14th Foundation Lecture: Erosion of African Value System: Can youths redeem this trend? – Delivered by Ousman Touray
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14th Foundation Lecture: Erosion of African Value System: Can youths redeem this trend? - Delivered by Ousman Touray
UNDERSTANDING THE AFRICAN VALUE SYSTEM
Before the 15th century, history depicts Africans as naked; men with only a loincloth and women with a piece of bark cloth draped around their waists and breasts. From that, we could infer that the European historians found more than enough reason to label Africa a concert of savage naked tribes that have no moral incentive to cover their bodies from their bewildered European
audience and hence the label ‘uncivilized’.
Besides the joke, the purpose of this preamble is not to go over one of the most clichéd mockeries of African civilization or construct arguments that question the links between the comparison of perceived civilization and the inadequate covering of the African body before the 15th century but rather an attempt to think of it differently. The historians must have had their intellectual freedoms to be curious about conduct and question human behaviour. Can one say they asked the wrong questions? Their questions could hardly explain much about our values than their harboured preconceived responses to diversity. The failure to question why women are clothed more than men and how that represented their gender relations in it is a problem.
Because any value system is not necessarily how people behave and relate but the explanation for their relationship and behaviour. Being uncomfortable about peculiar responses and behaviour in other human beings other than oneself is only natural. I would argue that questioning why they behaved that way instead of categorizing them to classes on the rigid basis of historical sentiment is unjustifiable. Has any attempt been made to deduce why a girl child is nurtured solely for marriage and the boys to hunt and become sole providers for their families? Why they worshipped deities in the form of natural endowments like the rivers and mountains? All these form a much better and logical understanding of the African Value Systems.