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Customs and Traditions: Ignoring them disconnects you with your roots and your past

In the African continent, there are multiple languages, customs and traditions. Each ethnic group has its culture that makes it unique. For example, in some cultures, the youth bows when offering something (e.g. a drink) to the elders. They would normally not look straight into the elders’ eyes, which is in their culture is a sign of respect. It is also a custom to go and greet the elders in the morning and in the evening.

We should strive to preserve our habits, and we should also be proud of them. It is undoubtedly better to keep your own traditions than to mimic foreign ones which will only tie us with chains.
Our habits are regrettably in the process of disappearing. This process is encouraged by the so-called “intellectuals” who claim that they are outdated and belong to the past, and are hence the obstacle of progress and modernization.

Today, the majority of Africans are either Westernized or Arabicized. The former only see the beauty and openness in Western clothes; they walk around with their necks tied with a dog-like tail called a ‘neck-tie’. The latter only dress in Arabic clothes. How far can we go in imitating others?

In my opinion, the adherence to (good) traditions (if necessary adapted to the modern life) can contribute to development and progress, and help to build [the edifice of] morality. However, if we ignore and throw our traditions into the rubbish bin, and continue imitating foreign ones, it will inevitably lead to a decline in education.

Furthermore, those who imitate the habits of others will actually look ridiculous and will be laughed at; it is like someone who is profiting from others’ light, but, when the light source is turned off, he will remain in the darkness. Or else he could be compared to the one who came to the public meeting, but only to hid himself. In fact, a traditional dress is something to be proud of; it is a sign of honor and respect.

Traditions determine one’s identity, feed patriotism and distinguish communities from each other. It is worth noting that each ethnic group in Africa has its own characteristic dress and headwear.


By Mohammed Salihu Jalloh (translated into English by Saajo Bah, from peeral Media Network)

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