Beauty in African Poverty

By: Luckystar Miyandazi



One of the major definitions of poverty is: the state or condition of having little or no money, goods, or means of support; condition of being poor. Additionally, four Africa countries make up the top five most poor in the world in-terms of their population percentage. Thus to many its a contradiction to say that there is something beautiful about poverty-as it does not ignite any desirable qualities in its definitions. However, in Africa, 'poverty' has been a source of happiness for many years and has put us in the global sphere as a sort of peculiar people who find joy in being poor. The poorer the country in Africa, the more delight its people deprive from appreciation of the little things that life has to offer and the closer people are in a societal and communal setting. Let's take an example of most of our grandparents and elders, they still live in mud huts and wear traditional clothing, hold communal meetings and take care of their cows and farms, being extremely happy with what they have. With the spread of new and diverse developmental ideas in the world, African countries have been referred to as backward and underdeveloped, by most standards that have been set this view of underdevelopment holds ground. What is wrong though is the assumption that without money and material possessions African people are sad and destitute.

EVOLUTION AND THE CRADLE OF MANKIND

Evolution theories and evidence through archaeological research has led to the consideration of Africa as the cradle of mankind. From Egypt to Ethiopia, Kenya to Tanzania and Uganda, Botswana to Burundi, and Zimbabwe to Cameroon, Africans have influenced regions beyond the continent's borders, through providing the most information about early man; the stages of evolution and way of life. In this way, Africa has managed to give the world the special gift of change in human life. Early man learned to use basic materials around him to meet his needs in-terms of food, shelter and clothing. This is an indication of why African people deprive a lot of happiness from the use of readily available materials to deal with everyday life, like the use of fire wood to heat food, hunting and gathering for food, building their houses from mud clay and using simple material for body cover clothing. The opportunity to specialize in 'simple' has put Africa on the map as a place for all to come and seek this type of life to clear their mind and be reminded that life is all about the simple things.

AFRICAN SOCIETAL ORGANIZATION

In most Africa societal settings the smallest social unit was the family and political unit was the clan. Through this, societies were well organized units that looked after their own political, social and economic needs. For instance in most traditional settings, the different clans lived in fortified villages and were identified through their ancestral origin. The elders administered the villages and were sort of like the final decision makers regarding any vital issue in the villages. They dissolved disputes, settled cases and sometimes presided over religious functions. Due to the needs of various societal groups, migration was common in Africa and thus the spread of different cultures and way of life. Where in today's world, we find that some ethnic languages can be spoken across various countries and some shared traditions. Economic activities like trading and hunting also created a lot of interactions across clans and groups. Through hardships and in times of conflicts and wars, the practice of good neighborliness was always seen. Communities called upon their allies to help fight wars and for help during famines and diseases. This promoted friendliness towards neighbors and encouraged peace. Intermarriages between people from different communities also brought people together.

Every African individual until today is known as a child from somewhere- through their ancestry and by their clan name. This is a unique thing that Africans offer to the world, the value of identity, family and origin. Children are regarded as having special value. A child is considered a gift to society and is brought up as such thus no burden to the parents or the society. In many societies, communal ownership was stressed more than individual ownership, respect in the society was not so much given according to a persons riches but from the wisdom used in distributing and sharing with the society. The impact of opening Africa up to the world, has been the spread of these values and demand from others across the globe to know about their beliefs and cultures.

BASIC AFRICAN RELIGIOUS BELIEFS

Religions teaches us to maintain peace, law, order and to be united. In traditional African communities, God is considered as the supreme being. He is the creator of the universe and has effective control of his creation. Africans like many people with questions about the world and their environment were led to believe in a high being and power. Religion and beliefs are at the core of African societies, where God is described by many characteristics and attributes. Thanksgiving is usually given to God through the ancestors for good will and also to request for something. The worship of God is real where communities identified holy places like mountains, tress, rivers and lakes to worship and praise God and believed that at this special places, God manifested himself. Belief in the existence of spirits and divinities also linked traditional African people to the spiritual world. Many of such spirits were associated with nature and the environment and were often in control of various happenings. African religion is thus notorious as almost everything is seen as religious, part of our heritage which is considered as culture, practices and the origin of Africans. Today, Africa offers this to the world a very religious people who are devoted to their religion and prayer.

AFRICA's GIFT TO THE WORLD

The gift of equality - In Africa, the most important thing is the implication that we are all gifted and unique but at the same time equal people. No individual or group is permitted to exert unsolicited and harmful influence on others. The organization of the continent into states is for the sole reason of using them as tools to cater for the interests and needs of its people. Africans are motivated by a sense of self service to others that is not driven by greed and desire for personal gains.

Friendliness and Hospitality – Africa and its people are generally known for their great hospitality to others especially visitors to the continent. Due to such friendliness, the continent is known to attract tourists and visitors through and through. Africa stands firm in its call for the world to see the continent as an example of a happy, relaxing place. African countries due to this also host a lot of international meetings, events and conferences.

Exchanges- African countries are the best in-terms of exchanging ideas with other countries from outside the continent. In the promotion of understanding between states, enhancing peaceful co-existence and facilitating development, African goes above and beyond the thresh hold to widen and share global experiences and world views.

CONCLUSION

Africa is the motherland, the source of the beginning of the world and its people. The continent's unparalleled beauty is apparent to all who live in it. A lot of judgment has been passed of the continent but few understand that Africans are willing and open to share and give a lot to the world. We appreciate our environment, take care of our people and endeavor to stay peaceful always. Poverty has never been a hindrance to African culture, belief and heritage. We take pride in our poverty as it’s a way to show that Africa has a lot of good in it and its people are not blinded by the idea of being poor.

REFERENCES

1. Elleh,N. (1997) African Architecture: Evolution and Transformation. Michigan: McGraw-Hill.
2. Davidson, B. (1974) Africa in History: Themes and Outlines. Revised edition. Macmillan,New York.
3. Diop, C. A. (1986) Great African Thinkers: Cheikh Anta Diop. Transaction Publishers.
4. Gilbert, E. Reynolds ,J.T. (2004) Africa in world history: from prehistory to the present. Michigan: Pearson Educational.
5. John S. MBITI, Bible and Theology in African Christianity. Nairobi (Oxford University Press) 1994.
6. Religion in Africa and the Diaspora- Available at: http://www.africanbelief.com/ Accessed on: 14-04-2013

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3 comments:

  1. Good Piece Luckystar!

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  2. Reading this piece, Africans should be more appreciative of their continent.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thank You, I appreciate you taking time to have a read.

    ReplyDelete