Embracing culture doesn’t make you uncivilised

It’s extremely disappointing when a person determined to uphold their culture is looked at as backward or uncivilised. New trends also have an origin but considering them more worthy than our own cultural practices just makes us hypocrites.
Doreen Umutesi
Doreen Umutesi

It’s extremely disappointing when a person determined to uphold their culture is looked at as backward or uncivilised. New trends also have an origin but considering them more worthy than our own cultural practices just makes us hypocrites.

In fact, some traditions are considered bizarre and outdated. It’s understandable that culture is not static but if one listens to cultural music, they should not be termed ‘local’ or unlearned.  Listening to that kind of music, gives you lessons of the ancient times, thus becoming even more knowledgeable, rather than being uncivilized.

For example, today a Mohawk hair style is considered stylish, but if one decided to have the Amasuzu hair style (ancient Rwandan hair cut), they would immediately be looked at as weird,  and backward.

I don’t want to step on anyone’s toes but it’s important to be proud of who you are than try to impress others by denouncing your background or history. It’s everyone’s role to safeguard their culture and traditional values  Our rich heritage and unique traditions define us.  

For instance, in the ancient times, Rwandans lived together and solved their problems communally, today countries come to Rwanda to learn from the different models of solving issues such as cleanliness, thanks to Umuganda (community work), Gacaca courts and all these traditions were put in place by our forefathers. They collectively appreciated their traditions and upheld them higher than any other foreign practices such as religion.

With the 21st century Rwandan society faced with a number of problems that are attributed to assimilated social changes as a result of civilization and technological advancements, it’s challenging to try to change the perception that embracing cultural traits is an uncivilized act.

That is why we currently see the youth walking, talking and dressed like they are fresh from Los Angeles. Civilization is great, and I agree, we do benefit from it, but let’s not soil our culture all in the name of advancement.

 

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