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African Faces, European Minds by igbo2011(m): 5:08am On Jul 28, 2014
March 17, 2014 — When one looks and listens to business, political and cultural leaders, we are most likely to see and hear speeches of African people that not only reinforce white supremacy but are rooted in European thinking. Our present orientation is not necessarily rooted in African thought, culture and heritage.

This was prophesied by a young Black Consciousness visionary, Steve Bantu Biko when he said: “What is likely to happen is that Black people will continue to be poor [in creative spirit – my addition] and you will see a few Blacks filtering through the so-called bourgeoisie. Our society will be run almost as of yesterday [European way – my understanding]. So for meaningful change to appear there needs to be an attempt at re-organising the whole economic [social and cultural – my addition] pattern and economic [social and cultural] policies ….” As a result, it is time for us to restore, reclaim and celebrate our heritage.

Little Afrocentrism
Many of the leaders who have risen to prominence and influence in business and political organizations, respectively, see the world through Western capitalism or Eastern European communism.

Clearly, those who consider themselves indigenous Africans and wish to embrace thinking patterns that emanate from the continent must face the tragic reality that there is very little that is Afrocentric in the dominant cultural and intellectual capital.
Thus it is becoming clear that the pursuit or popularization of an African Renaissance or theorizing about what it means is increasingly becoming a difficult task.
This was unavoidable as many thought leaders were not only educated in Western universities but those who lay claim to leadership of the liberation movement are products of Eastern European thought and analysis. Therefore, it is hard to identify intellectuals and leaders whose sophisticated critical analysis is rooted in Afrocentric thought and reflection.

Decolonizing the mind
In fact, this void makes it very easy for Africans, especially young people, to think that they are not capable of original thought. The founding father of capitalism was Adam Smith and the original thinker of communism was Karl Marx. Neither of them was African yet Africans have become chief proponents of their thinking.

An African country is nothing but sentimental clap-trap
Even those who truly want to espouse what Kenyan writer Ngugi wa Thiongo defined as ‘decolonizing the mind’ often find it difficult to come up with alternative ways of thinking or living that are rooted in Afrocentricism. This is a painful reality as it suggests that Africans have nothing to bring to the table of globalization beyond assimilating to allegedly foreign thinking patterns. There are very few traces of the much vaunted African thought or Renaissance in what has been unfolding in the new society of the last two decades.

Without anything that Africans bring to influence global developments or shape thinking and behaviour of this society, it simply means that calling this [South Africa] an African country is nothing but sentimental clap-trap. Indeed, a fundamental challenge is for those who insist that this is an African country to provide substantive evidence of what has been done to undermine or break the hegemonic domination of European thought.

It is easy to mislead people to think and believe that ideas transcend racial or national boundaries but it will always be important to stir and react to that which the soul is intuitively connected to. Perhaps it is time to provide evidence of that which is essentially Africans in our national life. Without evidence of this not only does it become difficult for the young to reclaim and assert African identity but a challenge to promote African pride.

Can we have a leading role?
We have to admit that for children born after 1994, there are very few African models in terms of fashion, education, thinking and general lifestyle. Yet the New South Africa of the last 20 years is called upon and expected to play a leading role in redefining the role of the continent in international politics and thus championing the African cause.

Redefine global human relations in a way that can easily pass for what is African
For young ‘born frees’ who may be hungry for African history, art, culture and heritage, what they witness and experience is largely a reflection or imitation of what originated in Europe. What this means is that they are challenged to identify and embrace what can be considered their indigenous African culture and heritage.

The celebration of the 20th anniversary of democracy and freedom should not only be an opportunity to take stock of where we come from but to rethink where we want to go in terms of self-determination. History and the future demand that we critically re-evaluate everything to look for the new not only to revive African thought, history and heritage but to redefine global human relations in a way that can easily pass for what is African.

Cradle of Humankind
There is a direct and abiding connection between the Cradle of Humankind and identifying the contribution of the African continent to human civilization and global development. Long before the arrival of the Europeans in 1652, there was in the 1200s Mapungubwe and Thulamela, for instance – a thriving African civilization that attracted people from all over the world. There is an urgent need to nurture and promote scholars, academics and intellectuals to unleash our potential not only to critically engage European hegemony but to re-imagine and re-invent this new society in a way that can make it define itself as indigenous African.

The Golden Rhino was discovered in a royal grave on Mapungubwe hill in 1933, along with gold jewellery and other treasures. Since its discovery, the rhino has been kept at the University of Pretoria.
The Golden Rhino was discovered in a royal grave on Mapungubwe hill in 1933, along with gold jewellery and other treasures. Since its discovery, the rhino has been kept at the University of Pretoria.
We need evidence that will convince the born-frees that their predecessors and parents – who are business, political, intellectual and cultural pioneers and trendsetters – have begun with the process to reconstruct this society in a manner that upholds and affirms African creative thinking in business, politics, arts, culture and heritage.

Pan-Africanist orientation
From the ascendance of Nelson Mandela as the first president of a democratic society, there has always been recognition that a pan-Africanist orientation is central to human progress and global developments, especially after the holocaust of European imperialism. There was no man who fervently espoused this better than, ironically, the Western-educated former president Thabo Mbeki.

Unfortunately, the emphasis and positioning of these iconic leaders has always been on their European orientation, identity and appeal. The way that Mandela was positioned leaned more towards European influences and tendencies than to his African cultural background and rootedness. Not only did he espouse principles and ideals that came from a world renowned constitution but it was measured against the Western thought and democratic achievements.

Nelson Mandela in Robben Island prison
Nelson Mandela in Robben Island prison
Also, when he had a choice to lead a chieftaincy, he politely declined. Thus he was reconstructed as an African revolutionary who embraced European values and ideals. This is what made it easier to see him as a global icon than an African nationalist and revolutionary.

Still mental slavery
Not only has the European thought and culture dominantly taken over African way of life but it would seem natives have allowed themselves to be recreated in the image of the white man and his civilisation. In fact, the born frees mostly see and experience themselves as either global citizens or remade Europeans.

It is one thing for a people to hanker after a dead past but it is another when they have resigned themselves to outside cultural dominance where they are completely emptied of any sense of their history, culture and heritage. As we approach the 20th anniversary of democracy, born frees must be made aware so that they make their own choices, where possible.

That the field of history, culture and heritage remains a place of struggle is most evident when we critically examine how contemporary African business, political, intellectual and cultural leaders represent themselves in public.

What reminds us of this is the abuse and marginalization of indigenous languages, for instance, that are carriers of African values, history and heritage. There are far too many born free little girls and boys who have severely been cut off from their background, history and heritage simply because their parents are obsessed with European languages, culture and way of doing things.

image of backward and primitive
The desire remains to encourage the little ones to speak European languages like English and French fluently at the expense of reconnecting them with their elders through the ability to speak and understand indigenous languages. Instead, these are seen as backward, primitive and holding back African progress and development. Thus born free not only are fundamentally convinced that Eurocentric languages are more dominant and powerful than indigenous tongues but more worthy with value to making things happen in the new society.

Despite efforts to make South Africa the leading African nation and champion of renaissance in the continent, there are perceptions that it has largely internalized European values and principles, a way of looking at itself, the continent and the world and defining the Western way as the best yardstick for progress. Of course, this is not a new development. It is something that started with the country’s encounter with modernity.w430.68de7-12

Perhaps we should recognize the depths of the founder of Pan-Africanism, W. E. B. Du Bois defined as “double consciousness” but the resultant inner conflict as contemporary Africans battle to gain define themselves and their agenda in the global order. There remains uncertainties about what it is that Africans bring to the table.

Demand or expect a crystal clear agenda towards economic, political and cultural self-determination
The indigenous people, especially the born frees, are right to demand or expect a crystal clear agenda towards economic, political and cultural self-determination. They are the heirs of what Steve Biko rightly called “a human face” that reflects African history and heritage. Alas that – in terms of language, music, fashion, movies, etc – they lean towards what draws them deeper and deeper into what is commonly called globalization, that is, a world order where the Anglo-American world maintains its identity, history and heritage while Africa is expected to fit in at the expense of its own glorious past.

Anyone who tries to intervene and engage African leaders across the spectrum about the need to directly address the issues fundamental to identity, arts, culture and heritage will be confronted by a sense of grave reluctance, denial even. Few see the economic, political and cultural status quo as a problem.

However, if not resolved, this will leave born frees haunted by “double consciousness,” repressed identity crisis and spiritually torn apart. This gap in the psyche that does not need cheap escapism but well thought out and clear definitions and solutions.

Africa’s time has come and South Africa should is expected to set the agenda. It is time for us to go back to our roots: restore, reclaim and celebrate our heritage!


http://thisisafrica.me/african-faces-european-minds/

What do you think about this article?

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Re: African Faces, European Minds by KingAdeOluomo1(m): 5:25am On Jul 28, 2014
long

1 Like

Re: African Faces, European Minds by mstik(f): 7:47am On Jul 28, 2014
so long a post...
so basically you're saying Africans are licking the behinds of the white mass'rs?
Re: African Faces, European Minds by AjanleKoko: 1:43pm On Jul 28, 2014
Afrocentricism is neither here nor there. What exactly would you call Afrocentricism? There are 250 unique ethnic groups in Nigeria, many of which have beliefs and tenets in direct conflict with others, most especially their direct neighbours. Like Ijebus/Egbas, Ilajes/Ijaws, Tivs/Hausa. Which one would now be adopted by all?

Also, I don't think the assertion is true about Africans thinking European. At least not in Nigeria, or South Africa. Our real problem is our naivete, or lack of focus/direction. These issues can only be addressed by having a focused and capable leadership elite, not the current clueless and inept leadership we have across Africa.

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Re: African Faces, European Minds by Kanwulia: 1:48pm On Jul 28, 2014
Nothing really.
I am one of them 'AFRICAN AZZES' WITH EUROPEAN MINDS. . .and loving it!
It would be a tragedy to have A EUROPEAN AZZE and an AFRICAN MIND!
Tufiakwa to backwardness! kiss
Re: African Faces, European Minds by igbo2011(m): 5:40pm On Jul 28, 2014
Kanwulia: Nothing really.
I am one of them 'AFRICAN AZZES' WITH EUROPEAN MINDS. . .and loving it!
It would be a tragedy to have A EUROPEAN AZZE and an AFRICAN MIND!
Tufiakwa to backwardness! kiss

Define progress and backwards. You know in america 50 percent of jail popukation is black and 24 percent of people in america arr black.

In america there is alot of pollution and environmental decay. There is also racism. Is that progress.

In different african societies they would work tigether tgere was no poverty and little crime. We also had science technology engineering philosophy and math too.

What us your definitionof pprogress
Re: African Faces, European Minds by Kanwulia: 5:47pm On Jul 28, 2014
igbo2011:

Define progress and backwards. You know in america 50 percent of jail popukation is black and 24 percent of people in america arr black.

In america there is alot of pollution and environmental decay. There is also racism. Is that progress.

In different african societies they would work tigether tgere was no poverty and little crime. We also had science technology engineering philosophy and math too.

What us your definition of progress

Hiaaaaaaaaaaaaahn!!!
See people wey nor get 'drainage' system all over Africa dey complain pollution and environmental decay in the country of others.
When you can afford to give your country 'a public' drainage system, a network of reliable communication and cure the epileptic power sector for starters. . . .

Gimme a holla! kiss
Re: African Faces, European Minds by esere826: 7:05pm On Jul 28, 2014
@OP

interesting article
however my critique is that it seeks to tackle too many issues within a small space
consequently the minuscule message that scales through albeit scattered
is the demise or non-ascendancy of sub-saharan values/ideologies
Re: African Faces, European Minds by esere826: 7:28pm On Jul 28, 2014
@Op

lets break the article into its constituent bits and then analyse (without losing sight of the thrust of the article)

Capitalism, communism and "africanism"

There has always been capitalism an communism 'ideology' in all parts of the world including africa even before Smith and Marx
what those fellas simply did was write about it and attach some reasoning to their write up
leaders then went ahead to adopt the reasoning and created dominant national policies based on them and sought to protect or push their economic reasoning

So today, you can call the US a capitalist economy, and NKorea a communist society
We (Nigeria) have not really adopted any of these.

Our economic principle is simply but not yet documented:
Harness as much resources from your environment and that of your neighbour to feed yourself, your family and your Chi

I think this ^^^^ is quite an original reasoning even if you argue that it is defeatist or retrogressive
Re: African Faces, European Minds by esere826: 7:36pm On Jul 28, 2014
@OP

Yes, this unique economic ideology is not properly documented
however we are exporting it to other West African countries like Ghana

our unique global xtian evangelism and nollywood is also spreading same ideology globally
just the way the West introduced their ideology to us through xtianity
and the Arabs gave us theirs through trans saharan Islam
Re: African Faces, European Minds by birdman(m): 3:03am On Jul 29, 2014

Perhaps we should recognize the depths of the founder of Pan-Africanism, W. E. B. Du Bois defined as “double consciousness” but the resultant inner conflict as contemporary Africans battle to gain define themselves and their agenda in the global order. There remains uncertainties about what it is that Africans bring to the table.

@AK, you will find that in Nigeria at least, we already have a generation or two that has this double consciousness. Wether it is on Nairaland or blogs or twitter, you will find Nigerians (some with reputable awards) arguing points of view that are completely alien to their culture. When you ask them to explain their thought process, they invariably regurgitate life stories and examples from other cultures that they have never been to or experienced. In other words, through TV and mostly the internet, we have Nigerians that have been seduced into living the lives, values and expectations of other peoples. I think part of the reason for this double mindedness is that the same media subtly implies the unworthiness of local African thought, and a significant portion of our educated youth (me included) has absorbed this message.
Re: African Faces, European Minds by AjanleKoko: 12:27pm On Aug 05, 2014
birdman:

@AK, you will find that in Nigeria at least, we already have a generation or two that has this double consciousness. Wether it is on Nairaland or blogs or twitter, you will find Nigerians (some with reputable awards) arguing points of view that are completely alien to their culture. When you ask them to explain their thought process, they invariably regurgitate life stories and examples from other cultures that they have never been to or experienced. In other words, through TV and mostly the internet, we have Nigerians that have been seduced into living the lives, values and expectations of other peoples. I think part of the reason for this double mindedness is that the same media subtly implies the unworthiness of local African thought, and a significant portion of our educated youth (me included) has absorbed this message.

The question then is: what are the lives, values, and expectations of Nigerians?
We seem to be assuming that this culture thing is a unique challenge that only applies to black people or Nigerians. Second-generation Chinese and Indian people living in the West also have this challenge. Even I who was born, grew up, and live in Nigeria, am caught in both minds. In my mind, I definitely identify with my Yoruba roots, and am comfortable with my identity as an African, but my values are not necessarily shaped by Yoruba or African stereotypes. Does that now make me a 'bad African'?
Re: African Faces, European Minds by esere826: 6:35pm On Aug 05, 2014
birdman:

@AK, you will find that in Nigeria at least, we already have a generation or two that has this double consciousness. Wether it is on Nairaland or blogs or twitter, you will find Nigerians (some with reputable awards) arguing points of view that are completely alien to their culture. When you ask them to explain their thought process, they invariably regurgitate life stories and examples from other cultures that they have never been to or experienced. In other words, through TV and mostly the internet, we have Nigerians that have been seduced into living the lives, values and expectations of other peoples. I think part of the reason for this double mindedness is that the same media subtly implies the unworthiness of local African thought, and a significant portion of our educated youth (me included) has absorbed this message.

Shared communication gradually leads to people developing a shared culture
This is one strength that fortified Northern Nigeria for a long time.

The mainstream media is presently pushing a mainly western communication paradigm
As long as we don't push out our own narrative, we end up being assimilated in theirs.
resistance is almost futile

So the only way to successfully engage while holding on to our own culture is to create new ones that incorporate both

For example:
1) afro pop -incorporates nigerian and western beats
2) A guy subtly permitted to have multiple girlfriends apart from his wife -incorporates monogamy and polygamy

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Re: African Faces, European Minds by birdman(m): 10:29am On Aug 06, 2014
AjanleKoko:

The question then is: what are the lives, values, and expectations of Nigerians?
We seem to be assuming that this culture thing is a unique challenge that only applies to black people or Nigerians. Second-generation Chinese and Indian people living in the West also have this challenge. Even I who was born, grew up, and live in Nigeria, am caught in both minds. In my mind, I definitely identify with my Yoruba roots, and am comfortable with my identity as an African, but my values are not necessarily shaped by Yoruba or African stereotypes. Does that now make me a 'bad African'?

Of course not. Culture is by definition always changing, and any culture that doesnt change dies. I consider being able to think outside cultural stereotypes a good thing, afterall the cultural practices of the Yoruba for example were started by somebody and morphed into what they are today. My point was that the evolution of thought process, values and culture has to be organic and done with common sense. A lot if the values I see younger folk imbibing do not pass this smell test. They (we) wholesale import ideas without considering wether they are beneficial to us or not.

@esere, I couldnt agree more, especially on the polygamy part. I have long suspected that my fellow Nigerians who are rabid womanizers may simply be a case of a polygamous gene in a monogamous world grin

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