News, Notes, and Dispatches From Wherever Coconuts Grow
Category: Africa

February 21, 2008

When Coconut Means Something Else

Funny how cultures differ in their racist slang. In the US, generations of schoolkids grew up familiar to the term "oreo", used to describe people who were "black on the outside but white on the inside."

In Africa, South Africa at least, they don't use "oreo", they use "coconut" for the same general purpose.

Here's an example of a South African editorial disparaging the rise of "intellectual coconuts" who write too much.

Posted by brian at 01:42 PM | Africa | Comments (0)

March 12, 2004

Building Furniture Out of Coconut Trees

Exhibitors promoted the use of the wood from coconut trees for building "furniture and household items" at the 9th Ghana International Trade Fair, according to this article on

From the article:

The Takoradi Polytechnic, as an educational institution, is said to have embarked on a "Coconut Furniture Project" as an alternative to other materials used for the making of furniture with the assistance of Mr Shinichi Ito, a Japanese Lecturer at the Institute.

Speaking to the Ghana News Agency on Tuesday, Mr Ito said the use of coconut for furniture making was uncommon owing to the facts that most countries have not realised its comparatively higher quality.

He said a coconut item could last for about 50 years, adding that diseased coconut trees could be used for furniture.

Posted by brian at 12:27 AM | Africa | Comments (0)

February 04, 2004

The Digo Women and Coconuts

An article from on the Digo women and their cooking.

Coconut, which is highly prized by the coastal communities, plays a special part in their cooking. Everything, from the copra to the flesh and the liquid, has some use.

Posted by brian at 11:29 AM | Africa | Comments (0)

September 17, 2003

Call Someone a "Coconut", Get in Big Trouble, in South Africa

From The Star, a South African newspaper, comes this story:

The Democratic Alliance is taking African National Congress MP Cameron Dugmore to the Human Rights Commission for referring to a radio presenter as a "coconut".

Is it racially offensive for a white politician to jokingly call a black Springbok supporter a coconut? The DA certainly thinks so. The radio presenter does not.

In a submission to the commission, the DA asked it to investigate a recording of a recent 567 Cape Talk call-in show in which Dugmore called radio presenter Kieno Kammies a "coconut".

It says the comment constituted hate speech and caused harm as it implied that a black person supporting Bok rugby was white on the inside and brown or black on the outside.

In the U.S. this would, I suppose be like calling someone an "Oreo". Funny how calling someone a "coconut" would probably not mean anything at all in North America (or am I wrong?)

You can read the full story here.

Posted by brian at 08:10 PM | Africa | Comments (1)

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