Erosion of cultures by David G Maillu

The Case for Woman to Woman Marriage in Africa

By David G Maillu

Erosion of cultures by David G MailluThere is not a country in traditional Africa where the iweto woman-to-woman marriage was never practised.

On the face value, iweto (Kikamba term for something ‘lightly-talked-about’) is a young woman  ‘married’ to an old woman not for sexual relations (lesbianism) but for survival of the family. What qualifies the old woman to look for an “iweto” marriage is that, first and foremost, she has no husband either through misfortunes such as death. Besides, she lives alone, either because her daughters, if she has any, are married and they live with their husbands. Secondly, she has no son through whom the family can have children, putting into consideration the fact that in her world children are crucial social insurance for the family.

Now, in order for her to have someone to take care of her and give her a family lease through offspring, she goes out looking for a young woman who would accept the term that she would not have a husband in that home other than men friends who could father her children for the home. The old woman pays up the full bride price for the girl just like any other fully married woman to a man. It is a benefit to the old woman if the girl is already a mother brings home a child or children.

The young woman takes full care of the old woman until her death All the children born to the young woman would bear the family name of the old woman. The young woman would be the only heiress to the property of the old woman whom she would always address as ‘Mother’ but not as ‘husband’.

The iweto marriage should be understood under the licence that there were no children for adoption in traditional Africa. The only option left for the adopter was to adopt a fertile woman to bear children for the adoption. Many polygamous marriages fall within the adoption scheme whereby, if a husband is married to a barren woman, he can only adopt children by adopting-cum-marrying a fertile woman with him to have children for the adoption.

The social situation has changed today because there are free children for adoption without their mother; hence, the “iweto” scheme is outdated in many ways by modern events. But while it lasted, it was a noble thing. However, what remains in fashion today is still for a man to engage in polygamy because he wants to keep his first childless wife but he must go for a second wife in order to bless the family with the needed children

Tanzania’s Olduvai Gorge Could be the Cradle of Humanity

Olduvai Gorge is a 350-foot-deep canyon in Tanzania that has been the source of some of the oldest human remains ever discovered.

In 1961, the archaeologists Louis and Mary Leakey found there a jawbone, skull, and other bones thought to belong to a human-like creature who lived around 1.7 million years ago.

At Olduvai Gorge, the archaeologists also discovered a circle of lava blocks that may be the remains of the oldest construction yet discovered on earth. These blocks probably surrounded the floor of a living or working area. This construction is so old that it couldn’t have been the work of Homo sapiens, the species to which all humans belong. It was probably built by members of a species called Homo habilis. These human-like creatures may have belonged to a line that later died out, or they may indeed be the ancestors of modern humans.

Julius Nyerere, frst president of Tanzania.

Black People Verified

Former US President Barack Obama when he addressed Heads of State at the African Union Headquartes in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.Many foreigners have symbolised the African’s black skin with mental backwardness. The White race loves painting Satan black. Black magic is evil and whiteness is associated with purity and advancement. It is not a credit but discredit in the White race’s world when you are called a black sheep. It means that you are some kind of curse.

Some time ago while discussing the seemingly world-wide miserable fate of the Black Race, a Canadian man called Henry Miller was quick to say, “Irrespective of what the history of the Black race has recorded, he is fast coming out of the prescribed wood. For example, in the past and of the recent times the most talked about and quoted people in the world are black people.”
“Oh yeah?” I wondered.

Kwame Nkrumah was the first post-colonial President of Ghana.Henry Miller confronted me with a long list of black people after which he asked me, “Tell me, in Europe, America and Asia who matches Martin Luther King, Barack Obama, Oprah Winfrey, Michael Jackson, Jesse Jackson, Mohamed Ali, Nelson Mandela, Kofi Annan, Kwame Nkrumah, Julius Nyerere, Desmond Tutu, Miriam Makeba, Wangari Maathai, Wole Soyinka, Ngugi wa Thiong’o, Robert Mugabe, Muammar Ghadafi, Pele, Usain Bolt.

Unearthing Buried African Values

Julius Nyerere, frst president of Tanzania.By the time Africans states freed themselves from European colonialism, there was very little of African values, leave alone aesthetics, that Africans could proudly stand for in defence. Using Shakespeare’s expression, the Whiteman had not come to Africa to praise African values but to bury African values and promote Whiteman’s values. How much of those buried values have we uncovered up to now?

The first Presidents, in the lead Kwame Nkrumah, Julius Nyerere, Jomo Kenyatta, Kenneth Kaunda and the others were forced to start restoring and building Africa cultural values from wrong cultural foundations. The first President to tackle the subject rightly was Nyerere with his introduction of African Socialism. Kaunda talked about African Humanism but did not go far.

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Kwame Nkrumah was the first post-colonial President of Ghana.In fact, by that time the library of Whiteman’s scholarship had published lots of works arguing that Africa was devoid of History and Philosophy. However, African scholars in the independent states took up to rewriting the cultural history of Africans. The question is, how far have they gone up to now?

The answer is,they have not gone far. In fact they are still in the woods. I take several points as examples to illustrate their failure. One quarter of world languages are spoken in Africa. Find out how many African scholars have a diploma or first degree in any of the languages whereas there are virtually thousands and thousands with doctorate degree in English, French, Arabic, Spanish, Italian, Chinese!

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Kenneth Kaunda, the founding President of Zambia.The African continent can boast of having the widest varieties of food stuff in the world. Those who travel round the world know how aggressively Chinese menu has been promoted and what commercial status it has reached. What about the African massive menu?

Africa can boast of holding the largest field of traditional medicine in the world. But have our governments and scholars any devoted persons in the discovery and promotion of African medicine, African psychiatry, African psychology, African dietary? What are the consequences of that failure?

Ignoring Culture Undermines Development

By David G Maillu

Dissertation-clutching David G Maillu argues that ignoring African culture retards 'development' in all its possible manifestations.I am afraid we are on course for ignoring our cultural library and threatening our our cultural development. Instead of going forwards we are going backwards. That library holds an incredible collection of millenniums of socially and scientifically tested and successful living paradigms.

For instance, let us borrow a leaf from what happens in the Maasai community. If you steal a cow and you are caught, you earn the punishment of paying seven cows for the crime. The same goes when you steal a goat, sheep or whatever. Of course, paying seven cows is not that cheap. So, the victim cries to his family to help him raise the fine. The family responds with the assistance but on strict a condition that he should never, never repeat that mistake again. If he repeats the mistake he earns being disowned and chased away from the location or, in some cases, he gets disposed of.

In the culture we have imported religiously, you stand, as it were; that you only belong to the state. When you steal a goat you are arrested charged and imprisoned. But if you are smart, virtually you can buy justice through corruption. These days you can easily make profession out of stealing and getting away with it. The equation of your family doesn’t come in and its contribution y to national security safeguarding doesn’t come.

That explains why traditionally your family has the duty of exercising control over your social behaviour. If your family cannot contain you, it cries to your clan to help it contain you. Within that perimeter, your family would interfere when, as a married man, you resort to beating up your wife. Yes, she is your wife, but she’s your family’s wife too. You are because the family is and the family is because you are.

Within that framework, your sex is not yours exclusively. You are bound to earn your family’s punishment if you attempt to misuse or monopolize your sex. You should bear yourself with the realization that your sex is an asset to the family. The family is also capable of moving to help you solve your sexual problem.

It is a commonplace in traditional family that, for example, if the family has a married son who is mentally weak and there is fear in the family that he will end up fathering weaklings and subsequently weaken the family’s strength for its survival, the family takes a secret move to break the chain of fathering weakling. The family identifies an outside strong man and arranges for the wife to get a “seed” from him. The question of infidelity is overruled by survival necessities. This is religiously unquestionable. The outcome would benefit the family and, indirectly, benefit the survival the nuclear family. This is because a strong person within the family is good for the progress of the family. This arrangement is also applicable, going by the judgment of the family, if the husband is unable to father children with his wife.

The culture and religion we have proudly imported says that the sex of the couple belong exclusively to each other. Any deviation from that, whether for survival or for whatever reason, is a sin. It is also punishable by law. You are judged by the thermometer of your inclusive family. Your nuclear family is an engine put in place to run the collective welfare of the extended family on behalf of yourself, your extended family and community.

In other words your family is the watchdog of your nation. It is obvious what responsible role a solid family plays to the contribution of national security. This explains why in traditional settings crimes and jails do not exist. Now, what happens when you break away from the family hold in order to uphold the western concept of nuclear family where you pay tax only to the gods of individualism?

In spite of the many university graduates we are producing, in spite of the big multitudes of church worshippers flocking into churches and the big churches and mosques we are building, I am afraid, unless our social effort is founded on our cultural roots; the state is fighting a war that it will never win. Unfortunately, we are engaged in creating a culture of inhumanity and criminality in the name of civilization that, indeed, should be referred to as moral syphilisation.

Promoting African Values for Posterity

By David G Maillu

David Maillu sings, strumming his guitar, as Junxia Mbithe records it on a video camera.Recently I was confronted by one young man, let me call him Musangi who, perhaps in order to vent his frustration, argued with me sharply demanding, “Professor, what’s in these African values you people talk about which are invisible to us today anyway?”

I attempted to reduce his heat by advising him to simply address me as Maillu; but he backfired, “Why should I do that when you are one that lot?” On a light note he sarcastically said, “We look forward to that lot’s demise then we can find our own feet in our world and live happily thereafter.”

“That serious?” I asked and Musangi ridiculed, “Is your lot ashamed of getting old and becoming respectable elders? Every where I go I meet them with raven black dyed hair that they may to look young like us even when they are in your eighties?”

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From Musangi’s attack I realized something. That the old generation has gravely failed in delivering our traditional treasures to the young. That’s where the rains started beating us. Both the educated and the government should bear the blame.

Then I remembered Okot p’Bitek’s Song of Lawino in which the wife character expressed her pride is ridiculing the westernized husband. I further remembered Okot calling brides’ wedding dresses mosquito nets. Okot also asked the meaning of that rungu carried in Parliament, now spread over to be carried in parliaments of Country Governments without any explanation. Chief Justice Mutunga should be given credit for abandoning wearing that overflowing and stupid white-sheep-skin that Justice Gicheru was fond of wearing.

An epic fantasy graphic novel inspired by myths,legends, and historical events from across Africa as conceived by Kugali, a Lagos (Nigeria)-based arts outfit.The subject of “African values” is an immense subject that cannot be addressed in an article like this one. African values is the traditional cultural ship responsible for African interpretation of life and how to live that life. That ship is both the shrine and religion of the people. Period. That man indirectly was telling me we have defiled the shrine and almost become irrelevant to the present generation. Yes, there is the Kiswahili saying, Mwacha mila ni mtumwa; he who has abandoned his culture becomes a slave to other cultures. Very beautifully said.

However, on the ground we have not been promoting that culture. For example, in Kenya, we have got a Ministry of Culture that, ideally, should be the most important Ministry. But that Ministry is the most lost and toothless Ministry in the Kenyan government. Culture has been presented as watching traditional dances expressed by people dressed in skins, beating drums, jumping and the rest.

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Cultural promotion has been left to writers who, in any case, are working in hostile political climate in which they are perceived as liabilities. Notwithstanding, most of African writers run gravely short of being proud of their traditional values. That’s why they are at peace in aping foreign writers.

The government has taken a back seat in development and promotion of people’s cultural values. When Chinua Achebe wrote The Problem with Nigeria, instead of being given credit, he because the enemy of the Nigerian Government. The government was the mother and Achebe was trying to uncover his mother. The question was not what dangerous thing the mother was hiding under the dress.

The Centre for African Aesthetics GardenIn as far as promotion of African values is concerned, most African presidential regimes have utterly failed citizens. If there were courts of law for Presidents to face charges because of principally abandoning African values, they would all end in jail. But, those regimes have been terrorizing and imprisoning cultural activists.
The address should begin by answering this one million-dollar question.

What is there on the ground for the average person to make him/her feel proud of his cultural roots? When the visiting African Professor or Diplomat or tourist is travelling to Europe, Asia or America, what African values can he put on the bargaining table to show that he belongs to a civilization? He stands face-to-face with civilized people who are religiously proud of their cultural values when he is appears culturally rootless.

In nutshell African regimes and their Presidents are naked, crying to be dressed in imported clothes.

Back to my Musangi. I didn’t talk long with Musangi before I discovered that he had swallowed a couple of beers. Nonetheless, he had made an important point and was focused when he asked me, “Give me a sample of one of those values.”

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“In Maasai traditional law,” I said, “if you are caught having stolen a cow, you are sentenced to pay seven cows.” That is an effective deterrence for stopping your from stealing. Your family is involved in raising the payment. Your family is forms the checks and balances of your behavior. That is why your stealing propensity becomes highly controlled. In our imported law, your family is not the keeper of your moral register; you are on your own. If you steal a goat you will be arrested, charged and jailed. Which method is better in upholding morality – the imported or the traditional one?”

He agreed that the traditional one was superior. He opened the door for me to add that the integrity of the family is the backbone of African social order; and that a government is a replica of an extended family. The social fabric is broken in the nuclear the checks and balances of the extended family are removed. If the government catered for the full rights of the extended family, the government would harvest grand social order that would reduce sharply domestic disputes and need for the police force and prisons. In that traditional setting crimes were effectively obliterated from the communities and prisons did not even exist.

As things stand at this stage, it looks that the writer is the only messiah that could help in the recovery of those fast vanishing African values. His government is either suffering from both amnesia and shortsightedness. That’s awfully serious because the rot of a fish begins from the head.

Adopt Barrack Obama as President of Union of African States

By David G Maillu

Open Letter to the White HouseThis is an open-letter book to President Barack Obama and to the White House from a Pan-African stand point. It is an unorthodox call for a noble mission in challenging  African to take the next step to save African states by picking up things from where Kwame Nkrumah and his colleagues left them regarding their call to Pan-Africanism.

Today, the Continent has a shadow government called African Union (criticized as club for dictators). It brings together the assembly of 54 gravely poor and shaky states. However, the 54 nations can come out of their economic dungeon through creation of one nation. But as things stand out today, the problem is for the awfully-divided African states to get a compromise candidate to become the first President of UAS. Tribalism, sectionalism, individualism, fatalism and the other political evils bring down any suggested candidate.

Retired President Obama at his prime age of 55 can certainly become the only compromise candidate that can pull African states from the mouth of economic dragons. Africa, and the world, cannot afford the extraordinary powerhouse in Barrack Obama’s mind to waste away.

Former US President Barack Obama when he addressed Heads of State at the African Union Headquartes in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.Barrack Obama becoming of the President of UAS will place the United States of America indirectly as the biggest economic beneficiary; since he would be USA’s extraordinary human donation to Africa.

Geographically, psychologically, demographically and socially, there are 6 important points that compel Africans to become one nation, failure to which Africa would goes for dogs. 1: Africa is the home of Black People.  2: Black people share a common history of being subjected to slave holocaust. 3: Black People share common history in being colonized by White People. 4: Africans have been the most exploited human species by White People. 5: The untapped African natural resources are most threatened with exploitation by White People. 6: The unique Blackman species, which is a minority of the human beings, is threatened with extinction and is in dire need for self-conservation.

Africa has become a no-man’s land with regard to the forces of disoriented foreign ideologies and economic exploitations. The scramble for African natural resources and the neo-colonial economic bonanza have thrown African nations into cultures of confusion and uncontrollable corruption. Least to emphasize, the Federal Government would bring an end to the destructive current plague of tribalism, sectionalism, small-thinking, corruption and enclaves of dictatorship that are rampant in the present African states.

Over and above, if Africa became a single nation, it would benefits world-donor countries tremendously. It would bring to halt colossal foreign aids that have taken central stage since the post-colonial era. Collectively, African states – which appear permanently hungry for foreign aids and entanglements – have continuously been receiving incredibly colossal fortunes of various kinds in aid forms. Unfortunately, due to lack of accountability, a lot of the money has ended into pockets of individuals.

For historical reasons, Africa has been, and will continue to be, a very expensive continent to donor countries.  However, that material aid could be saved to benefit the population of the donor country, if donor countries participated in helping Africa to become one nation capable of harnessing its resources on behalf of Africans and on behalf of the human race because, after all, Africa belongs to the human race and Africa is part of the five-continent-children of the world. Sister continents bear noble responsibility in helping Africa come out of the dungeon.

With its present operation, Africa is a liability to the world. The refugees flocking into Europe from Africa may illustrate one of those liabilities. Yet, the continent is the wealthiest in the world with regard to untapped natural resources.