African culture and personal identity

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Yesterday I saw a post on Instagram, I wish I could post it here, except I don’t remember the name of the page now.

It showed the picture of Sudan, years ago and today. And the building that the people of Sudan built years ago and how it was an inspiration for a building that was built in recent years.

The caption tho.

I don’t remember it ??.

But it hit me so hard, I stopped scrolling and started thinking.

The caption was in the light of;

+how we hate/don’t appreciate our African culture and how it is the foundation of who we are as Africans.

+how the new building was inspired by the old buildings, and so not everything in African culture is to be taken as evil and always fought against.

The post hit me. Because the truth is, I know nothing about African culture. Nothing.

My mom and dad come from the same tribe, Bena.

That should have made it easy for me to learn my culture, but growing up western was modern.

Growing up western was the way of life.

Growing up western was desirable.

Western was educated.

I think it’s still the same way.

Except am not the same person.

When I was growing up I fought with every bit of me, everything culture related, I wanted development. Me like many Africans, development means stripping away from everything Africa related. Removing all sorts of culture.

Here is the thing that I have discovered, I carry my mom and dad’s gene, I have their identity. I was born in Tanzania, African from Bena parents, I carry the history, the lessons, the way of life and everything else that doesn’t come to my mind as culture related.

No matter how hard I try to copy and be westernized, I am African, my identity comes from Africa.

When you deny who you are, you confuse yourself.

When I learnt that, I started digging more. I started observing. I started learning. There is nothing wrong about western culture, but if you embrace it in your denial for your own culture, you are still a slave. Brainwashed.

Culture is a way of life, culture has its share of good and bad, while we are busy fighting and changing the bad, we can also be proud and advocate the good.

So here I am learning, observing and embracing.

Because even though I am learning and adapting to the world around, there are pieces of me already formed that I am yet to discover.

If you asked me about my culture, I would say I don’t know a lot about it, but I have accepted who I am, and in the process I am learning by embracing it.

Eunice

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