Gerrymandering of the Minds' Psyche
"What became of the Black People of Sumer?" the traveller asked the old man. "For ancient records show that the people of Sumer were Black. What happened to them?" "Ah, the old man sighed. They lost their history, so they died." - A Sumer Legend
"I am talking of millions of men who have been skillfully injected with fear, inferiority complexes, trepidation, servility, despair, abasement." - By Aime Cesaire
I have been meaning to write on this subject on the History, Customs, Traditions, Culture, Languages, Rites and Practices of the African South Africans, for a long time. In my past Hubs, I have tried to cover ground on the lives of Africans in Africa and South Africa and what they have been going through for the past 300-plus years of oppression, subjugation, depression, repression and the intensely and extreme violation of their humanity, culture, customs, land and existence. This is a very serious point I am about to discuss: i.e., how, when and why this was done and is still being done; also, what was life, culture and customs of Africans in the South of Sahara and southern Africa like before and after the coming of the Europeans later-on deep and further into this Hub; and what this life is like today. In the process I will give a serious version of Modern African culture, and an even more deeper historical delineation and concrete historical cultural breakdown, i.e., the customs, culture and practices of the Nguni as narrated by themselves-and also using African-centered references to solidify and anchor the discussion I am about to lay out below.
The topic I am embarking on may not be popular or much known subject, [Maybe too long for the Internet], but I am going to try and unpack this historical phenomenon of a distorted and dysfunctional African society and picture[image] of African Culture and Customs that we read about today, and how the remnants of this African culture we see today affects Africans in their lives and existence in the past and at presently: that of being Oppressed, suppressed, depressed, repressed, enslaved, colonized and stripped off all their cultures, customs, tradition, languages, and have poverty and all types of diseases imposed on them; and, how their cultural practices and traditional rites have been relegated to the inferior status of being regarded as irrelevant, closer to child babble/barbaric and need not be paid any attention to, whatsoever: i.e., a culture best forgotten for it has never been of any use to the Africans themselves. As of the writing of this Hub, the level of subjugation, neglect, being ignored, having imposed ignorance hunger a constant, and a bleak future and dreadful intolerable existence, has gone into over-drive! Also, later in the Hub, we look as to how the remnants of the present African culture can be looked at anew and thus Africans be able draw inspiration from its present presence and manifestation; also, the past history[as taught by Apartheid] and cultural and customary and traditional historiography issues will be addressed in order to give a complete picture of the past and present-and scholars from the African centered perspectives will be used in order to add muscle to the skeleton of the history of Africans South Africans.
The History of South Africa will be linked to the Civilization of Mapungubwe to begin turning the tide against the lies that impregnate Historical books and journals written by those who are not Africans, or with African 'collaborators"- that Africans of South Africa did not inhabit nor own the land known as South Africa today. There is this lie and myth that has been perpetuated that Africans migrated to South Africa from the North of Africa, and came at more or less the same time as the Dutch landed in the Cape: nothing could be further from the truth than this blatant ahistorical misinformation and lie which I plan to deconstruct in this Hub. The voices of those Oppressed multitudes in South Africa has been silenced, treaded-upon, scorned, dismissed, ridiculed, mocked, derided attacked, labelled as inhospitable and backward hosts, foreigners, Dogs(Read the history of Van Riebeeck on this issue), called "Bantu", "Natives, "Kaffirs", "Plurals"; the locals were labelled as being lazy, inferior, stupid, slow, not-worthy-of-their -land-and-its-riches-as has been touted by the Apartheid rulers, and today can be observed and said by the new foreigners now living in South Africa and disrespecting the local Africans and hurling this type of abuse at them from every quarter - that in the end we find the local Africans living in squalor, poverty, sicknesses and diseases of all kinds, ignorance, confusion and tension, uncertainty; and, in recent times, within an empty and hollow democracy- and being denied their humanity, democracy, culture customs, traditions, practices and ceremonies and basic human services and comfort; this has led to today's Colonial Mental disorders that are now commonplace amongst the Africans of South Africa.
Meanwhile, their detractors have no full understanding and nor sufficient knowledge of all the issues at play in the lives of Africans in South Africa and in the southern regions of Africa below the Sahara. Africans have been as a people under Siege - Literally and Practically; daily and to date! Suffering all these social malaise and dysfunctional social realities, and adding insult to injury, the Local African people of South Africa are the least respected communities in South Africa(as noted above) in their land of birth, and this is also visited on them by their own elected ANC-led government: everyone[most foreigners and European and some Africans[from the countries north of South Africa, and Africans South Africans, in South Africa, DISRESPECT the indigenous native Africans of South Africa, and this has become the way of life under the so-called rainbow government, too. The Africans of South Africa who have moved up the social ladder, have some contempt for their poor brethren who are running confused and have no one to lead them or help them. If most of the tourists would begin to go into the townships, live with the people, and not see them through the lens of the past structures and strictures that were created for white dominance and pleasure, that is, meet these Africans in western-style cities, hotels and bars and shopping centers, does not make these people know who the Africans of South Africa are.
One can read the internet as much as possible, or visit South Africa for a month or year, but so long as that is the case, tourists living in five star hotels , and head to the townships through guided tours and take some pictures, this does not necessarily make them authorities on the Africans of South Africa-especially the posts they make on the Net(Facebook for one and other Social Networking sites, blogs and so forth). This onslaught is gathering momentum and the African people have already noted that this is one issue which the world will see heads rolling! I mean, at present there is this struggle for Africans of South Africa trying to make sense of all what is going, and the there'll be action once they figure out what is happening to them. There comes a time, when African people believe in the affairs of men and nations, and it becomes necessary for them to engage in bolekaja ( "Come down let's fight!" - a term applied in Western Nigeria to passenger lorries ("mammy wagon") from the outrageous behavior of their touts). I would like to to make it clear, (without apologies to anyone!), I am a bolekaja pundit, like those outraged 'touts for the passenger lorries, (South African Taxis!?), of African History, Culture and Customs, and that am administering a timely and healthy dose of much needed public ridicule to the reams of pompous nonsense which has been floating out of the stale, sterile, stifling caverns of academia and unequal and oppressive society such as the one in South Africa, which is smothering the sprouting vitality of democracy and freedom on Africa's Historical, political, economical and cultural landscape.
This the African people will have to do as a united people, i.e., to drag the stiflers of their lives down to earth for a corrective tussle. A little wrestle on the sands never killed a sturdy youth. I expect that this will help the sprouting democracy redirect and control their sprouting democracy and freedom into a modern and thriving society, culture and all its naturally acquired wares to their own benefit enhancement and upliftment. African people in this article will be drawn to the act that they need to cure themselves from 'colonial hangover' ( setlamatlama ). The showing and writing about African culture, customs, traditions, languages and crafts will help and enble Aricans to begin to see their selves not as "tribes", but as nations which are one and the same, and are made up of various and diverse, but the same culture, customs, traditions and practices and languages,which are not different customary and culltural practices as has been heretofore trumpeted by their detractors: This has been in such a way as to try to dismantle and debase the Nguni People's cultural mosaic. Let controversy rage; may it stimulate creative discussion...! " Ha eye Tau!(Let the Lion loose)
Mind Bending And Soul Wrenching Accessories
Education As Key
For the [past 500 plus-years], therefore, the world has been ruled/molded in the image and likeness of Europe. European history now becomes world history and the European experience now becomes the universal experience. One of the primary weapons Europeans have used to ossify, perpetuate, and maintain the myth and Big Lie of European supremacy, invincibility, and originality coterminous with the myth/Big Lie of African's inferiority and nothingness is education, albeit, miseducation. (Clarke) I intend to use this Hub as an educational reference for those who would like to investigate some of the issues that will be raised herein. This will done so that a counter could furnished against those academic and writers of all stripes trying to tell the world about Africans in South, without really contacting them, living in their places of domicile, nor knowing very much about the African communities and the Nation of Africans in South Africa as a whole.
Paulo Freire reminds us, "what these educators are calling dialogical is a process that hides the true nature of dialogue as a process of learning and knowing ...Understanding dialogue as a process of learning and knowing establishes a previous requirement that always involves an epistemological curiosity about the very elements of the dialogue." Freire reminds us that "the awakening of critical consciousness leads the way to the expression of social discontents precisely because these discontents are real components of an oppressive situation." But as noted in the paragraph above, these knowledgeable persons who talk about Africans, cull their information form Apartheid's ideological projection of Africans, and from their own assessments which do not jive with the reality of Africans in South Africa.
We need to remember that beginning from the times of bombs, guns, bulldozers and brutal tortures, that the Europeans brought along with them when first colonizing Africans, Africans faced daily displays of state violence, beat downs on their bodies, with Apartheid operating with impunity through overt and covert political, economical, social and religious violence - conventional and counter insurgency warfare, forced removals, assassinations, "disappearances", detention and torture - as well as through myriad forms of "structural violence." Under the weight of this oppression, and the gaze of psychological surveillance that had previously pathologized the African mind as an object of White consciousness was reversed, African people had to 'cope' an still coping and surviving the constant and age-old onslaught on their humanity and human rights and freedom of expression and to live as a sovereign nation. In the 1970s a counterpoint to the destructive power of sovereign violence was secured into place.
Euro-colonial education was designed to produce people who would participate in the process of colonial rule; people who would participate in the process of their own oppression and in the oppression of their own fellow colonized people (neocolonialism); moreover "colonized schooling was education for subordination, exploitation, the creation of mental confusion, and the development of underdevelopment," powerlessness and dependency. Africans are re-living this horror in manifold ways today under the ANC-elected government. It also reinforced the "notion of privilege" and the "notion of alienation" (divide and conquer). In other words, colonial and neocolonial education ossified the psychological dependency complex of the African colonized/oppressed to the extent that in the era of "flag independence," the African "wasn't preparing to be a sovereign nation" but instead was only "preparing" to imitate his slave master's ruling of a nation(Clarke). The condition of the people of African descent is testament to the statements made above.
Ipso facto , Africans not only:. .take for granted the validity, truth, and superiority of the culture of the (European) colonizer but )also) assume that the behaviors, culture, values, life-styles, moral preferences and definitions of morality of the colonized as invalid, wrong, false, or inferior... (Moreover, they) have been infected and conditioned to invalidate and reject their own culture, value and philosophical individuality.. [They] tend to evaluate their behaviors in terms of whether or not they are acceptable to (European) colonizer. (They accept) the colonizer as the standard.[and] crave to be like their colonizers.. Clarke wryly adds: "European scholarship has darkened "The True Light of African History" and as a result we are brain-dead, brain damaged, and culturally comatose. What African people need to do as we are now in the 21st century is to de-Europeanize, de-mystify, detoxify, and de-brainwash their subconscious mind of this invisible drug called Eurocentric miseducation. In this way we can relocate our subconscious mind-set to its original locus/reference point - Mother Africa." Prof. Clarke warns that: "..We have to realize that education has but one honorable purpose.. one alone.. everything else is a waste of time : that is to train the student to be a proper handler of power. Being Black and beautiful means nothing until ultimately your Black and powerful. The world is ruled by power, not Blackness and beauty.." I also add that power on behalf of an Imperial or deep pocketed Capitalist of Corporate potentates, is not power at all. So long as the education of African children and African society is not in their control, and is controlled by others, they will remain not only slaves and chained people, but also second hand poor copies of their masters. It would advisable to learn some thoughts and ideas about education from Jose Marti who writes:
1. Instruction is not the same as education: the former refers to thought, the latter principally to feelings. Nevertheless, there is no good education without instruction. Moral qualities rise i price when they are enhanced by qualities of intellect.
2. Popular education does not mean education of the poorer classes exclusively, but rather that all classes in the nation-tantamount to saying the people-be well educated. Just as there is no reason why the rich are educated and not the poor, what reason is there for the poor to be educated and not the rich? They are all the same.
3. He who knows more is worth more. To know is to possess. Coins are minted, knowledge is not. Bonds or paper money are worth more, or less, or nothing; knowledge always has the same value, and it is always high. a rich man needs money with which to live, but he can lose it and then he no longer has the means of living. An instructed man lives from his knowledge, and since he carries it with him, he never loses it and his existence is easy and secure.
4. The Happiest nation is the one whose sons have the best education, both in instruction of thought and the direction of feelings. An instructed people loves work and knows who to derive profit from it. A virtuous people will live a happier and richer life than another that is filled with vices, and will better defend itself from all attacks.
5. Every man when he arrives upon tis earth, has a right to be educated, and then in, in payment, the duty to contribute to the education of others.
6. An ignorant people can be deceived by superstition and become servile. An instructed people will always be strong and free. An ignorant man is on his way to becoming a beast, and a man instructed in knowledge and conscience is on his way to being a god. one must not hesitate to choose between a nation of gods and a nation of beasts. the best way to defend our rights is to know them well; in so doing one has faith and strength; every nation will be unhappy in proportion to how poorly educated ate its inhabitants. A nation of educated men will always be a nation of free men. Education is the only means of being saved from slavery. A nation enslaved to men of another nation is as repugnant as being enslaved to the men of one's own.
That is why the writing of this Hub is important in that it attempts to bring to the fore-front of Human World history, respect for and knowledge about African South Africans and their history, customs, tradition, languages, practices and rites more serious and respect that it deserves. The intention of this Hub is to earn that knowledge and respect of Africans and their being recognized as a Nation. Education, which is now in decrepit state, needs to be addressed promptly and thoroughly otherwise Africans will remain enslaved, as Jose Marti so expertly observed: "A nation enslaved to men of another nation is as repugnant as being enslaved to the men of one's own." It is also important to note how "Ubuntu" is displaced by "Alienation" which we will explore below
Ubuntu! Botho! The Act of Being a Human Being
"Paulo Freire connects the thoughts of Professor Clarke above by writing: "While the problem of humanization("Ubuntu"?) has always, from an axiological point of view, been human kind's central problem, it now takes on the character of an inescapable concern...Within history, in concrete, objective contexts, both humanization and dehumanization are possibilities for a person as an uncompleted being conscious of their incompletion. Dehumanization, which marks not only those whose humanity has been stolen, but also (though in a different way) those who have stolen it, is a distortion of the vocation of becoming more fully human. This distortion occurs within history; but it is not an historical vocation. Indeed, to admit of dehumanization as an historical vocation would lead either to cynicism or total dispair. The struggle for humanization, for emancipation of labor, for the overcoming of alienation, for the affirmation of men and women as persons would be meaningless. This struggle is possible only because dehumanization, although a concrete historical fact, is not a given destiny but the result of an unjust order that engenders violence in the oppressors,which in turn dehumanizes the oppressed." It is very important that Education should be revamped and looked anew-education of a nation should be controlled and be in the hands of those whose interests it serves, and in this case, it should be controlled by and serve the interests of African South Africans.
One of the thrusts of this Hub is to essentially talk about the dehumanization that Fromm is talking about above. As has been noted in the other Hubs written about the lives of Africans under Apartheid. In this instance, one constant feature is the denigration and dehumanization of Africans in South Africa for the past centuries, and the modus operandi towards nation building is for them to decolonize, deprogram, de-colonize themselves, as Clarke has pointed out above; it is absolutely clear that the majority have been denied decent education and respectable humanity, and with the advent of an incompetent ANC-led government, we have and are witnessing the disappearance of several generations engulfed by ignorance, poverty, mental diseases[of which these are on the rise as we speak] - carried from the past[as dictated by Apartheid], and present, of course the future, as it is now being set up by the ANC. The ANC-led government is failing in its tasks to help educate the Africans masses because of the encroaching state and centralized control which is aggressively being pushed by foreign monied interests and governments (You can read the book "Confessions of the Economic Hitman" on this subject of operatives, governments and corporations in other countries). The root of the problems now facing African South Africans in education was the appointment of the intellectually weak Sibusiso Bengu and the blustering Ideologue, Kader Asmal, They introcduced "Outcome-based" education, and as they did so, both had no clue how to begin to overcome the effects of Apartheid's eduactional legacy and its effects on Africans, and they have no idea what needs to be done for the present state of education amongst Africans today.
Jose Marti writes: "The general happiness of a nation rests upon the individual independence of its inhabitants. A free nation is the result of free settlers. Honorable and durable nations are not made out for men who cannot live for themselves but are attached to a leader who favors, uses, or abuses them. Whoever desires an enduring nation aids in establishing his country's affairs so that each man may work in active labor applicable to a personal and independent situation. Let every man learn to make something which other need.." What, then, we have here is a situation turned on its head. The present leaders in South Africa do not adhere to the maxims above, instead they have seriously embarked on to the road of corruption, greed, nepotism, cronyism, cabals, demagoguery, being imperial lackeys, fostering of community and social underdevelopment and impoverishment of their fellow being who form the bulk of the nation of South Africa: Africans! Erich Fromm describes this condition as follows: "Reason is man's faculty for grasping the world by thought, in contradiction to intelligence, which is man's ability to manipulate the world with the help of thought. Reason is man's instrument for arriving at the truth, intelligence is man's instrument for manipulating the world more successfully; the former is essentially human, the latter belongs to the animal part of man." This has been denied to Africans in South Africa since the coming of the Dutch seafarers/colonialists, and in the present day Democracy they have yet to be achieved and realized. That is why the Africans in South Africa today are saying that "We wanted Freedom and they gave us Democracy."
The masses in South Africa are attached to leaders who 'favors, uses,or abuses them.' Although we know for a fact that 'man will arrive at the truth, intelligence as their instrument for manipulating the world more successfully,' as in the case of the poor African majority eventually will, the very negative actions of their own elected government is constantly making them feel alienated, and social security a remote possiility, they will always feel oppressed and suppressed. Erich Fromm informs us that: "By alienation it is meant mode of experience in which the person experiences himself as an alien. He has become, one might say, estranged from himself. He does not experience himself as the center of his world, as the creator of his own acts - but his acts and their consequences have become his masters, whom he obeys, or whom he may even worship. The alienated person is out of touch with himself as he is out of touch with any other person. He, like the others, are experienced as things are experienced; with the senses and with common sense, but at the same time without being related to oneself and to the world outside positively." Africans are experiencing alienated life in contemporary South Africa as something that is not connected to them" The 'elite' who rule over the dominated African majority, makes one wonder if these educated 'persons are actually equipped to face the real ordeal before them or unconsciously contribute to their own undoing by perpetuating the regime of the oppressor. (Woodson) This attitude of being blocked at every turn can be traced by taking a critical and seriously in-depth look at African South African history and culture and its meaning in the African society. This means that Africans need to learn and teach, control and design for themselves their education and culture, as they understand and know it and disseminate it throughout their people and a nation-as they see fit.
Erich Fromm informs us as follows: "The basic entity of the social process is the individual, just as to understand the individual we must see him in the context of the culture that molds him [this we will look at in-depth below]. To understand the dynamics of the social process we must understand the dynamics of the psychological processes operating within the individual, just as to understand the individual, we must see him in the context of the culture which molds him. Modern man, freed from the bonds of pre-individualistic society, which simultaneously gave him security and limited him, has not gained freedom in the positive sense of the realization of his individual self; that is, the expression of his intellectual, emotional and sensuous potentialities. Freedom, though it has brought him independence and rationality, has made him isolated and, thereby, anxious and powerless. This isolation is unbearable and the alternatives he is confronted with are either to escape from the burden of his freedom into new dependencies and submission, or to advance to the full realization of positive freedom which based upon the uniqueness and individuality of man...After centuries of struggles, man succeeded in building an undreamed-of wealth of material goods; he built democratic societies in parts of the world, and recently was victorious in defending himself against new totalitarian schemes(Hitlers debacles); yet, modern man still is anxious and tempted to surrender his freedom to dictators of all kinds, or to lose it by transforming himself into a small cog in the machine, well fed, and well clothed, yet not free man but an automaton." This can be seen amongst the newly enriched Africans, albeit they be few in number compared to the whole African population.
Under the weight of this oppression, the gaze of psychosocial surveillance that previously had pathologized the African mind as an object of White consciousness was reversed. I have touched a bit on this mindset and set of social relations that were part of the reality of South Africa from 1652 up to De Klerk's rule, above. In the 1970s, and as the single most prominent disciplinary counterpoint to the destructive power of sovereign violence, Biko's Black Consciousness(BC) emerged to motivate an African Personality. Bantu instructs thus: "In my opinion, it is not necessary to talk about African culture. However, [in the light of the above statements], one realizes that there is so much confusion sown, not only amongst casual non-African readers, but even amongst Africans themselves, that perhaps a sincere attempt should be made at emphasizing the authentic cultural aspect of the African people by the Africans themselves. Since that unfortunate date - 1652 - we have been experiencing a process of acculturation. It is perhaps presumptuous to call it "acculturation" because this term implies a fusion of different cultures. In our case, this fusion has been extremely one-sided. The two major cultures that met and "fused" were the African culture and the Anglo-Boer Culture. Whereas the African culture was unsophisticated and simple, the Anglo-Boer culture had all the trappings of a colonialist culture and therefore was heavily equipped for conquest." It is better we know concretely what took place in South Africa and its colonization. As Biko says, the fusion of cultures was one-sided, and there never was 'acculturation' taking place in South Africa. It was and it is still a one way street- with Africans being disadvantaged by that 'fusion'.
Biko continues: "Where they could, they conquered by persuasion, using a highly, exclusive religion that denounced all other Gods and demanded a strict code of behavior with respect to clothing, eduction ritual and custom. Where it was impossible to convert, fire-arms were readily available and use to advantage. Hence, the Anglo-Boer culture was the more powerful culture in almost all facets. This is where the African began to lose a grip on himself. These oppressive and depressive laws and rules imposed on Africans have had some untold miseries and deadly effects over time. African people today need to know how and when were these policies imposed and forced on them and how and why they worked and are still working today. While acknowledging that not all oppressed persons were equally subject to the alienating effects of Apartheid, which are the same as Erich Fromm explained his take on "alienation", which is in par with Biko and BC's focus on how it[alienation] i nsinuated itself into subjectivity meant that all African people themselves constituted the pathology, and therefore that their cure demanded rehabilitation of the entire social body . Manganyi characterized the ordinary African as a "psychological paraplegic" as he wrote: "...in the African experience there was over time developed a sociological schema of Black body prescribed by White Standards. The prescribed attributes of this sociological schema has, as we should know by now, been entirely negative. It should be considered natural under these circumstances for an individual Black person to conceive of his body image as something, something which paradoxically must be kept at a distance outside of one's self so to speak. " In this instance, the disrespect of Africans was set in motion and has lasted the last more or less 360+ years. As I have noted above, this opened the flood gates of disrespect for Africans in South Africa that is still going on to this day, inside South Africa, under ANC rule It is important to keep in mind that what is needed now for Africans in South Africa is a whole social and psychiatric help for the needy and poor Africans now undergoing a seriously deadly siege of their humanity and existence as a people. Biko and Fromm inform us as to how this "alienation" was foisted onto the people, the outcome of that insidious action and , as have been pointed out in this hub, is adversely affecting Africans in South Africa as a Colonialism which is presenting itself, amongst the African collective, as post-Colonial Mental disorders. It is therefore important we cull from the existing but decimated culture and raise it up in order to learn from it.
Modern South African African Culture:
Thumb-Nail Sketch of The Nguni/Bakone's Culture/Custom, tradition and Practices
There is there rampant belief that Africans in South Africa have no culture, no understanding of it and are essentially, culturally speaking, Europeans in Black skins who happen to be the indigenous or natives of South Africa. The term "Native" is used here to denote the original inhabitants of the part of Africa now called South Africa. There was and there still is the culture of Africans in South Africa.
Biko writes as follows on this issue: "One of the most difficult things to do these days is to talk with authority on anything to do with African[South African] culture. Somehow, Africans are not expected to have any deep understanding of their own culture or even of themselves . Other people have become authorities on all aspects of African life or to be more accurately BANTU life[as has already be stated above]. Thus we have the thickest of volumes on some of the strangest subjects - even "the feeding habits of the Urban Africans"., a publication by a fairly "liberal" group, Institute of Race Relations. As an inward-looking process, expanded the meaning of violence to include sociological and ideological factors which they identified as destroying the authenticity of African people and undermining African's pride and diginity. He, Biko, then made this appeal: '... to come to himself; to pump back life into his emty shell; to infuse himself with pride and dignity; to remind him of his complicity in the cirme of allowing himself to be misused and therefore letting evil reign supreme in the country of his birth." If this is what Biko was saying about Africans under Apartehid, this has worsened now under the ANC-led government: they have made their African people who voted them into power, into "psychological Paraplegics". In fact, the present-day African South Africans are getting the worst end of the national deal. Most people complain about the rate of mental diseases that are now a common theme. Disrespect has now become the norm, and the mantra of "dog-eats-dog" has become embedded into the cultural consciousness of the Africans in South Africa and in their national existence and conversations to the detriment of their authentic culture, customs, traditions, history, rites and practices.
One thing that should be noted here earlier on is the fact that "Inhlonipho"(in Zulu) or "Hlompho" in Sotho (Respect) is no more heeded nor the norm today, yet it is the basis of the concept of "Ubuntu". Not only is one recognized as a human being and acknowledged as one, but that any human is to be treated with utmost 'Respect' as a human being and part of the human family. This is part of the customary practices of of the African culture of South Africa; the Anglo-Boer coalition made sure that they dismantled that part of the customary practices of African culture. Bantu states: "Thus, in taking a look at cultural aspects of the African people, one inevitably find himself having to compare. This is primarily because(talking about respect and culture), of the contempt that the "superior culture" shows towards the indigenous culture. To justify its exploitative basis the Anglo-Boer culture has at all times been directed at bestowing an inferior status to all cultural aspects of the indigenous people. I am against the belief that African culture is time-bound, the notion that with the conquest of the African, all his culture was obliterated. I am also against the belief that when one talks of African culture one is necessarily talking of the pre-Van Riebeeck culture. Obviously the African culture has had to sustain severe blows and may have been battered nearly out of shape by the belligerent culture it collided with." Yet in essence, even today, one can easily find the fundamental aspects of the pure African culture, which Bantu points out that the culture was never "'time bound' nor stagnant," as will be discussed in brevity below.
Religion: Biko decries the fact that Westerners had an aggressive mentality...He dismisses and draws a sharp line between the natural and supernatural and non-rational as superstition... "Africans being a pre-scientific people do not recognize any conceptual cleavage between the natural and supernatural. They experience a situation rather than face a problem. By this I mean they allow both the rational and non-rational elements to make an impact upon them, and any action they may take could be described more as a response of the total personality to the situation than the result of some mental exercise. We as a community are prepared to accept that nature will have its enigmas which are beyond our powers to solve. Many people have interpreted this attitude as lack of initiative and drive; yet, in spite of my belief in the strong need for scientific experimentation, I cannot help feeling that more time also should be spent in teaching man and man to live together, and that perhaps, the African personality with its attitude of laying less stress on power and more stress on man is well on the way to solving our confrontation problems."
Biko continues to add: "All people are agreed that Africans are a deeply religious race. In the various forms of worship that one found throughout the Southern part of our Continent there was at least a common basis. We all accepted without any doubt the existence of a God. We had our own community of saints. We believed - and this was consistent with our views of life - that all people who died add a special place next to God. We felt that a communication with God, could only be through these people (Amadlozi/Badimo - my addition). We never knew anything about 'Hell' -we do not believe that God could create people only to punish them eternally after a short period on earth. Another aspect of religious practices was the occasion of worship. We did not believe that religion could be featured as a separate part of our existence...We thanked God through our ancestors before we drank beer, married, worked, etc. We would find it artificial to create special occasions for worship., that is why we did not see it logical to have a particular building in which all worship would be conducted. We believed that God was in communication with us and therefore merited attention everywhere and anywhere."
We learn from Biko that the missionaries were the ones who confused the African people with their brand of religion..Biko writes: "By some strange logic, they argued that theirs was a scientific religion and ours was mere superstition in spite of the biological discrepancies so obvious in the basis of their religion. They further went on to preach a theology of the existence of "Hell", scaring our fathers and mothers with stories about burning in eternal flames and gnashing of teeth and grinding of bone. This cold religion was strange to us but our fore-fathers were sufficiently scared of the unknown impending anger to believe that it was worth a try. Down went our central values!"
Biko takes some time to make a point as to the nature and characteristic of Modern African Culture, as it functions as a culture within the realm of European culture, and as it holds its own 'concepts' of itself as an authentic culture. Although some European scholars and scholarship pontificate about about the fact that African culture is dead and non-existent, Bantu has this to say about all these issues: "Yet it is difficult to kill the African heritage and culture. There remains, in spite of the superficial cultural similarities between the 'detribalized' and the Westerner, a number of cultural characteristics that mark out the detribalized as an African. I am not here making a case for separation on the basis of cultural differences. I am sufficiently proud to believe that under a normal situation, Africans can comfortably stay with people of other cultures and be able to contribute to the joint cultures of these communities they have joined. However, what I want to illustrate here is that even in a pluralistic society like ours, there are still some cultural traits that we can boast of which have been able to withstand the process of the deliberate bastardization. These are aspects of the Modern African Culture - a culture that has also used concepts from the White world to expand on inherent cultural characters."
Biko expands on these 'inherent cultural characters' in the following manner: "Thus we see that in the area of music, the African still expresses himself with conviction. The craze about jazz arises out of a conversion by the African Artists on mere notes to meaningful music, expressive of real feelings. The [monkey Jive, soul, Mbaqanga.Scathamiya, Mohobelo, etc], some are suing a fusion of either purely African music, are some aspects of a modern type African culture that expresses the same original feelings. Solos like Booker T and the MGs, soul stars of the '60s and 70s, a little Elvis Presley Pat Boone, Otis Redding, Brook Benton, James Brown, etc., all of them find expression within the African culture because it is not in us to listen passively to pure musical notes. Yet when soul struck with its all-engulfing rhythm, it immediately caught on and set hundreds of millions of black bodies in gyration throughout the world," ( the same goes for Kwaito and Rap Music, today in South Africa - my insertion). These were people reading in soul the real meaning - the defiant "Say It Loud! I'm Black and I'm proud!" this was fast becoming our modern culture. A culture of defiance, self-assertion and group pride and solidarity. This is a culture that emanates from a situation of common experience of oppression. Just as it now finds expression in our music and our dress(see photo gallery), it will spread to other aspects This is the new and modern Black culture, to which Africans have given a major contribution; this is the modern Black culture that is responsible for the restoration of their faith in themselves and therefore offers a hope in the direction Africans in South Africa are taking from here.
The concept of a of modern African South African culture is at the heart of this Hub. What I am saying here is that it has been too long , as has been tabulated above, that Africans have been told that they are non-persons. But, as far as this Hub is concerned that is not true, and was never the right perception and the reality of the culture of Africans as has been pointed out, that African culture does not exist and died a long time ago. No, it is not dead and has never died. If one were to look at the Photo Gallery pictures, those that show the 10(ten) peoples or different groups that make the Nguni/Bakone Nation in South Africa, this Hub introduces the reality and fact that, if one were to look at the dresses, dances, Languages, initiation pageants, cultural festive performances, arts and crafts, houses and housing decorations, beads, different colors and the unity displayed throughout all of the material culture of Africans, events and performances, care and comfort, also entertainment of the tourists, visitors and the like are all greeted and welcomed to South Arica in the spirit of "Ubuntu" of the African people, can be seen as one united nations of Mzantsi: One or "Simunye"/"Re ngatana" (We are one People, community and society; everyone who reads through this hub will be enlightened and will be enabled to get a birds-eyeview of one nation of African people of South Africa - the Nguni/Bakone People-the 9(Nine) peoples.
South African Traditional Culture And Custom: Simunye: Re Ngatana - We are One
This Hub asserts that African South Africans have been under various forms of enslavement throughout their existence in South Africa. What I have attempted in the photo gallery is to present a small picture of the various clans or nations of South Africa, namely, the Zulus, Basotho, BaPedis, The Xhosas, The Batswana, Vendas or Tsongas, Shagaans, Swazis and Ndebele's Khoi-San, dressed in the regal gabardine of their clans, and if one looks at them closely, one cannot fail to see and recognize one people as it concerns and relates to the way they wear and design their clothes; their dances, the type of drums they use; the music and singing[their musical styles can be heard on live365.com/stations/djtot12/]; their making of beads, arts and crafts, as pastoralists and settled communities, the architecture of their houses is similar,and so are their languages, customs, culture, traditions and practices. The photos are many, but the lesson is presented in such a way as to show the culture of the Africans of South Africa in its fulness[length, breadth and depth], beauty and dignity. If one were to casually read the short captions written by people who really do not know them on the Internet, one gets a disjointed picture of "TRiBES". Indeed, where European and American scholars had argued that there were many different and disconnected cultures in South Africa. Diop talks about the varieties of African experiences that they "gravitate around a single matrilineal center like some massive magnet pulling the pieces together into one coherent whole." His argument unfolds on the basis of linguistic, philosophical, and cultural evidence. Whereas, his cohort, Theophile Obenga and other African scholars have already used a "macro" approach to African history, and that the assertions and arguments and ideas are political or not have been considered political minimized the impressive scientific work accomplished by both scholars. But the debate over the nature of the scientific evidence is often reduced to an argument over the political nature of science itself. Of course, Diop and Obenga would object, as other scholars have done, to the "micro" studies that tend to view African societies or civilizations as dis-embodied,disconnected, isolated, discreet, and detached entities with no organic relationship to any other societies or civilizations. T he two gentlemen above encourage most African scholars to examine phenomena with all of the instruments at their disposal. This might mean linguistic, anthropological, historical, ceremonial, oral tradition or mythic evidences and so forth Diop debunks the established perspective that Africans are tribe because their being to referred as "tribes", meant that they stopped developing, and that these cultures are different and not related to one another in any way whatsoever. So that, from the get go, this hub rejects the usage of the world "Tribe" as it is applied to describe the national entities that form the Nguni/Bakone people. I will only use the term, "tribe" whenever I am citing from someone who uses it, but will put it in quotations marks. Otherwise, I will interchange the names between clan , but preferably nations will be used more consistently..
The Crisis of Tradition and Identity
In the latter half of the Twentieth century, most African societies were struggling to resolve conflicts between the forces of tradition and change(foisted upon them by Colonization). In contrast to Westerners who found their societies mercilessly ravaged by the Industrial Revolution a few generations earlier, contemporary Africans are now more self-aware and conscious of the revolution restructuring their lives. Defining ways of life that will unite the technologies and material advantages of the present age with the precious heritage of African cultures is an urgent problem, perhaps the most urgent of all is in contemporary Africa. Both rapidly growing metropolitan centers and rural African villages teemed with anticipation and excitement about the future. But there was also a desire to preserve esteemed traditions. Most Africans were witnessing in their own lifetime a revolution of society and culture whose proportions were potentially Copernican; and the specter of such radical change produced its own antithesis, an intense struggle for [historical/cultutral] continuity in the midst of change. T his dialectical tension between [historical/cultural] continuity and transformation, this concern for assimilating the best of an emerging world culture without without in turn being assimilated by it - in short, this juxtaposition of how deeply felt but partially compatible desires - was the dynamic of social change in contemporary Africa. This will help us clarify as to why this Hub is so long, and why the information applied herein is important as it stands, because the time and nature of the imposed assimilation on Africans has been going on in South Africa close to four centuries- so that what will be needed is an in-depth historical and cultural accounting. When this Hub is published, its aims were to cover every culture and of South African Africans, it will still be elongated in the future giving other well researched cultures, custom, traditions, languages of those of the 10(ten) peoples not included herein, as of yet.
Urbanization has also transformed many African societies. Throughout the continent, men have migrated to cities in search of employment, motivated in part by the centripetal pull of urban life and in part by the need for cash to send back home to the villages. In the villages, the men's absence created dislocations, modifying patterns of societal organization, and requiring redefinitions of moral codes and adjustment to culture, customs, traditions, languages and practices. For the men themselves, employment and urban life required the playing of roles that exacerbated alienation from traditional values . Even as unskilled laborers participating marginally in the affairs of the city, they acquired new conceptions of time, of work, of social relations with colleagues and kinsmen, and much more. Since the migrations are are temporary or seasonal, the return of workers to rural communities became an additional force for change.They brought along with the them ways and mores of city life back to their villages, thus effecting permanent change to the way of life(culture, traditions, etc.), within their respective communities, and changed them forever. When families followed the men to the cities, the scope of Africa's social and psychological revolution expanded even further, and we begin to see and admixture of rural African cultural.traditional, linguistic and cultural modal and lifestyle, superseded by the European Western Cultures, thus we have what we all an "urbanized African South African"Creating a"twon-ness" that has been discussed within this Hub.
The forces for change are everywhere much the same, but their impact on individuals varies considerably. For some, the erosion of traditional life portends an optimistic future. Freed from the constraints of tradition and orientated toward a different world(the Western form), that the members of this vanguard(Africans pro Western civilization) welcomes the opportunity for new political and cultural destinies. To others(African cultural conservatives), however the possibility of change is fearful. Almost instinctively, these individuals realize that the experience they have acquired over a life time will count for little should the time-honored ways of life disappear. Backed by their conservatism, many of the traditional societies are putting up a determined and extraordinary fight for survival. Attachments to the old orders are strong(as can be seen on the picture gallery, where-in I show-off the traditional, cultural, customary, dress, arts and crafts of the different nine to ten groups of the south African nations), and that of Mapungubwe, that in the final analysis, even highly acculturated individuals are often ambivalent about new values which threaten to displace ancient and venerable traditions. This point is a common lore in the discourse of Africans about the way those Africans who extol the virtues of Western superiority, but clandestinely steal away and find their way to the respectable cultures, traditions, languages and the whole bit.
We pick up a more cogent and succinct explanation of African culture in its entirety from Cheik Ana Diop who writes: " The historical factor is the cultural cement that unifies the disparate elements of a people to make them a whole, by the particular slant of the feeling of historical continuity lived by the totality of the collective . It is the historical conscience thus engendered that allows a people to distinguish itself from a population, whose elements, by definition, are foreign, one from the other: the population of a large city market is composed of foreign tourists who come from the five continents and who do not have any cultural bond with each other. The historical conscience, through the feeling of cohesion that it creates, constitutes the safest and the most solid shield of cultural security for a people. This is why every people seeks only to know and to live their true history well, to transmit its memory to their descendants. T he essential thing, for people, is to rediscover the thread that connects them to their most remote ancestral past. In the face of cultural aggression of all sorts, in the face of all disintegrating factors of the outside world, the most efficient cultural weapon with which a people can arm itself is this feeling of historical continuity. This erasing, the destruction of the historical conscience also has been since time began part of the techniques of colonization, enslavement, and debasement of the African peoples. The passage below by M. Peyronnet, cited by Georges Hardy, is proof of this:
"There is a subject I would like see disappearing without regret [from the program of our African schools] declares M. Peyronnet , senator from Allier, in a recent article in the Annales Coloniales : it is History. A few reading during the French course would be enough to give them the notion of our country's power... There is an even simpler way to give a clear idea of our strength to the native youth, which is to decorate the classroom with the intertwined manigolos and to set a miniature 75mm cannon on the teacher's desk. This, by itself, in some measure and for a given period of time, can replace history; but one should not forget that people very quickly get used to scarecrows: the sparrows end up making their nests in the pockets of the gentlemen who gesticulate in the cherry trees." Diop Adds: "It is these possibilities of cultural aggression, linked to the vital importance of this subject matter, that have led the developing nations coming out of the colonial night, such as South Africa, Morocco, Algeria, etc., to make the teaching of history a national activity. In any case, the teaching of this material must particularly hold attention of the state.(Diop) In present-day South Africa, this is not the case.
Social and cultural transformation, because all aspects of a system do not change in synchronicity, produces dislocations and conflicts. Individuals who live in the midst of change must develop ways to cope with the inevitable conflicts if their lives are not to be consumed and destroyed by the change process. A common way of dealing with such conflicts is maintaining a stance of compartmentalizing one's thoughts and actions. Keeping each thing in its proper place, and not trying to resolve all the conflicts, is proving to be a successful modus vivendi for many Africans in adapting to the contemporary world, a mode which works reasonably well when connections among the many spheres in which individuals operate are maintained and when movemement among them is possible.The breaking down of African culture above was not completed, and the present fledgling culture has the promise of a new and better future, anchored on the pillars of the past culture, which barely exist, but though barely fully functional,needs to be heeded and utilized by Africans.
Sociocultural changes raise inevitable questions about traditional identities and their relevance in altered environments, and, in many parts of the African continent, uniformities in the patterns can be discerned. This is one of the main thrusts of this Hub, although its focus is mainly within the South African African cultural/traditional, historical and linguistic orb, it also gives a thumb-nail sketch of other aspects of African reality and survival a deeper look. Traditional religions of small scale are giving way to membership of Christian and Islamic sects, which in turn become new bases of loyalty which crosscut traditional ethnic, language, and even national boundaries, and in most cases to the detriment of Africans themselves. The once relatively standardized cultural and traditional life cycles of many African societies are giving way to a myriad of new careers-foisted upon them by western civilization and its concomitant, accessories and condiments, for which both share only a few similarities with one another. Migration to urban areas, even if only for short periods of time, has itself made Africans more aware of the cultural differences and sameness among themselves, along with many similarities and commonness embedded within their variegated cultures. But a new and free South African should be able to learn from his/her culture that these differences and similarities are but a matter of the 'degree' not difference, but sameness, i.e., in relation to their culture-they are one folk. For individuals and for societies, such changes often precipitates crises of identity. This is the perplexing existential and precarious methods of coping that is a conundrum and causes of social dysfunction for the African peoples of South Africa today.
Clarifying the Cultural Material Cement
The Historical Prognosis
Diop writes: "For every individual his or her own cultural identity is a function of that of his or her people. Consequently, one must define the cultural identity of a people. This means, to a great extent, one must analyze the components of the collective personality. The historical factor is the cultural cement that unifies disparate elements of a people to make them into a whole, by particular slant of the feeling of historical continuity lived by the totality of the collective." For Africans to understand and rebuild and redefine their culture, Africans in South Africa need to study and understand the cultural material that is presented to them and are presently faced with in the post-neo colonial period. They should not only look at what's left of their past, but what does their left-over material culture has to offer and teach them about the themselves and their future, so long as they pay attention to the remnants of cultural indicators and the cultural material holistically, and as an aggregate, look at it in its entirety and present total historical/cultural manifestations, and what it does have to offer its charges as they deal with the future, in the 21st century.
Diop point out that: "It is the historical conscience thus engendered that allows a people to distinguish itself from a population, whose elements, by definition, are foreign, one from the other: the population of a large city market is composed of foreign tourists who come from five continents and who do not have any cultural bond with each other. This historical conscience, through the feeling of cohesion that it creates, constitutes the safest and the most solid shield of cultural security for a people. This is why every people seeks not to know and to live their true history, [culture and traditions] well, and be able to transmit its memory to their descendants. The essential thing for people is to rediscover the threads that connects them to their most remote ancestral past." This can be seen by all these Africans in South Africa who will look into the pictures in the picture gallery to help them realize the point just made by Diop. Also, to learn from such Hubs how coalesce around their own history/culture and make it work for them
"In the face of cultural aggression of all sorts, in the face of all disintegrating factors of the outside world, the most efficient cultural weapon with which a people can arm itself is this feeling of historical continuity", as Diop averred. The erasing and the destruction of the historical and cultural conscience also has been in existence since time began and was part of the technique of colonization, enslavement, and debasement of a people.
A second level, more general, further off in time and space and including the totality of African people, comprises the general history of Black Africa, insofar as research permits, restoring it today from a purely scientific approach will not be an easy task until information such as this one in this Hub can reach the vast majorities of South Africa and Africa, including the Western world, effectively and concretely: each history of the different clans of the 10(ten) peoples is thus pinpointed and correctly situated in relation to general historical coordinates within this Hub for the benefit of Africans and Westerners in the same manner. Thus, all the continent's history is reevaluated according to a new unitary standard suited to revive and to cement, on the basis of established fact, all of the inert elements of the ancient historical mosaic.
Montesquieu wrote that: "As long as a conquered people has not lost its language, it can have hope because those languages are the unique common denominator of African history, and that they are characteristic of cultural identity par excellence. Some people say that Africa is a Tower of Babel, but this is not different from Europe which has 360 languages and dialects. Diop says that everyone knows that this superficial heterogeneity in Europe hides a kinship. Diop adds: "If we speak today of a European linguistic unity, it is only at this profound level, released and restored to science by linguistic archeology. Otherwise the French, the English, the Germans, the Italians, the Rumanians,the Lithuanians, the Russians, etc., do not understand each other any more than the Zulus, Tswanas, Sothos, Pedis, Xhosas, Ndebelels, Shangaaans, Vendas/Tsongas, Wolof, The Bambara, the Hausa, etc., do. It is therefore a necessity that a duly conducted African linguistic research bring African people to experience deeply their linguistic unity, in the same way as Europeans have, in spite of the apparent superficial heterogeneity. The result obtained already allow us to undertake the cultural education of the African consciousness in that sense."
Africans would quickly discover, to their great surprise, that it is a typically Negro African language that has been the oldest written language in history of humanity. It began 5,300 years ago, in Egypt; Whereas the most ancient testimony to an Indo-European language (Hittite) goes back to the XVIIth Egyptian Dynasty(1470 B.C.), and this, probably under the influence of the political cultural domination of Asia Minor by Egypt. But this would take us too far. Let us only say that, all of a sudden, African linguistic research offers breathtaking possibilities to comparative linguistics and is about to reverse the traditional roles in this field. Be that as it may, it is through the study of the Egypto-Nubian languages that the historical dimension, up to now missing, is introduced in African Studies; the comparison that derives from it allows, with each passing day, reinforcement of the feeling of linguistic unity of the Africans, therefore the feeling of cultural identity and unity. The review of the historical and linguistic factors as constituent elements of cultural personality brings to light the necessity for a total recasting of the African program of education in the field discussed herein. and for a radical centering of these on Egypto-Nubia antiquity[including historical and cultural past of Mapungubwe-in the case of South Africa, in the same way that the Western educational system has its foundation in the Greco-Latin antiquity: there is no [other]way more certain, more radical, more scientific, more sane and salutary to reinforce the African cultural personality and, consequently, the cultural identity of Africans." (Diop) Africans in South Africa should pay attention to the fact that since they still retain their nine languages, as we center and suture them around the Egyptian linguistic history, they should also learn how to link and fuse them into one "Nguni Dialect" by interfusing and transplanting important and historical linguistic utterances of the 9- Nine) groups into one whole continuous robust linguistic unity. These 9 (Nine) language have common words found in each language and these can be used into forming a unified language for the purposes of linguistic continual cultural unity. I have written a sequel to this Hub and called it "History, Culture, Custom, Traditions and practices of the Africans of south Africa: deconstructing Historical Amnesia" wherein I go into an in-depth look at the language and literature of Africans in south Africa in a much more expanded form.
Psychological and Cultural Invariants
T he Egyptian civilization, with its grandiose art, entirely due to a Black(African) people, because we only want to stress the fact that the intellectual and psychological climate created by all the writings of this type strongly conditioned the first definitions that the African thinkers of the period between the two World Wars, had tried to give to their culture. But today, in order to better grasp people's cultural identity, a scientific approach to the psychic factor can equally be tried. For this, in the context of a socio-historical approach, one should try to answer the following questions: What are the psychological and cultural invariants that political and social revolutions, even the most radical ones, leave intact, not only among the people, but among the very leaders of the revolution? If one tries to answer such a question from the