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Wednesday, October 06, 2010
Who is your uncle? Africa culture goes missing...
Had an interesting discussion the other day. The sister of this guy is having a child. Big news especially in England where odieros are increasingly choosing not to procreate. The guy was very happy that he was shortly to become an uncle and this is where the debate began. You see, I happened to say that I’m already an uncle and the question was then paused as to whose uncle I was i.e. which of my siblings has a child. I responded that all my cousins’ kids call me uncle. At which point, i was told that I’m not an uncle.
You see, according to Western definition, the only person that can be called an uncle is the brother of either your parents and at a stretch (if the sun shining . In Kenya (and I believe a significant portion of Africa) however, the definition for your uncle is extended to include your parents cousins. When I explained this cultural context, there was silence. the sort you get when you are into subjects where the majority are ignorant.
Africa culture is with very few exceptions, ignored the world over. On the other hand since 1884 and beyond, we continue to gobble up other cultures.
Culture is important because it creates cohesion. It gives one roots and identity. Because of these and other important features, colonising nations have either used culture as a colonising tool or a signal that they were in control. Part of reclaiming your nation is to instil your culture.