Is civilisation in African context misunderstood?

Civilisation is much more and deeper than the writer elaborates here in this piece.


RE: “Civilisation and civility” (The New Times, August 31).

Civilisation is much more and deeper than the writer elaborates here in this piece.

Those who have understood and heartedly embraced the “western civilisation” are those who have progressed and developed as of recent, and thus, could provide their people with a vital space, both physical and moral, among the nations.



I think Mukamwiza is confusing “civilisation” with “poverty levels”. I am convinced that Africa has never had civilisational problems, but technology.

My understanding of civilisation is that it is not about economy, but culture.

Our ancestors had a very rich culture and they were civilised. That is the meaning of “ubupfura”. That means they had their own way of decent life, lifestyle, dressing code, social and moral values, administrative structures, defence and economy were well developed.

When colonialists and missionaries arrived, with their technology—which we can’t claim of possessing—they divided societies and undermined all the existing structures with their concept of “divide and rule”. This destroyed Africa.

Whereas Africans had values of social protection and social cohesion, Europeans destroyed the social fabric, looted any kind of resources they found, and they malnourished many Africans who still believe they can be better only in the West.

Such people can be found in all classes, not only the illiterate. The struggle continues.

Ladislas Ngendahimana


Oh absolutely! This is akin to the hunter claiming superiority over a lion he can only tame or put down with the aid of a spear/gun. Yes guile and foxy he might be admittedly clever enough not to try to exaggerate his superiority lest he might easily be tempted try to strangle the lion with his own bare hands instead.

So we need context here. The lion will always remain mightier than the hunter on even terms. Teach a lion how to shoot a bow and all hunters and poachers will revert back to a full-blown vegetarian diet.

It’s an information/knowledge-cum-technological advancement claim the west is trying to sell here. Civilisation in the whole—a totally different ball game altogether.

Ggwanga Mujje


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