The African Culture

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African

The African Culture is varied and manifold, consisting of a mixture of countries with various tribes that each have their own unique characteristic from the continent of Africa. It is a product of the diverse populations that today inhabit the continent of Africa and the African Diaspora.

African culture is expressed in its arts and crafts, folklore and religion, clothing, cuisine, music and languages. Expressions of culture are abundant within Africa, with large amounts of cultural diversity being found not only across different countries but also within single countries. Even though African cultures are widely diverse, they are also, when closely studied, seen to have many similarities; for example, the morals they uphold, their love and respect for their culture as well as the strong respect they hold for the aged and the important, i.e. kings and chiefs.

Africa has influenced and been influenced by other continents. This can be portrayed in the willingness to adapt to the ever-changing modern world rather than staying rooted in their static culture. The Westernized few, persuaded by European culture and Christianity, first denied African traditional culture, but with the increase of African nationalism, a cultural recovery occurred. The governments of most African nations encourage national dance and music groups, museums, and to a lower degree, artists and writers.

Africa is divided into a great number of ethnic cultures. The continent’s cultural regeneration has also been an integral aspect of post-independence nation-building on the continent, with a recognition of the need to harness the cultural resources of Africa to enrich the process of education, requiring the creation of an enabling environment in several ways. In recent times, the call for a much greater emphasis on the cultural dimension in all aspects of development has become increasingly vocal.

During the Roman colonization of North Africa,(parts of Algeria, Libya, Egypt and the whole of Tunisia) provinces such as Tripolitania became major producers of food for the republic and the empire, this generated much wealth in these places for their 400 years of occupation.

During colonialism in Africa, Europeans possessed attitudes of superiority and a sense of mission. The French were able to accept an African as French if that person gave up their African culture and adopted French ways. Knowledge of the Portuguese language and culture and abandonment of traditional African ways defined one as civilized. Kenyan social commentator Mwiti Mugambi argues that the future of Africa can only be forged from accepting and mending the sociocultural present.

For Mugambi, colonial cultural hangovers, pervasive Western cultural inundation, and aid-giving arm-twisting donors are, he argues, here to stay and no amount of looking into Africa’s past will make them go away. However, Maulana Karenga states:

Our culture provides us with an ethos we must honour in both thought and practice. By ethos, we mean a people’s self-understanding as well as its self-presentation in the world through its thought and practice in the other six areas of culture. It is above all a cultural challenge. For culture is here defined as the totality of thought and practice by which a people creates itself, celebrates, sustains and develops itself and introduces itself to history and humanity

— by  Maulana Karenga, African Culture and the Ongoing Quest for Excellence

Last modified: August 22, 2021

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