Wednesday, February 28, 2007

The African Self?

I chucked in "self" into and came up wit the following:

Person or thing referred to with respect to complete individuality:
A person's nature, character, etc.: his better self.
Personal interest.

the ego; that which knows, remembers, desires, suffers, etc., as contrasted with that known, remembered, etc.
the uniting principle, as a soul, underlying all subjective experience.

So a person's "self" is basically an introspective view of his complete individuality? Considering that there is a thin semi-permeable membrane in existence between an individual and his environment-Can one really have a true appreciation of one's "self" if most things that they "should" identify with is falling apart-right around them? I don't profess to have the answers to these questions and must admit that this is a current trend which is beginning to mortify me. Clandestine questions with seemingly unapparent answers.

So what is my point? The word "Respect" has lost its meaning to most Africans. This is inexcusable considering that respect is a principle that gets talked at kids from the minute they can breathe! "Aunty, Uncle, Sister"- all expressions of respect for those who are older than us..Sometimes, we go beyond these verbal gestures and kneel or even prostrate in some cases. All interesting and sweet, but does this mean much?? Fortunately, I have come to my own conclusion: NO! When you show respect- you are declaring high esteem or a sense of worth or excellence of a person maybe because of a personal quality or ability that you admire. Respect for Africans has gone the route of religion and has become routine. The African has lost the meaning of respect for himself, and obviously for his brother.Why..I wonder.Most African cultures have proclaimed values that should mean that the African is a symbol of integrity, honour and accomplishment. We have stood the test of time and have been blessed with resources which some other continents can only dream of. Why has the African chosen to be the very thing that will undermine the progress of all that we really have: Our people. Why do we still lack a sense of real identity an dedication to the land that has been ours even before we were born?

So how can people claim to have respect for anything and anyone when greed and corruption has eaten through the fabric of everything sane and sacred? Life will always go on but things can be made better.In today's reality- money is the only thing we've given respect and though there are many arguably valid reasons for this-at the end of the day- we all fail, if after all the struggle..we've left our land worse than we met it. Until we can claim to have made an effort, lets stop the pretence and banish the word "respect" from our vocabulary. We do not preach respect..maybe fear, submission but definitely not respect. The soul of the continent is not dead yet but the grim disease that we see on the surface now is fast eroding the essence that those before us have strived for..What happens next? Another rhetoric yet written without practical solutions..

Maybe if we all "think" a little bit more.
Maybe if we all stopped pretending..just enough to see people for who they are
Who are we?
Who do we think we are?
Who will our kids think we are?

We all have to start with our "Self" because that's where the true trauma lies...

I'm much better at asking

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