Africa’s rich history and culture are so diverse that it varies not only from one country to another but also within regions and countries. The culture of each ethnic group holds together the authentic social fabric of traditional practices and rites, art, music, and oral literature through which identities are built.
As such, diversity of cultures, religions, languages, and traditions should not be addressed as a barrier to development, rather the continent should take advantage of and build on this rich diversity in its quest for prosperity.
According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), culture is defined as a “complex whole which includes knowledge, beliefs, arts, morals, laws, customs, and any other capabilities and habits acquired by [a human] as a member of society.”
As the mother continent and first inhabited region on earth, Africa is characterized by vast lands and one of the largest populations on the planet with rich human heritage and cultural diversity. The broad history of Africa tells the world about the story of her civilizations ranging from the first artists that left impressions on their rock shelters to the scholars who built great universities in the Sahara.
The treasure of Africa’s unique identity encompasses iconic natural places as Serengeti, Table Mountain, and Victoria Falls and the origin of the history of mankind from the fossil hominid sites of Olduvai Gorge and Sterkfontein to the pyramids of ancient Egypt. The high walls of her great forts and castles from the colonial era recite sad stories of slavery and remind us of the long history of Africans’ struggle for independence and liberation.
Things to do to promote African Culture and traditions
Educate yourself: Start by learning about the various cultures and traditions within and outside Africa. Understand the history, languages, music, dance, art, and customs of different African regions especially for the younger generations.
Share Stories and Oral History: If you have a connection to African culture, share stories, legends, and oral history with others. This can be done through storytelling, writing, or recording interviews with elders and some other historians who has authored lot of books.
Teach African Languages: Encourage the learning of African languages, both within and outside African communities and among people interested in the culture. Language is an essential part of preserving tradition. For example: Yoruba language has spread and adopted over many countries.
Encourage Cultural Education: Support educational initiatives that teach African culture and history in schools and universities especially in the rural areas whom has been deprive of basic education.
Attend Cultural Events: Participate in or attend cultural events, festivals, and exhibitions that showcase African traditions. These events often feature music, dance, food, and art. For instance; Olojo Festival, Oranyan festival, Olokun festival, Osun Osogbo festival, and many other festival in Southwest of Nigeria.
Support Local Artisans: Buy, promote and use products made by local African artisans, such as clothing, artworks, paintings, beads, jewelry, and traditional crafts. This supports local economies and preserves traditional skills
Cuisine and Cooking: Learn to cook traditional African dishes and share them with friends and family. African cuisine is diverse and offers a wide range of delicious foods. A lot of people from many countries adopted Yoruba foods and soups.
Music and Dance: Explore and share African music and dance styles. Organize dance workshops, and introduce traditional African music to a wider audience.
Art and Crafts: Promote African art and crafts through exhibitions, workshops, or galleries. Encourage local artists to showcase their work.
Cultural Exchange Programs: Support or participate in cultural exchange programs that allow people from different parts of the world to experience African culture firsthand.
Travel Responsibly: If you have the opportunity to travel to Africa, do so responsibly and respectfully. Engage with local communities, learn about their traditions, and support local businesses.
Support Cultural Organizations: Contribute to or volunteer with organizations that work to preserve and promote African culture. Many organizations focus on cultural preservation and education especially the media outlets that promotes cultural events locally and internationally.
Online Presence: Utilize the internet and social media to share information, stories, and images that promote African culture and traditions to a global audience especially historic cultural events among other stories.
Interact with African Communities: Engage with African communities in the continent, support each other with events and programs, attend community events, listen to their stories, and learn from their experiences.
Advocate for Cultural Preservation: Raise awareness about the importance of preserving African culture and traditions. Advocate for policies that protect cultural heritage.
In conclusion, by taking the above listed actions, one can play a role in preserving, celebrating, and promoting the rich and diverse cultures and traditions of Africa. It’s a way to ensure that Africa’s heritage is passed down to future generations and appreciated by people around the world.
Fabunmi Adefunmi Sands is a scientist 1, licensed phlebotomist, certified orthopedic technician, and Echocardiogram reader who is currently working as an Emergency room technician II.
Fabunmi is a part-time Human rights activist, a peace ambassador for the Black race, an African American Historian who hosts traditional and spiritual educational events, and the Yeyeoba of Oyotunji African Village who practice priestly ways that were learned from her parents and global travels on traditional events.