Africans Spell Success With Scrabble

African countries vie for top spot at this week’s Francophone World Scrabble Championship in Dakar, Senegal as 600 entrants from 21 countries, more than half of which are African countries, compete in this year’s games.

Now in its 37th year, the francophone competition is incredibly popular among French colonized countries of West Africa, with Africans claiming top honors since 2000. Mali’s Ministry of Sports picked up the tab for 10 players to compete in this year’s championship and Senegal’s Minister of Sports declared the tournament one of the year’s most important sports events, proving Scrabble is more than just a past time for many African countries.

Even though Africans face considerable economic and educational disadvantages, they have proven to be extremely resourceful….

Outarra And Samuelsson Bring the Spice


Ivory Coast native Morou Outtara and Ethiopian-born Marcuss Samuelsson are the latest culinary artists infusing the American palate with bold flavors from Africa.

Outtara peppers the food at his Virginia restaurant, Farrah Olivia, with flavors from his West African homeland and thinks America is ready for the new tastes.

“For six, seven years now people are playing with the idea of African food, and people are now starting to accept it,” Outtara said in an interview with Philly.com.

“It’s been gradually happening,” said Samuelsson, who opened the New York pan-African restaurant Merkato 55. “You are now seeing those [North African and Arab spices] like harissa, za’atar and dukka showing up on menus.”

And to help the spices make their way into the American kitchen, Samuelsson launched Afrikya, a line of African spices. The North African and Middle Eastern spice combination of poppy seeds and rose was even named one of the Top 10 flavor pairings for 2008 by McCormick & Co.