The Africans: A Triple Heritage: 2. A Legacy of Lifestyles *MOVIE
This award winning film , narrated by scholar Ali Mazrui , looks at the three main elements of influence on African heritage : Islam , Western culture and the indigenous heritage . A Legacy of Lifestyles ‘ takes a closer look at the structure of family in different African cultures and specifically examines the role of women , the role of men , polygamy and the impact of modernization on the role of women
The first scene looks at indigenous traditions of Nigeria where a baby is ceremonially scarred so that his human soul can be prevented from being scarred [banner_entry_middle]
. Mazrui points out that they do this because they love their children , contrasted to a Westerner ‘s view that cutting a child is abuse . Nigerians believe they have a strong moral code because of their strong ties to their ancestry . Ancestry is included in a child ‘s life from the very day they are named because the naming ceremony includes offerings to the ancestors . In the Nigerian family a man can have many wives and the wives all strive to have many children so that the adults can be remembered after death for a sort of immortality in their ancestral roles
In these Nigerian villages of people such as the Tiv , democracy is truly grassroots where issues are brought to solution through discussion and group consensus . In Nigerian villages women are considered fertile in two ways : they make the land produce food and they produce children According to Mazrui , the African family is more real of a social institution than tribalism or governments . There is no such word as cousin , only brother and sister and children of extended family that can not be taken care of are adopted and cared for like their own immediate family . The Tiv did not buy and sell land but instead they shared it they had no formal government . Extended family could acquire the family more land as their needs required . After the first of the century when the British invaded Africa the Tiv were introduced to real government and the cash economy which dramatically changed the way they lived
With the onset of British rule came the Emirates or African rulers who were put into place by the British . The British attempted to leave most African ways intact however they were against such practices as polygamy but because African society was influenced equally three-ways by Islam British culture and indigenous practices the practice of polygamy won out even among Africans who practiced British religions such as Catholicism . When examined , this family was strong on the base of loyalty and trust and the husband with two wives felt that this was the only way to reach his true psychological equilibrium
Another conflict that Africa has faced is diminishing resources . The Shona people of ancient Zimbabwe are a perfect example of a ripe prosperous African civilization that put too many demands on the environment and perished . Mazrui transitions to say that although the Shona civilization collapsed , the African family continued and faces the same… [banner_entry_footer]
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