The African cultural heritage : deculturation, transformation and development.
Tondi, Tsoabisi Pakiso Ensle.
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This study begins by highlighting the fact that after identifying the causes of defects in the socio-economic development of Africa and its populace African scholars argue for the re-centering of African cultural heritage as a strategy for (re)-construction and socioeconomic development. In fact, the alienation and marginalization of African cultural values and traditions by the designs of colonialism and apartheid have resulted in the distortion and disorientation of some of the most fundamental aspects of the culture of the colonized. Undeniably, this phenomenon contributed immensely to the situation of 'underdevelopment' in Africa Culturally, people were prevented from engaging the European culture(s) on their own terms. Economically - because the African cultural heritage was degraded to the level of the 'savage', the 'primitive', 'uncivilized' and even the level of the 'superstitious' or 'mystical' compared to the ' logical' found in the Western cultural thought and behaviour - African people(s) were mostly prevented from participating in the development of the continent. More importantly, given the present unfolding scenario of the African leaders' dream for an African century- manifested in the transformation of the Organization of African Union into the African Union (AU) (during the week of the 9 to 12 July 2001) and the vision and mission of New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) - juxtaposing this ideal to the pressures globalisation process exerts on the African continent, this study III seeks to identify essential elements of African Cultural Heritage that (if reclaimed and redefined) can contribute towards the transformation and development of (South) Africa and its people. The two critical questions here are: (a) Against the backdrop of Africa's economic disposition, what is the way forward for the continent to extricate itself from the quagmire of poverty, disease and instability? (b) Is Pan-Africanism the solution to the African crisis in the 2IIt century and the globalizing world? The African Renaissance discourse (as a new Pan-Africanism vision in the 2IIt century and a philosophical framework for (re)-construction and development) is central to this study, precisely because no nation that was uprooted from its soul can be able to recover wholly and progress without basing its socio-economic development plans on its own cultural identity and self-knowledge. It is hoped that this study will form part of existing critical resource material concerning the legacy of underdevelopment, and the constructive proposals and strategies critical in the socio-economic (re)-construction and development of Africa in the context of g1obalisation and its marginalising tendencies and practices against the countries of the South.