Sunday, January 25, 2009


All hyperbole must be invoked to convey the impact of Barack Obama's election on the African psyche. I was in Africa on election day and witnessed the messianic build-up to November 4th and the muted, smiling disbelief that greeted November 5th.
That euphoria is now manifested in business names, such as the new Obama Video Club below. Business owners aren't worried about copyright issues here, and like to emulate their favorite sports teams and musicians (see the post of naming Taxis from last week). So you have Fly Emirates taxi (referencing the Arsenal Football Club jersey sponsor) and you have the Xzibit barber shop (named after the American hip-hop artist).
Now comes Obamamania. Besides the video club I have seen an Obama Filling Station (Yes we can, as in a container of oil) and an Obama cook-shop. Aside from this, Obama is being a popular baby name, a popular subject for pop music songs, and is also becoming a slang term for everything from beer to sex to the United States itself.

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