Christmas is celebrated throughout the African continent by Christian communities both large and small on December 25. Except in Ethiopia and Egypt who celebrate Christmas according to the Gregorian calendar- which means that they celebrate Christmas on January 7.
Many western Christmas traditions are now part of African Christmas culture, including buying trees, singing Christmas carols and children waiting for Christmas presents from Father Christmas. Speaking about Father Christmas or Santa Claus.
He is a legendary figure originating in Western Christian culture who is said to bring gifts to the homes of well-behaved children on Christmas Eve and the early morning hours of Christmas Day.
As African children, the image we get while growing up is that of a portly, joyous, white-bearded man—sometimes with spectacles—wearing a red coat with white fur collar and cuffs, white-fur-cuffed red trousers, and black leather belt and boots and who carries a bag full of gifts for children.
But would you imagine an African Santa Claus?
Of course you’ll think about the same old Santa Claus but with a dark skinned complexion.
But one Jules Kamga from Cameroon is changing things. He has created the African version of Father Christmas. A totally different one. Why? It’s a white-bearded black man with a sac of gifts. Right? Wrong. It’s actually a female Santa Claus. And her name is not Santa Claus. Mama Tinga Tinga is her name.
She is the queen of all the children in Africa. She doesn’t have a white fur coat but she wears a beautiful dress made from African fabrics and a head gear. She doesn’t have a beard. And she also has gifts.
According to Jules Kamga, the creator of Mama Tinga Tinga, any African woman can be a Mama Tinga Tinga. As long as she has a beautiful outfit, a head gear and a calabash full of gifts for the children. So I can be a Mama Tinga Tinga and you can be a Mama Tinga Tinga. Still waiting if there’s going to be a Baba Tinga Tinga though.