I was at the African store the other day when a Kenyan man walked in with his two children – a boy and a girl of about three and five years old respectively. There was a fridge stuffed with a variety of soft drinks. Naturally, the kids reached for the Fanta. There’s something about the orange soft drink that makes it irresistible to kids (and sometimes adults, too). I vividly remember Fanta being my favorite drink as a child. Not much has changed since then. However, I do accommodate other brands of orange soft drinks. It seems like only yesterday when I used to call Fanta Tanfa - something my father has not gotten tired of reminding me.
As the kids each reached in to grab a bottle of Fanta, their father helped them to it and encouraged them along the way, saying, “Yes, take the Fanta. That’s Fanta straight from Kenya!” The owner of the store is Cameroonian, and I, the eavesdropper, a Nigerian. So, there we were, three nations, all wearing the Fanta-is-from-my-country look. And I could not help but wonder, whose Fanta is it anyway?
Picture source: Wikipedia
Wait, let me explain something here. People that are not familiar with the Fanta (or any soft drink) that comes in the breakable bottle may not understand the hype. Almost every African I have had the soft-drink discussion with believes that the Fanta that comes in this breakable bottle is sweeter than the Fanta in a can or plastic bottle. I don’t know how true this is, but if it is indeed true that the Fanta in a bottle tastes a lot sweeter, then what does that mean?
Does it mean that Fanta is catering to the apparent sweet tooth that Africans have? Does it mean that the laws that govern the making of Fanta in other countries (like USA and England) does not apply to Africa? Or does it mean that Fanta has realized just how much Africans cannot wait to become diabetic, and so, have offered a helping hand?
It could, of course, just be that the Fanta in Nigeria, Cameroon, Kenya, and all other African nations tastes just like the one in our new respective countries, and that the packaging is the only difference. Oh, the other difference is that here in the States, we do not have to provide an empty bottle of Fanta before we buy a new one. It makes one wonder — why do they make us provide empty bottles before we buy new bottles of Fanta [in Africa]?
But whose Fanta is it anyway? It’s Coca-Cola’s Fanta. And Coca-Cola is a born citizen of the United States of America. It currently resides in Atlanta, Georgia. Go figure.