long blunt-ended pole hewn from a tree until the vegetables become a sticky pale ball. It takes two people. It takes a long time. (Sounds like a relationship). The ball is then dropped in a spicy soup--palm, light or groundnut--and scooped up in the right hand and swallowed (not chewed - heaven forbid) whole.

And many humans could be forgiven for asking what makes a good relationship too?

Well, I was privvy to this tidbit of wisdom a couple of weeks ago at the marriage between a Ghanaian and Canadian couple of friends.

The analogy in Ghanaian folklore follows that creating a good relationship is like making fufu: one partner is the cassava and the other is the plantain (or yam if you're up north).

When you pound cassava and plantain into a sticky ball of fufu, which ain't easy, like you're average long-term relationship, you hit lumps, like you're average long-term relationship.

So, what next?

Ghanaians believe that it is the sole responsibility of the two to address the issues--those lumps--in the relationship. In other words, to discard those things that don't help the relationship, and keep pounding away at the rest. And to solve it yourself...

"So we are the caterers in the kitchen of relationship fufu, then..." I said out loud.

Culture and language - endless balls of fu....fu....n!!!

(Oh, and I chew my fufu...)


  1. This made me laugh out loud. I chew my fufu too.

  2. My God I miss fufu. Thanks for the inspiratio. But I'm hungry now.


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