Cultural Innovation

I’ve been taking note of what has been a trending topic on young Pan-African twitter. I see a sudden huger into getting to know our own history and tapping into adapting back to our cultures, traditions and spiritual beliefs.

What I find interesting is that while the general atmosphere is that young Africans are hungry for our own indigenous knowledge, I realized that there is a certain undertone in our voices – an undertone of reluctance and uncertainty.

We are torn with whether once we learn of our past, and adopt it, if we should leave that of western education. We wonder what significance western culture holds towards us as young Africans as we trek the journey of finding our roots pre-colonialism. We can see that some are taking one extreme route of abolishing anyone or anything that represents western culture through forming terrorist groups, and we see others fully westernizing themselves in skin bleaching, excessive hair straightening and self hate.

With both facing extreme opposite roads, we stand at a crossroad and ponder on the best foot forward. We are here, where white people are also considered Africans because of generational occurrences. We are here where we have grasped and achieved our political freedom, participating in shaping the future of our continent without being punished of doing so because of the colour of our skin. We are at a point where we want to move towards unity, but don’t know which culture to use as our moral compass and cornerstone of a unified community.

This is where ‘innovation’ becomes a handy tool. Innovating the western culture to fit into our continental context is our best foot forward, with incorporating our own teachings from our elders and historic afrolutionist. Even the reverse formula can produce similar results, because in my opinion moving towards two polarizing fields when the globe is heading towards a joint networking society is counter-productive. If you move towards one route, you become isolated in your originality, yet if you move towards another your originality becomes obsolete and cannot grow as you have completely created a carbon copy of existing sets of ideologies and rules of a society that is fitting to them.

Besides, if we come from bastardizing our own culture then bastardize that of the west, are we not just a team of barstadizers?