Hail the Negritude

This is probably the first time many people have heard this word: Negritude.

Negritude: “the affirmation or consciousness of the value of black or African culture, heritage, and identity”

I believe the concept of a conscious and awakened mind is one we should all strive for. However, even more strive worthy , is the concept of self love. But in this aspect, i want to present self love as a love of culture, a love of heritage, a love of history, a love of ethnicity, a love of language, a love of community, a love of identity because all these things evidently contribute and build up to self -“a person’s essential being that distinguishes them from others, especially considered as the object of introspection or reflexive action”

I think that today, in modern society, a lot of what is projected as good is what is western in ideal and thinking, and things rooted in African tradition is seen as vile and backward. For example,i’ll use Uganda as a case study as I am indeed Ugandan and have experience in this country. Students are taught, in the country’s local system which is called UNEB, the importance of sticking to English at school and not using any other language like the vernacular or a tribal language. I would not have a problem with this if it didn’t already teach young kids the importance of English and the non-importance of their mother tongue. & when these kids grow up, they want to go to universities outside the country, that cherish the very ability that they scorn upon- their knowledge of a second,third language that makes them competitive compared to monolingual students coming from America or England.  It is the paradox in learning, in that what you are taught to inhibit is what you will actually need to propel you to higher places in life.

However, on the other hand, I believe African culture is not always the protagonist savior in the societal,cultural setting. It’s the same culture that advocates for misogynistic behavior, where for example, women in sub-Saharan African nations like Uganda,Rwanda,Benin and many others go through the process of violation in being subjected to the elongation of the labia minora for the pleasure of a man during sex.  For more on this subject, go to this website that i read myself. From this point of view, i understand when Chimamanda says culture is for people and not people for culture. Culture should be progressive and the things that as time goes on, we learn are actually more harmful than beneficial to us, should be left behind and a new way of thinking adopted that caters for the needs and requirements of those in our community, whether they be physical, emotional or spiritual needs.

I believe that we cannot continue to kick against the pricks in this fast developing world. We will have to accept concepts that seem foreign to us, and not necessarily in the same line with what our culture tells us. However, there are some characteristics i think we should never abandon, like the sense of community,respect for one another and the power of family. Above all, as Africans, whilst encouraging the idea of self love, we must embrace the overreaching extent of the word self, advocating even of the concept of one’s own Negritude. 

 

Just my thoughts…

 

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