For so long, we have been led to believe that development is taking in something superior. This is especially so in culture. Cultural development equates to imperialism really. The truth? Imperialism goes against everything culture stands for.
You see culture is art. Imperialism is therefore plagiarism or worse, it is the very destruction of what culture stands for. Culture requires for each individual language, tribe, customs and foundations of a people to be unique. It requires that they practice what they always have and pass it on to future generations. It demands for very little external forces to hinder it’s growth, only internal forces should subject a community to changes in the culture.
Imperialism has played a strong role in the erosion of many cultures. There were customs in many societies that would be poetic even in today’s society : these are now gone, there being no records of them. Some customs such as cattle rustling would be criminal. Others such as making of traditional houses and clothes would really enrich our diverse knowledge of our cultures. Museums would be packed to the brim with tourists visiting to see these. Our archives would have many books with stories from each community. There would be records, dictionaries, countless materials used to educate us. Cultural dances and heritage would be in every corner of Africa, not just the Maasai of Kenya.
Cultural advancement means development of culture. Another problem that encompasses cultural advancement is our education system. Instead of teaching us more about us, our people and our heritage, our education tells us about others. Inasmuch as knowing about other cultures is a step forward in knowledge, getting to know more about your roots is better. Our history books only teach us about us when it comes to the politics aspect and social structures. There is more to culture than just that. Former African schools had the right idea of cultural advancement. They taught the community’s language. They taught the children through stories, riddles and proverbs. Pupils got to learn about farming from their elders and other economic activities. Gender roles were enforced by the elders too.
Basically if we had schools, they would be in every corner of our country. If we had subjects today, they would look something like this:
¤Original indigenous language
¤International/ National language
¤Foods and Preservation
Colonialism also did a major blow to cultural advancement. The colonialists basically came and told us that we were backwards. They did us a complete 180° change. They emphasized that what they were offering us was literacy. In my humble opinion, we were already literate. In culture so long as you know your culture then you are literate. We were forced to drop our cultures and become copycats of the Europeans.
Assimilations have also barred cultural advancement to some extent. When one culture is swallowed completely by another, it ceases to exist as a unique entity. It disappears and the future generations recognize the culture in theory only.
Some positive cultural advancement that emerged from our various engagement with external forces include:
-Emergence of new languages
-Adoption of some cultures
-Rise of Barter Trade
-Exploration of some tribes across the continent through long distance trading
-Intermarriages which yielded peace
A video depicting a custom carried out when a male who is the head of the family passes on.
Cultural development is still possible if we embark in the next phase. Which phase is this? The restoration of culture and its establishments. It is already happening in Europe where the old Roman towns are being reanimated. We can reconstruct our history and reanimate our history through virtual reality and Artificial Intelligence. We will progress forward in our culture this way.