EFFECTS OF COLONIZATION ON THE AFRICAN CULTURE

EFFECTS OF COLONIALISM IN THE AFRICAN CULTURE

Colonialism is a relative term that is oftenly used by historians to describe the epoch between 1800 and 1960 in the history of Africa. Colonialism began as a result of the changes in the mode of production in Europe (industrial revolution) after World War 2 and was believed to be the revolution that changed the history of the world. Colonialism is seen as the direct and overall domination of one country by another on the basis of state of power in the hands of a foreign power. It brought about civilization, western education, religion (Christianity) amongst other good fortunes attached to the colonial and post-colonial era.

This period changed Africa from a crude, uncivilized, uneducated, to a simple and more organized, and mechanized pattern of production which helped the typical African man who’s main occupation were believed to be fishing and farming. The African culture is embedded with so much political, social, economic, religious, aesthetic, among other values which the African people share as one before the advent of colonialism. These values are best explained in African traditional marriages, family, clan, individual gifts and names, talents, cultural practices, arts and sculptures, dress, music and dance, folk stories amongst other traits peculiar to the African society.

As a result of the colonialism and westernization of the African society, cultural practices were abolished in the following ways. Offering of sacrifices at shrines, river banks, top of the mountain to appease or thank the traditional African gods are no longer observed and are seen as fetish. Market days observation are no longer visible and values are no longer added to  their observation. The traditional ways of dressing notably the use of Ankara, by ladies, a Bagdad, Isiago, are seen as local mode of dressing and African men now dress in suits & jeans, while the ladies dress in skirts (sometimes mini-skirts), spaghetti, bikinis at the expense of the African wrapas that cover their entire nakedness.

It is obvious that the recognition of English language as the Lingua-Franca is killing our culture. In the area of education our educational system tend to give more priority to English language at the expense of our African languages like Swahili, Asante, Yoruba, Igbo, Hausa and others forgetting the fact that no language is superior to the other. It is only when these languages are thought in school (both secondary and tertiary) that the values attached to African culture can be transferred to next generation.

It can be seen as a result of colonialism coupled with the mentioned factors Africa is lost in finding its true identity and sometimes we as seen as weak and lukewarm part of the world. Therefore, there is need for every African to join hands against this cultural liberation by first of all being proud of being an African, speaking their languages where ever they find themselves in the world, and above all take time to teach their children our local African dialects so that the dying African culture can be revived.

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