African Time


African time is a colloquial term used to describe a perceived cultural tendency, in most parts of Africa, toward a more relaxed attitude to time.

Satellite image of Africa, showing the ecologi...

Satellite image of Africa

The term is sometimes used in a pejorative sense, about tardiness in appointments, meetings and events.

It is also sometimes used to describe the more leisurely, relaxed and less rigorously scheduled lifestyle found in African countries, especially as opposed to the more clock-bound pace of daily life in Western countries. As such it is similar to time orientations in some other non-Western culture regions.

The related derogatory term to the concept of African Time is the phrase “Coloured People’s Time” which supposes the habit of black people being frequently late. This derogatory and quite racist phrase was used by outsiders (often Caucasian people) about the African American community.

1 thought on “African Time

  1. Actually it is a term that many Africans that I have met uses as well.
    Especially in Ethiopia where they have their own time counting apart from the “regular” one.
    But is there a term that one can use instead?

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