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Is Africa Primitive Or Just Conservative?

I find it interesting that in this day and age, most African nations actually choose to preserve their outdated practices (e.g. witchcraft, female circumcision, etc.). It seems there is a reluctance to move with the times and to progress.

I wonder whether it has something to do with the fear of losing one's identity. However, progress does not mean losing your identity. Even the forefathers created this identity through a gradual process (i.e. progress). So why become stagnant now?

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Cool.  I am delighted to hear that you do in fact laugh every once in a while.   I was genuinely worried there for a bit.

Hey, now that you mention it, I completely forgot about the ROFLMAO thing you used to wrap up virtually every post. I sure do miss that ROFLMAO thang.

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Oh, I do have a sense of humor . . . . just that I do not share yours is all!

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Not to worry KJ, you will find your sense of humor one of these days, when you least expect it, and when the expression on your face is as stern as ever.

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Hey, some of my best friends are dumpster divers, and I am a certified muff diver, I'll have you know, before you get to casting aspersions on noble gentlemanly traditions.

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Poor Chap.

I am sure that even the locals in Wiltshire regard you as a bit of a colonial era nut job, hence the constant need for you to validate your inferiority complex on a NIGERIAN forum.

You really do deserve a windowless cell for a year at least. Or even better, be condemned to a life of digging ditches for a living. Either way, you need to be excluded from society.

How low could you sink?

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^ great post. people always peg what is "civilized" to what is done in the west. thus, whatever the west does is automatically seen an civilized even if its not neccesarily.

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@OP

If Africans had found something good about circumcision in both male and female, I say there is nothing primitive about it. After all, female circumcision has been witnessed throughout the world. It is a mark of idiocy to arrogate such act as African.

People should also realize the ways of Europeans are not always suited for human beings. I shall prefer properly performed female circumcision as done in male to the female Core mutilation in the name of piercing. Today, females in Europe and USA had found favor in sewing up their Core parts with all kinds of metals.

The same thing goes with the silly tattoo.

By the way, if same sex marriage is part of European and USA civilization, I had happily remained primitive in Africa.

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Those claims are yours, not mine!

Like I said

The US and it's allies finding it hard to cope with them? Are you joking? The world, even the West is trying to ADAPT to the new members of the super power league and you want to pretend their is a WAR? Go right ahead . . .  the fact is this is about Africa, and so far, we remain the laggers in this.

Like I said . . . China and Indian have gone a ways to prove that the developer determines the pace at which development should take place. In Africa's case, we have the resources necessary for development . . . we don't really need to source them from elsewhere, so Africa gets to decide at what pace it should develop or not develop.

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kobo i disagree with u on ur last paragraph, every development can not be at same pace, pace of development depend on many variables that are not constant and that differ in various economies.

China and the asian tigers developed at their own pace, embibing thier culture all through the process, that is why the US and its allys are finding it very difficult ot cope with them

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You do know that nothing of what you have above is true. Again, the 'WHINE-FEST' grace-period is over. Africa needs to step up. China and India have already done it and shown that all you have above is nothing but delusional beliefs and not much else.

There is no set pace to develop at . . . . African can choose to develop speedily as many other nations have already shown is possible. Or Africa can continue to wallow in self-pity while millions of her own continue to die out like dogs.

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There is nothing UNAFRICAN about corruption, and the other evil devices. As long as Africa is inhabited by humans, those are to be expected. So it is not enough to pretend it is all as a result of external influence or whine and complain of how everyone else is to blame. I believe the grace-period is long over and now it's all nothing but pathetic whining.

Even those we like to pretend are at fault, have somehow managed to retain much of the good parts of their own culture, while what I see we have done so far is replace that is which makes sense with that which is not only selfish but seriously destructive.

It is not for the west to HELP Africa. The WEST is not now, and has never been Africa's babysitter. Africa is the oldest civilization for pete's sake. Africa should work harder on solving it's own problems, rather than waiting for the WEST, and maybe now, the ASIANS to come fix it all.

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As it stands now kobo, developing at our pace would be very difficult, the west already have the foot hold of African economies, they now determine our economies, the natural resources we boast of in africa are all refined, manufactured and distribution is determined by by the these western capitalist.

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@kobojunkie

I am glad u realize that we have drifted too far away from our culture, and have become anonymous. Corruption, uneven distribution of wealth and resources and other vices that have bedeviled the continent are unafrican, we have construed the meaning of globalization and have have allowed the west determine our future.

If the West truly hopes to help Africa develop at its own pace, it must start with Liberalizing trade.

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For any Development and Economic advancement to be sustainable they must be culturally alligned, African nations have become conformists amongst league of nations, with no true identity to alter any change or development, we swallow hook, line and sinker the development strategies of western nations, forgetting that development is in born and can only start to breed from the inside.

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Outdated and generally discouraged sure, but they are still practised to this day. The media may have generally moved on, on reporting most of these but it is still practised in many parts of Africa. Even Slavery still flourishes in Africa, even though we rarely talk about it, in the african context.

I disagree with that. What we have has little to do with ADAPTATION. Female Circumcision, Slavery, Bigotry etc. Has little to do with adaptation, or conservatism.

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I think the last word that should be associated with  the general African Mindset, is the word "CONSERVATIVE".

Majority of the views and values we adhere to, on the most part, are not traditional. We are not known to be a moderate/"CAUTIOUS" people, and we on the most part, opposition to change is done more out of SELFISHNESS than any attempts to preserve old/traditional values.

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With out colonialism Sub Saharan Africa would still be in the Stone Age.

Africa is not conservative, conservative is a WI meeting in a nice little village in Wiltshire with old ladies knitting eating cup cakes. Africa is what I would term in an Un PC way, Primitive.

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Comical levels of superstition and blind religious devotion are, in general,  indexes of abject, primitive backwardness, but in some countries, of which Nigeria, India and Pakistan are fine examples, those obsessive and multi-layered beliefs in imaginary supreme beings do NOT in any way assure respect for legality and basic human rights, or even any predisposition to civilized conduct.

It is thus no surprise to hear accounts of Nigerian lynch mobs, made up of shrieking, bug-eyed muslims or christians, beating to death and setting afire mob victims in response to unsubstantiated accusations of witchcraft or petty larceny, before dispersing to later attend churches or mosques where the killers ostentatiously display their closeness to the God of their choosing.

Similarly, Indian and Pakistani men commit murders of the most horrendous nature against their own female blood relatives, to "punish" any such women who decide, for whatever valid reasons, to back out of "arranged" marriages often imposed with total strangers as husbands.   Those savage homicides are referred to in those cultures as "honor killings", yet the perpetrators of that bloodlust loudly proclaim their religious piety at every opportunity.

To answer the question posed here, Africa, and indeed many parts of Asia, remain home to vast numbers of murderous savages who give the word "primitive" a bad name.

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First of all, some of the practices that you used as examples to regarding Africa being primitive vs conservative anre outdated and generally discouraged. e.g. female circumcision, tribal marks

People are people regardless. And if you expose the western/civilized man to our environment, he will very likely start to act the same way.

So, my point is we adapt to the resources and environment that we have around us. If you are truly objective and seek to understand why people do what they do, you will understand. But people prefer to look from outside without understanding and make judgement.

Like some other poster said, witchcraft is practiced in different ways all over the world and its not exclusive to Africa.

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In an ironic way, you do have a point.

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Technically, Japanese pikin are behind our pikin.

I see many small small Nigerian pikin making recycled toys from refuse materials before the age on 3.

When oyinbo children are still doing ewwww eww all over the place, our Naija street pikin don recycle toy from discarded tire, rewire copper and broken bottle. Saving their parents money and the environment all at once.

Japanese and oyinbo pikin nor fit.

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Africans are primitive and very superstitious in their reasoning. In an age of reason where everything can be logically explained, Africans still hold on unquestioning to age old beliefs and practices which has held the continent backward economically and technologically.

The mind-set of Africans have to be re-oriented through education, teaching of civics in schools, exposure to technological products and designs at very early ages ( Japanese children aged between 8-10 years have a national Robotics production competition where they design Toy Robots, Cars etc and this competition is taken very seriously in that country), exposure to IT savvy products and appliances also from a very early age.

If the above steps can be taken then, we shall move from a backward third world country to one that is truly on its way to industrialisation and technological achievement.

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It's a mix of the two, and a bit more.

Some (very few) Africans are progressive, a surprisingly sizeable number are primitive, but most are conservative.

Primitive, because you still have barbaric customs like Oro sanctioned by the government, even though some parts may involve human sacrifice. Some prominent Africans also do human sacrifice for money and power rituals. You even see highly educated individuals still heavily reliant on marabouts, and deep into local cultist activities.

Very few Africans are progressive, which is why you still see a few world-class institutions emerge from the heart of Africa, like GT Bank. The protagonists of that bank have always gone against the grain and brought ideas to the table, despite operating in a sharply conservative industry and environment.

In fact I can think of no nation or people in Africa that are progressive, just individuals.

Africans are mostly conservative. They like progress, but still seek validation using age-old belief systems and tradition. This even supercedes the largely rampant practice of imported religion. I was just reading a rejoinder to Tunde Fagbenle's article in the punch today, by one of General Adeyinka Adebayo's children (the article was a critique of the general's recent visit to Aso Rock). The first point Fagbenle was taken up on was his irreverent and disrespectful remarks about a 'Yoruba elder' like General Adebayo. A clear example of using traditional beliefs as a weapon, rather than staying on cold hard facts.

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Very interesting topic. I am of the mind that mamaput said it best:

Now being honest omonozozo, there are things you mentioned which I totally understand where you're coming from, but there are others which can be seen as "primitive" that I don't have a problem with.  I don't have a problem with someone dressing up in animal skins.  Neither do I have a problem with the Ashanti outfits.  I do have a problem with the fact that some people see witchcraft in any and every thing and can't be bothered to discern the truth.  I do have a problem with the idea of a bride price.  But that's just me, it is different for everyone.

Let me use a couple of examples of the oppression/suppression of women in African societies, where I've heard people (trying to) justify these practices.  On the one hand men will say women have the power, but in practice they don't.  When a woman's husband dies his family can remove her from the house or accuse her of killing their son.  Or her husband is a serial cheater and can infect her with HIV or any other disease, she's expected to accept this behaviour.  That doesn't speak of "power", it is simply a lack of respect and appreciation for women in Africa.

I laughed the other day when I read about a South African man who married four wives and some guest at the wedding said it means he won't do like men in the West and cheat on them.  I read years ago of a policeman who had two wives but Molested the daughter of a colleague.  When has polygamy stopped a man from "cheating", whatever that means in polygamous circles?  These kind of ideas don't speak to me of Conservative, they are double standards; women are expected to be the holders of society's values, however men can do what they like but they want the title "head of the family" as well as social and political power.

So nilla is very right, it's selfishness and oppression and not having the greater good at heart which is the real problem in Africa.  But then I wonder if it breaks itself down even smaller - is ethnic group values more important than the collective values of the wider society?  Is it possible to forge a national identity without losing the ethnic and cultural values that make us unique?

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nice points there omonozozo,

i dont think that many people have that fear of the unknown. I agree with you a lot with selfishness and oppresion and a little with inferiority complex.

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wonders will never cease, in nigeria even the priests are preaching "God will bless you"; money answereth all things. That is a bush mentality, primitive thats it.

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I know,

we will brainstorm again next time. I have to sign out now

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we have people, but they are not being utilized. How will they be utilized when there is so much corruption. so its who knows who.

I think the first thing for them to know is that we cant overnight become advanced (it took those advanced countries a long time to get to where they are).

All they need to know is that we have to strive hard to make ourselves comfortable (money is not always it, e.g in nigeria if you have lots of money you will still end up in hold ups on the road the same way others do).

I think we just have to try and change our mentality. Not going in search of money alone, but also seeking to develop ourselves and our environment.

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Ok so we are lacking in some resources and althou we have such resources (There's money in Naija, We get enuff people also) why is it we are slow to actually improve for example human resource? But i think i know what you mean. It's basically the system, like in the Naija, state of the country makes it difficult to improve on what we know we have. Going back to 'african conservatism' how will you educate/inform the conservative nations on moving forward?

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this is a tough question to answer. But i think i will say we are conservative. But a number of people still might be primitive.

@ iice,

i dont think our fear to move forward has to do with our loosing our identity. I think we can still move forward and still have our identity (like you stated advanced nations still have their identity and they are moving forward by the day).

An important factor that is causing us to be stagnant or evolve slower is the lack of resources (such as money and even human resources).

We are competing with people that are much advanced and whether we like it or not it will take a long while for us to get to where they are.

we are taking baby steps while they are taking gigantic steps.

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Hmmmmm i guess they are conservative but like you said, their conservatism is outdated. Truly i cant really figure out why we are so afraid to move on. Please someone enlighten me on that. Is it fear? Fear of losing identity as omonozoz said? But isnt it evident enuff that most 'advanced' nations still have their identities? What exactly are we afraid of?

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omonozozoz

pls you may have to clear this one up for me, first is witchcraft exclusive to Africa? it is a popular practice in the most modern countries in the world, there are many traditional practices european countries hold on to from way back, does this make them primitive? Like you said progress does not mean losing identity. I think there is more to what you want to put across, am i right? if so then please put me in the picture cos from what i read the only thing i take issue with is the circumcison thing, otherwise what else is the reason you call african nations primitive?

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Wait till OBJ sees this topic.

I do not think they are Primitive Or Just Conservative?.

I think they are just big pretenders

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