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Are we late comers?

Nations have cultural values, ethical standards and morals to protect at all cost. It is in this sense, some nations stick to certain religions in order to safeguard their values. Arab states have been very good at doing this. Western European Countries have also done exactly the same by sticking to their traditional identities. As Continental Europe was heavily under the influence of the Roman Catholic and Lutheran Churches, England initiated and pioneered the Anglican Church to safeguard what the King considered as value for them. Such value systems keep on eroding with time and the main cause is cultural globalization. The process of intermingling of people, cultural interactions, and rapid economic change of our time has made it very difficult for value systems to stick together for a long time. There is fluidity and flexibility in the manner people understand things today more than ever before.
This weblog is interested in one particular issue. Where is the place of Africa in the cultural globalization today? When it comes to religion, we have it from other cultures and there is no question about this. When it comes to legal systems, we borrowed all from the former colonists and there is no any big question about this. When it comes to economic trends, of course, we have been subjected to criteria and conditions laid for us by the international community and the superpowers. When it comes to value system now we are at the mercy of globalization and ideas that float through the media, internet and other means of communication. We are now claiming to be post modern generation whose value system can be anything that is intelligently imposed on us. US has been known for its campaign on human rights but also selling to other nations ideas of feminist theory.
Africans have been known for certain strong values and standards that, I am afraid, may fall apart very soon. In several African cultural traditions, the value of womanhood was always safeguarded. A woman is the mother of nation and caretaker of procreation and not the man. In several customs, the house actually belongs to the woman not the man. It si the woman who cares for children and their up-bringing. The man has a role in politics, economy and other things including security which he has to do very well to keep the harmony. There is nothing wrong in such African traditional system, as so long as it was practiced by such societies that uphold them. Some of such customs and practices became norms, therefore, customary norms binding on individuals. In rare cases there were divorce cases nor situation in which women hate men or viceversa. The collapse of African customary law regime has openned way to legal globalization process. Now it is human rights and that is all. It is affirmative action and promotion of women to lead the society. All these new systems are very good for Africans as so long as they can accommodate the African values.
The only worrying trend is that Africans still feel that culturally they are colonized. And they are right. One Ngugi Wa Thiong’o, a Kenyan known writer and scholar, wrote a book known as – Decolonizing the Mind…Cultural Freedom, a book that I purchased immediately and read between the lines. The late Kenyan scholar, Prof. Ali Mazrui, wrote wonderful books and articles on the issue of languages, culture and transformation. But still, most of the Nigerian scholars such as the late Chunua Achebe and the Nobel Prize winner, Wole Soyinka have been known for their gist to revive African intellectual independence.
I support the idea that Africans must free their minds. It is in this sense that wrong and misplaced conducts shall not be entertained anymore. Behaviour that may go contrary to the values of the people shall not be allowed to become part of our laws. But in order to do this, well, then Africans must spell out their values. African jurisprudence must be taught at law schools and colleges. African customary law must find its in-road within our national laws. Such strong and powerful normative principles as ubuntu must as well be emphasized at the academic level and also at the practice of law. It is in this approach that Africans will defend their cultural rights and emerge as a people with something to teach the world. USA has a choice while China also has her own choice when it comes to values and standards. Kenya must also have her own choice. As a people we have always reacted late and failed to defend our dignity and prestige as a people. When it comes to cultural development we have done too little and too late. We never listened to our scholars and writers. Instead, we forced them into exile and we continue to do so even today.
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About Peter Onyango

Dr. Peter Onyango O. is one of our main contributors. He is a senior law lecturer, a writer, a consultant, peace ambassador, and a researcher. He assists so many professionals, legal minds, and debaters with his skills and scholarly wealth! He supports children and village community as a way of giving back to community. He edits, proof reads, and publishes various articles for our page!

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