Colonization and Globalization The Living Threats: Africa’s Colors and Voices
Africa’s spectrum of colors and voices of cultures are the mere reflections of the continent’s richness in the endless diversity matching its bigness in size and originality in creation. Studies that rely on archeological research suggest that Africa hosts the oldest history known about humankind leading all other continents. The continent speaks such a wide range of languages and dialects and some studies put the number well exceeding 1,500. However, two global factors undermine the protection and promotion of Africa’s collective diversity ingrained in nations’ rich cultures. Colonization and Globalization.
Before the advent of consequential colonialism, the wider African nation had been practicing colorful cultural practices and values manifested in real-life socio-economic and political spheres. African colors and voices could be best observed in music and dances, arts and sculptures, traditional marriages, aesthetic dresses, family, names, and many other traits unique to the African nations. But this experienced an emptying, distorting, and destroying as the distinguished Frantz Fanon, whose works have inspired anti-colonial liberation movements for more than four decades, pointed out well that “Colonialism is not satisfied merely with holding a people in its grip and emptying the native’s brain of all form and content. By a kind of perverted logic, it turns to the past of the oppressed people, and distorts, disfigures, and destroys it.” (Fanon 2005).
The Europeans invaded the African continent and imposed a new culture through colonialism a period that historians put in between the 1800 and 1960s. Literature underscores the glaring fact that the colonialists were generally imbued with the spirit of condemning everything African-African music, art, dance, names, religion, marriage, systems of inheritance, etc.
One of the devastating missions colonialism targeted was Africa’s indigenous broad cultures. As colonial powers largely practice cultures peculiar to the European nations expanded, Africa’s colorful indigenous and diverse cultures faced systematic alterations and subtle destructions through methods that included genocide that wiped out large segments of the population. In order to control Africa’s wealth and natural resources, which were the top priorities of colonialism, people’s way of life, ideas, and artifacts indigenous to the continent were subject to annihilation, alienation, and massive disorientation.
Key to all this, for example, is what African languages went through. Language constitutes an important part of a nation’s culture in the former's role, among others, to strengthen the sense of belongingness and unity among the inhabitant, to ensure the sustainability of the nation’s survival, to protect and enhance identity peculiar to the nation, and to ensure the new generation inherits the nation in its entirety. Altering language risks all these. And, the colonization did exactly this by forcing African nations to adopt a lingua franca for each colony or set of colonies. Colonial powers’ mother tongues have been made the official and business as well as common language of communications of each colony even to this very day except in North Africa.
As such there is no objective globalization out there exogenous to the entire world society that nations across the globe have equal contributions to its formation. Globalization is a discourse and tool constructed by and dominantly implemented by the Global North. There is a call for living in a world of uniform moral principles of dos and don’ts within global cultures. Africa dwells in an increasing homogenization and domination of its traditional cultures impacted by the cultural aspect of globalization which promotes a particular form of colors and voices. Modern colonization perpetuates via globalization that swept Africa!s new generation. The heirs of the culture of the continent lost the balance they should have kept between appreciating external cultures and promoting their own culture.
Despite the end of colonization that caused incalculable damage to Africa’s cultural values, long ago, the continent’s traditional cultural values continue to be replaced by the global cultural values that cultural homogeneity engendered.
One of the tools globalization utilizes in de-emphasizing African indigenous cultures is education. Just imagine a curriculum an African nation has been implementing in which the history lessons are all but non-African histories. A young African goes to a local education center and is trained about alien history that has no related relevance to his or her own homeland. And, this has for long been justified by the widely spread discourse that argues the world has now become a small village if not just one. Several African nations take for granted the curriculum of ex-colonizers in the name of advancing education and enhancing quality. As a result of this Africa’s cultural values peculiar to the continent’s nations continues to face a risk of extinction.
Africa’s colors and voices that reflect the nation’s diversity in cultural values continue facing the question of survival. Colonization and globalization lead the domain of salient causes to the existing threat of the aforementioned risks. However, equally important factors exist from within the continent that contribute to the slow destruction of African cultural values. Endless conflicts, authoritarian rules, gender issues, economic vulnerabilities, and rampant corruption could be brought forth as a few locally generated engendering factors.
There is no short-cut solution to solve this chronic problem that engulfs the entire continent targeting particularly its cultures of all forms. But remedies are abundantly available. Concerted Governmental and nongovernmental efforts should be devised with huge and leading participation of African citizens and the youth in particular. State, regional, and continental-level organizations should join hands in a visionary effort to bring about locally tailored policies in protecting, enhancing, promoting, and transferring African colors and voices.
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