African Culture


The interest for  African culture is constantly dropping by the day; the interest of young generations in the culture of there community has gone far way down as youth have just little or no interest in the cultures of their people.

1.       BEFORE WE CONTINUE LET’S FIND OUT WHAT IS CULTURE?
 
The world culture, has many meanings and definition in many way by different authors
For some it refers to an appreciation of good literature, music, art, and food.  For a biologist, it is likely to be a colony of bacteria or other microorganisms growing in a nutrient medium in a laboratory Petri dish.  However, for anthropologists and other behavioral scientists, culture is the full range of learned human behavior patterns. Culture is about people’s total way of life.
 Culture is the way of life of a particular society or group of people, including
Patterns of thought, beliefs, behavior, customs, traditions, rituals, dress, and
Language,  as well as art, music, and literature.
Charles A. Ellwood, an American Sociologist defined culture as;
“A collective name for all behavior patterns socially acquired and socially transmitted by
Means of symbols; hence a name for distinctive achievements of human groups, including
not only such items as language, tool making, industry, art, science, law, government,
morals and religion, but also the material instruments or artifacts in which cultural
achievements [sic] are embodied and by which intellectual cultural features are given
practical effect, such as buildings, tools, machines, communication devices, art objects,
etc….
  The term was first used in this way by the pioneer English Anthropologist Edward B. Tylor in his book, Primitive Culture, published in 1871.  “Tylor said that culture is "that complex whole which includes knowledge, belief, art, law, morals, custom, and any other capabilities and habits acquired by man as a member of society."  Of course, it is not limited to men.  Women possess and create it as well.

CULTURE AS A TOOL
Culture is a powerful human tool for survival, but it is a fragile phenomenon.  It is constantly changing and easily lost because it exists only in our minds.  Our written languages, governments, buildings, and other man-made things are merely the products of culture.  They are not culture in themselves.
Now before we move go on let’s find out what the word fragile and phenomenon means.
The word fragile according to dictionary means;
(frag-ile /Adjective: (of an object) Easily broken or damaged.
Flimsy or insubstantial; easily destroyed
Why the phenomenon means; plural phenomena, is any observable occurrence.
From the above definitions we can now see that the constant down cast experienced in the African culture is as a result of the fragile nature of culture and the fact that it exist in our mind.
THE IMPORTANCE OF CULTURE:
Culture is important because it reminds us where we are from. It gives us our identity and can shape a person's personality and attitude towards life.
Culture acts as a guide for people. It validates proper behavior and discourages taboos. Cultures help us define our religious beliefs, personal values (sexuality), morals, food, clothing and even our style.
Culture helps you develop and mold your attitudes and characters to be productive, useful, purposely and progressive.

 

THE EFFECTS OF THE DIMINISHING AFRICAN CULTURE
The African rich traditional cultures and indigenous systems may be lost if not regularly and with passionate practiced, properly recorded and preserved, and proudly and widely promoted. The young generation today needs to practice the rich cultures of the continent so that they are preserved for the future generations. Our traditions and cultures will be lost if they are not passed on. Africa has very unique cultures and ways of life, but these were at high risk with western influence. The blending of one culture with another also had the potential of killing off cultures. The challenge is to preserve our cultures by practicing and making them part of our lives. We must make an effort to sustain our cultures and not to depend on others.
We now find ourselves caught in between two contemporary cultures – the traditional and the western culture. Most young people today find it difficult to accept both cultures.
And the odds are that they will neglect the traditional ones in favor of the western. Many of us think that those who neglect the traditional cultures have no roots or trace of their origin. “During World War II, for instance, over six million Jews were killed through gas chambers, bombs, guns, etc. But were the Jews erased from the face of the earth? The answer is No. And they will never be flushed, annihilated or washed off as long as they keep their skullcaps and long flowing gowns. It is only when you don’t see a trace of their culture anywhere anymore, which they stop to exist. So if we do not feed our children with our cultures and traditions, teach them our languages, our dances, our folklore and songs, our fashion, indeed the totality of our African life style, our future will lose its identity and we may begin to wonder if we are Nigerians, Ghanaian or just a nation of shadows blending into shapes and dark patches.
Many of our children today cannot speak their mother tongue, neither can they know where they come from. I quote Mathew Yakai in what he wrote while studying in Japan to Sir Paulias Matane on the subject of “Culture, Tradition is my identify” in the Times Traveler Column in The National newspaper that most of our young people are moving away from our Melanesian cultures and traditions. Mathew wrote, “Most of the young people are unable to speak their mother tongues. They do not even know their origins. When I was at the University of Papua New Guinea (UPNG), I asked a small boy of mixed Tari and Ialibu parentage living at Morata about his original village. He said that he was from Morata! That gives me an indication of how parents bring up their children.
 “On another occasion, while at UPNG, I shared a dining with a Motu girl. The lunch was rice, kaukau and fried chicken with lettuce. When I tried to give her some pieces of kaukau, she refused saying she do not eat local or traditional food!
 “Here in Japan, I am trying my best to improve Japanese and English. One reason for doing this is that I believe that I will be an asset to Papua New Guinea in trade negotiations. The more I learn these things, the more I move away from my cultures, languages and family ties. Having traveled to several countries in Asia like South Korea, China and Japan itself, I found people in these countries treasure their cultures and traditional values”.


THE EFFECTS OF WESTERN CULTURE ON AFRICA
With Africa subjugated and dominated, the Western culture and European mode of civilization began to
Thrive and outgrow African cultural heritage. Traditional African cultural practices paved the way for
Foreign way of doing things as Africans became fully ‘westernized’. Western culture now is regarded as
Frontline civilization. African ways of doing things became primitive, archaic and regrettably
Unacceptable in public domain. Not only were certain aspects of the material culture in the colonies lost or destroyed, colonial societies also lost the power and sense of cultural continuity, such that it became practically impossible to recover the ability to strive for cultural progress on their own terms.
We have heard comments that our cultures and traditions are old-fashioned; they hold back progress in nation building and that we should completely forget about them and adopt new ways of life. Some say they are ‘dirty’ and ‘primitive’. They are perceived as negative by the new generation.
It is important to emphasize fundamentally that urgent and more decisive steps need to be taken in order to reorder and reverse this evanescent trend of cultural emptiness, without which Africa may experience seasons of cultural extinction and drought of African values.
Indeed, the significant fact about African cultural history is the convergence upon the indigenous tradition of the two external influences—the Arab-Islamic and the European-Christian—to which the continent has been exposed for well over a millennium. The values and lifestyles associated with these traditions have been assimilated and to a large extent indigenized on the continent. This observation provides a broader perspective on the phenomenon of Westernization in Africa, an observation made as
early as the late nineteenth century by the great African cultural theorist Edward Wilmot Blyden and Summed up in the late twentieth century by Ali Mazrui as “the triple heritage”. (Irele, 2010).
The effects of western civilization and culture on Africa are in several phases. It is the desire of this paper to bring out three of these phases, viz: political effect, economic effect and social effect. By and large, the
scope of this paper shall be confined to those concepts that drive western civilization: neoliberalism, liberal democracy, globalization, individualism/family values, etc. Again, all these can conveniently be accommodated under the scope of wider phases of effects of western civilization. Western civilization is a Commitment to neoliberalism, commitment to liberal democracy, commitment to consumerism and commitment to Christian worldview as the origin of western civilization. Colonialism and liberal
Democracy will be put under political effect, neoliberalism under economic effect and missionary to be under social effect.
Political Effect
The colonial factor was essential to the understanding of the process of Westernization in Africa itself.
The holistic distortions of the hitherto well organized African societies in every sphere of life pointed to
The depth and effectiveness of colonization in the process of westernizing African societies and their cultures.  Political effect includes:
Distortions of natural boundaries without due recourse to antecedent institutions and cultures.
The western civilization submerged and dismantled indigenous institutions and, in its Place, a foreign rule was established. Traditional institutions before then were regarded as not only political authorities but also custodians of cultures.

Economic Effect
 A major effect of European colonialism was the progressive integration of Africa into the world capitalist system, within which Africa functioned primarily as a source of raw materials for Western industrial production.
There was imposition of taxation, which forced Africans into wage labor Colonial economy also caused agriculture to be diverted toward the production of primary products and cash crops: cocoa, groundnut, palm oil, sisal, and so on.
There was sudden shift in production mode from production of food crops to cash crops, a situation that caused hunger and starvation in Africa. Africa began to produce more of what she needs less and produce less of what she needs most.
Africa was perpetually turned to producer of primary raw materials, a situation that caused unequal exchange
 The plunder age method and systematically kleptocratic enterprises established in the colonies to expropriate natural resources of Africa to Europe has, in the perspective of Rodney, facilitated “underdevelopment of Africa while engendered the development of Europe”
This required a total reorganization of African economic life, beginning with the introduction of
the cash crop and inexorable alteration of economic pattern. In the settler colonies—notably in
Kenya and Rhodesia—the alienation of native land complicated the economic situation of the indigenous populations (Alkali, 2003).
Economic Plan: it also altered the way we produce, create and recreate as well as what we consume.
The infrastructure undertaken by the colonial administrations was minimal, developed strictly as a function of the requirements of the new economy, which saw the rise of the colonial cities such as
Dakar, Lagos, Nairobi, and Luanda.
 Neoliberalism: It is an economic process that distrusts the state as a factor in development; it is a nineteenth century philosophy that has continued to be repackaged, its latest form is monetarism.
It believes that market mechanism is the most efficient allocator of productive resources and, therefore, to have an efficient and effective economy, forces of demand and supply must be allowed to play a leading role. This changed economy of Africa from communalism to capitalism and, lately, neoliberalism.
 Social Effect
Family/Social Relations: Extended family giving way to nuclear family. Traditional African family values breaking down very rapidly. Extended family that was wonderful instrument like a social verve, social security in our community has given way to nuclear family. Little wonder that there is no more respect for age; no more respect for values that we held sacrosanct in Africa;
younger ones now find it very difficult to greet elderly ones.
 Individualism: We now have children of single parents, a phenomenon that is identifiable with
America. People no longer communalize, nobody wants to be anybody’s brother’s keeper.
 Building Pattern: The way we build now is different from the way it was; we no longer take into cognizance our own peculiarity in the building process. We now build houses without ventilation.
 Urbanization: It led to rural exodus and the displacement of large segments of the population.
Corruption: western civilization has promoted corruption in Africa; leaders in Africa now look up to Europe and America as safe havens for looted funds. It is a consequence of Western civilization.
Sexuality: The conception of sexuality has changed completely; the desire to be like Westerners by our children has suddenly made them promiscuous; doing things that were never imaginable several years ago. This does not, however, in any way support cultural isolationism. Cultural isolationism is not possible in the context of globalization. Cultural ideas and values grow and flow across borders unimpeded, but that should not make us lose sight of the fact that the weaker you are; the more likelihood of cultural dominance. Africa has been very weak and vulnerable since the last century. Africa now suffer from level of mental enslavement; cultural imperialism; the need for decolonization of the mind. The trend of Western civilization in Africa is pathetic; the strength of wave of Western civilization is such that Africa is hardly capable of resisting it. The wave is so strong that it has become irresistible.
Language: Proficiency in our language is declining in Africa because we are compelled to embrace Western culture and civilization as Western language; Western language has created a dichotomy between an elite and mass of our people who still cannot do business with foreign language. It causes alienation for people who cannot speak English or French. Language is a vehicle of culture, we are in a very serious problem. Professor Babafunwa project on local language as a basic tool of teaching in Nigeria was aborted because of the nature of our country. We must define and design means of helping Africa out of this language, cultural logjam.
Christianity: The impact of Christianity has to be considered, for this has been the most important single factor in the process of Westernization in Africa. Western education, involving literacy and the mastery of a European language, became the condition for entry into the modern sector. For

THE EFFECTS OF THE DIMINISHING AFRICAN CULTURE
The African rich traditional cultures and indigenous systems may be lost if not regularly and with passionate practiced, properly recorded and preserved, and proudly and widely promoted. The young generation today needs to practice the rich cultures of the continent so that they are preserved for the future generations. Our traditions and cultures will be lost if they are not passed on. Africa has very unique cultures and ways of life, but these were at high risk with western influence. The blending of one culture with another also had the potential of killing off cultures. The challenge is to preserve our cultures by practicing and making them part of our lives. We must make an effort to sustain our cultures and not to depend on others.
We now find ourselves caught in between two contemporary cultures – the traditional and the western culture. Most young people today find it difficult to accept both cultures.
And the odds are that they will neglect the traditional ones in favour of the western. Many of us think that those who neglect the traditional cultures have no roots or trace of their origin. “During World War II, for instance, over six million Jews were killed through gas chambers, bombs, guns, etc. But were the Jews erased from the face of the earth? The answer is No. And they will never be flushed, annihilated or washed off as long as they keep their skullcaps and long flowing gowns. It is only when you don’t see a trace of their culture anywhere anymore, which they stop to exist. So if we do not feed our children with our cultures and traditions, teach them our languages, our dances, our folklore and songs, our fashion, indeed the totality of our African life style, our future will lose its identity and we may begin to wonder if we are Nigerians, Ghanaian or just a nation of shadows blending into shapes and dark patches.
Many of our children today cannot speak their mother tongue, neither can they know where they come from. I quote Mathew Yakai in what he wrote while studying in Japan to Sir Paulias Matane on the subject of “Culture, Tradition is my identify” in the Times Traveler Column in The National newspaper that most of our young people are moving away from our Melanesian cultures and traditions. Mathew wrote, “Most of the young people are unable to speak their mother tongues. They do not even know their origins. When I was at the University of Papua New Guinea (UPNG), I asked a small boy of mixed Tari and Ialibu parentage living at Morata about his original village. He said that he was from Morata! That gives me an indication of how parents bring up their children.
 “On another occasion, while at UPNG, I shared a dining with a Motu girl. The lunch was rice, kaukau and fried chicken with lettuce. When I tried to give her some pieces of kaukau, she refused saying she do not eat local or traditional food!
 “Here in Japan, I am trying my best to improve Japanese and English. One reason for doing this is that I believe that I will be an asset to Papua New Guinea in trade negotiations. The more I learn these things, the more I move away from my cultures, languages and family ties. Having traveled to several countries in Asia like South Korea, China and Japan itself, I found people in these countries treasure their cultures and traditional values”.

DEMINISHING CULTURE OF AFRICA WHAT IS THE WAY FORWARD
The way forward for the African people is to bring up the children who is the future of the continent to know the importance of the rich culture of the African man and practice them thereby using them to improve their environment and improving them to meet their needs and certification rather than forgetting for other culture which is not in any way as rich as the African cultures and traditions.
Cultivating the culture of interacting with non Western culture is germane, collaborating with countries like Malaysia, Tunisia, etc.
 African countries should be interested in what other countries that stood against Western culture have achieved; it is important and significant, for instance, that countries like Taiwan, Korea, Indonesia, Malaysia, that have chosen to de-emphasis foreign language ended up becoming great economies. At a time, India banned importation of Western clothes. Today, India is one of the largest producers of textiles in the world.
Note:
 It is not without reason that France is spending so much in the development of French language; it is not without reason that the Anglo-Saxon communities of Western Europe and North America are spending so much money to ensure the continued development of what they now call the
Language of diplomacy and commerce (whose language is this? And why can’t we learn any of our languages in our collages). Today in Nigeria student parents spend thousands of Naira buying French text books for their children, how many times have they spent 200 Naira to buy Igbo, Hausa or Yoruba test books for their children?
This only proves the love of western culture to our culture.

No comments:

Speak Your Mind

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Powered By Nigertricks · Designed By Seo