The end of colonialisation, unfortunately also marked the end of many original thoughts of patriotic Africans, that modernity today has overtaken culture and more people are less likely to converse in their own language than a foreign tongue, as Kondwani Munthali reflects over Africans diminishing culture.
The coming in of missionaries and voyages of explorers in the 1800 brought to an end to one of the greatest human tragedies; Slavery. This worst form of abuse, seems to have had a lasting impact on the relationship between Africans and the rest of the World.
While some used the bible to justify slavery of Africans, many who have failed to understand African cultures have simply called in primitive and uncivilized, yet the continent is the home to early civilization and great wonders of the World.
Unfortunately Africans themselves seem to be on the fast track to adopting alien cultures than others who are trying to erase them from the global picture.
Take example of the new generation of musicians in Malawi, the folklore music by Stonard Lungu, the traditional beats of Micheal Yekha, Robert Fumulani and Allan Namoko have already been replaced by sets of hip hop music, which has no roots or identity in African culture.
Actually according to experts, Hip Hop or rap music represents the worst form of African image which exalts rape, sex, prison, drug abuse and all sorts of evils with men dressed in shorts at their hip which culminated from prisons attire which do not provide belts.
“Picture a Youngman holding his genitals, pointing a pistol and saying he just finished a bottle of beer and gang raped a woman. That does not look at all impressive of a serious culture but an all criminal infested mind,” says an expert in a documentary 500 years later.
From music, the attempts by Pan-Africanists to return to African culture and values, met a new generation of Africans who adopted a whole sale of their colonizers culture from dressing to language.
Zambia’s First president Kenneth Kaunda, Tanzania’s Julius Nyerere, Ghana’s Kwame Krumah, Nigerian Nandi Azikiwe and Kenya’s Jomo Kenyatta had all symbols of African leadership in their dressing and appearances.
Kaunda and Nyerere’s sons were educated in public school and a tale from Zambia was that a female teacher had one day slapped Kaunda’s daughter for not doing her home work. She asked her to bring her parents if she wanted to return into class.
The school’s Headmaster was shaken and everyone did not know what to do until Kaunda himself, then President turned up and praised the teacher for doing a good job in raising kids. The teacher got a promotion.
Humility, as shown by Kaunda was an African value. Today Presidents, Kings and Prime Ministers sons and daughters are all flown outside their countries for education. The stories of rowdy children, in-laws and relations of those in power are nothing but shameful.
Today Presidents can stay in foreign lands extensively while their people are starving or lacking drugs in hospitals. Presidential convoys in Africa are among the most spectacular than even rich nations such as President Barack Obama’s.
As if music and humility no longer exists in African language, there is another element attributed to history of oppression. The belief that everything foreign is better than locally produced has affected all parts of society.
Some studies suggest that Africans are the largest absorbers of all foreign materials, from beauty products to re-used products. Nigerian alone imports close to 500,000 containers of reused items including computers and radios according to CNN.
Others have joked that the lack of confidence in black Africans have seen others go on to mutilate their bodies in attempt to get a lighter skin or outlook from their original deep brown colour.
Black, many claim has been disadvantaged by its association to evil. But the truth is that many educated Africans have failed to promote own culture as viewed from perspective of a foreigner.
African presidents today are known for their designer suits, than for their traditional attires like King Mswati of Swaziland who seems to have been the remaining one to stick to his traditional dress.
Interestingly, this belief in foreign items and philosophy is firmly rooted even among the structures of Government. Apart from the Tanzanian parliament, the majority of African parliaments converse in a foreign language.
The clear mark of diminishing African value includes the barrier to African dress when one wants to attend a parliamentary session. This is in short the most ridiculous rule for a continent struggling to find a voice and place in global society.
Equality cannot be in terms of how white or how much one has adopted the “so called civilization” but acceptance of human diversity in a global society that have similar moral and social obligations to one another.
Lawyers still dress as if they are in London, children in school learn of the philosophies of the British and others, while there are very little details about African philosophy and way of life even in schools in rural Malawi or Uganda.
The thoughts of Nelson Mandela as he adopted and later abandoned armed struggle, the thinking of Mozambican Samora Machel, the political system of Julius Nyerere, the rise and fall of Mobutu Seseko, the birth of a democratic South Africa, the HIV/Aids conquest in Senegal, all these are African stories that are yet to be taught.
The success of African writers such as Wole Sonyika and Chinua Achebe on the global scene, Musicians such Angelique Kidjo, Mirriam Makeba and Oliver Mtukudzi, the fame of leaders such as Nelson Mandela, Kenneth Kaunda and hordes of football stars indicate that Africa is a continent of achievers.
Africa’s culture, rich and diverse needs not to copy from anybody, but be promoted to the fullest by its growing youthful population than adopting prison garbs of other nations.
The journey to reviving Africa’s self esteem will start with the educated lot stating to be proud to be Africans. Shameful cases of immigrants being deported back to land with fresh air and beautiful mountains will end with professionals who adopt the spirit of freedom fighters.
African can be a great place if African make it so.
Attempts by others have all led to the loosing value of the continents rich values. Even the church has realized that there is more to beating drums and enjoyment of a service in reflecting of Africans culture!