• April 16, 2024
  • Last Update April 16, 2024 4:29 PM
  • Nairobi

African culture may soon go extinct

African culture may soon go extinct

By Simon Guchu

The once strong foundations that bound us as Africans to unity, resilience, harmony, togetherness and love are no longer intact . A dark force looms on the horizon missioned to destroy what our founding fathers believed in and scatter the morals, behaviors and uniqueness that makes us who we are- proud being black and African.  

As westernization, urbanization and globalization continue to restructure societies and communities across the African continent, our unique identity is increasingly on the verge of extinction. Our norms and behaviors are too at the risk of being diluted, marginalized and forgotten. 

Africa, the cradle of mankind, is home to an extensive array of cultures each presented with a unique set of values , behaviors, norms, beliefs and practices. Our cultures have been passed down  through many generations who safeguarded and preserved what we enjoy today. 

Uniqueness is power, this is what makes the pyramids of Egypt so extraordinary , the maasai community are the pride of east Africa. The rich Yoruba culture of west Africa stands as a testament to the resilience and creativity encompassing diverse traditions , and belief systems. However, rapid social, economic and environmental changes are placing remarkable pressure on Africans and this is endangering their existence in the 21st century.

Rapid  globalization has led to homogenization of African culture. According to a study by Okon E. Udosenata,   Increased globalization has indeed led to the homogenization of African culture and language in various ways. One significant aspect is the pervasive influence of Western media, technology, and consumerism, which promote Western cultural norms and values at the expense of indigenous African traditions. Western films, music, and fashion trends often overshadow local cultural productions, leading to a loss of cultural diversity and identity.

We have become so enticed by western cultures in almost every aspect. From the way we dress, the food we eat , the entertainment we consume and the way we celebrate. Halloween for instance  is a western culture thing , it  originated from Celtic pagan traditions in Europe, particularly in Ireland, and has evolved over centuries into the modern celebration known for costumes, trick-or-treating, and spooky decorations. However, in recent years, Halloween has gained some popularity in certain African countries, particularly among urban youth and communities influenced by Western culture. 

The increasing growth of urban centers and rural- urban migration pose a formidable threat to our traditional ways . Cultural norms and practices have been corrupted and eroded. Adoption of urban lifestyles, and behavior practices by many young people have left them forgetting about their roots .  African Language for instance  has been eroded severely and is at risk of extinction due to dominance of   colonial languages. Fields of education, tourism, business and governance have adopted western languages like French, Portuguese, German and Spanish. The beauty of the African language is not as appealing anymore.

Music and entertainment is another aspect, we have become so obsessed with western entertainment. Hollywood films, American televised shows and  Western music genres, dominate the cultural landscape, overshadowing local artistic expressions and narratives. While global connectivity enables access to a diverse array of cultural content, the dominance of Western media perpetuates stereotypes, erases marginalized voices, and reinforces cultural hegemony. 

Let’s not forget about our rich African cuisine. Traditional local dishes are at greater danger of going extinct. Fast foods and processed food items imported from European countries are becoming increasingly adopted by our African societies.  While western food offers novelty and convenience , they also contribute to health issues such as obesity, cardiovascular ailments and diabetes. 

Our African values have been corrupted leading to an erosion of traditional norms, principles, and ethics that once guided our societies. Social cohesion and solidarity is no longer  there. Principles  of ubuntu (humanity), communalism, respect for elders, and reverence for nature have already been eroded.  We have experienced a breakdown of trust, integrity, and social responsibility- the fabric of our African community and identity is slowly deteriorating. 

Our stronghold as Africans had thinned tremendously, we no longer hold  the pillars of interconnectedness,  compassion and empathy, collective responsibility and respect for diversity. Interconnectedness once cherished as the essence of our being has been shattered to a million pieces, all that is left is vague fragments of what binded us . We have been disconnected and the pieces have been scattered, lost and blown away by the winds of globalization and modernization.

The compassion and empathy that molded and curved us into one people has fallen apart. Principles of love have been overshadowed by jealousy, self interest and indifference. Grassroots of poverty, violence, injustices and chaos are stronger than ever. The problem is that we all turn a blind to what really matters – brotherhood and sisterhood. We watch them suffer and still go like nothing is happening.

We have forgotten that the power to transform lies within us, collectively united in purpose and action. Uplifting one another doesn’t make sense anymore. We have adopted a culture of blaming and victimhood to external factors everytime things go south. We no longer cross- pollinate ideas to solve what holds us back. We need to understand that we can’t maintain at the top by stepping on each other’s backs in a world that often glorifies ruthless ambitions and cutthroat competition but rather encouraging and empowering one another because greatness is never achieved in isolation but through collective efforts.

It is with no doubt that a serious problem has befallen African land and our identity and uniqueness as Africans  is endangered. However, united and together as one , we can still restore our identity and heritage.  Because our uniqueness is what binds us into one integrated community.

Let us collectively lift one another, promote values of Ubuntu by showing compassion and empathy, support initiatives that try their best to preserve our cultural heritage, and most of all  instill our African values to our current generation so as to restore and maintain our identity.

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