Viral TikTok Shines Light on Country in Africa Where Spanish Is the Official Language
Equatorial Guinea is a tiny country in central Africa. Named for its proximity to the equator, it is bordered by Cameroon and Gabon, and spans about 28,000 square kilometers.
The coastal nation is comprised of Río Muni, a land mass on the continent, and five islands in the Gulf of Guinea.
Originally colonized by the Spanish, Equatorial Guinea is the only country in Africa that recognizes Spanish as its official language, along with French, and most recently Portuguese. However, Spanish remains the most widely spoken language, with its motto being, “Unidad, Paz, Justicia.”
Native Equatoguinean Cathy Afrorizada shed some light on this vibrant yet elusive African country after she was asked on TikTok about her unique accent. In her answer, she illuminated us — and perhaps much of the world — on the language, culture and people of Equatorial Guinea.
She explains that her light complexion is because her grandfather was Spanish, informing us on the country’s long history of colonization. She goes on to share that Equatorial Guinea only very recently gained independence from Spain in 1968, and that as of 2021, the population was around 1.5 million.
“Somos muy pequeños,” she laughs.
The country’s capital is Malabo, located on the island of Bioko, which is where the nation’s main international airport is. Afrorizada goes on to note that there are many tribes in her homeland, and that aside from Spanish, each tribe speaks their own native tongue.
However, the prevalence of Spanish is undeniable, as she reiterates that Spanish is what’s spoken in school, in casual conversation on the street — everywhere. French is a secondary language, as they are surrounded by French-speaking countries and essentially need it as a means to communicate with their neighbors.
She concludes by answering the original question posed about her accent, which we learn is significantly influenced and defined by the language her specific tribe speaks.
This information is incredibly important for everyone to learn, but even more so in the Latinx community, which is largely Spanish-speaking. It’s so comforting to know that we can travel across the world to Equatorial Guinea and still feel at home. It’s a small world after all.
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