African values will bring unity

2015-06-10 06:02
Benedict Leteane Social Observer

Benedict Leteane Social Observer

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AFRICAN RENAISSANCE is a remedy for Afrophobia. There is no doubt that African history has been dominated by colonial occupation.

Colonialism in Africa provided the framework for the organised subjugation of the continent’s political, cultural, scientific and economic life.

It is vividly unambiguous that within this period African indigenous knowledge was disregarded or precluded and impacted on people’s way of seeing and acting. As a result, African identity became an inverted mirror of Western Eurocentricity.

This gave rise to attempts to reassert a distinctively African identity intellectually, and ways of relating to the world. It is within this initiative Africa expresses a call for an African Renaissance.

Albeit the call for an African Renaissance can be traced three to four decades ago, it is problematic to ascertain the feasibility of an anti-European and American influence in Africa. The process of decolonisation gave Africa an opportunity to have the right to delineate itself within its own African context in the attainment of independence. However, Africa continues to experience hegemony of the West and America through what is now known to us as globalisation.

It is with that in mind that the practicality of the phenomenon African Renaissance in response to address transformation in Africa is a topic of discussion.

To frame this notion I shall adopt two idiosyncratically African values: communalism and ubuntu. These values are pervasive to the African socio-ethical sense in that they transcend the cultural, linguistic and ethnic diversity of Africans.

Communalism endorses an essence of sharing and looking after one another. It promotes collectivism and an effort directed at the goodness of the community. This collective effort, in turn, can be characterised by a spirit of ubuntu which is about human need, safety and dignity as a fundamental significance and concern. These values foster humane people endowed with moral norms and virtues such as benevolence, compassion, courtesy, generosity, kindness and respect.

For all intents and purposes, these African values are concerned with the well-being of a person and the community in which that person resides.

The recent prevalence of Afrophobia in the South African townships indicates how society is no longer practising African values. There is an absence of sharing and caring on the continent due to the desire for capital.

Insinuations such as “they are taking our jobs, our wives and houses” are a challenge facing Africans. The lack of resources or the realisation of such an insufficiency has contributed significantly to Afrophobia. Communalism and ubuntu as African values can contribute significantly to African Renaissance as they can change Africa back to its origin. Retaining these values will bring peace and unity within the continent, resulting in prosperity. What could be challenging is to locate African values within the global sphere.

) To comment or express your views about the issue highlighted in the column, go to www.express-news.co.za. Express Goldfields andamp; NFS welcomes anyone interested in contributing to the weekly column as public observers or citizen journalists. There is no payment for writers. Send your opinion piece in English or Sotho (not exceeding 500 words) to teboho.setena@volksblad.com

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