Archive for the ‘BLACK PEOPLE’ Category
YORUBA CULTURAL NATIONALISM -MOVEMENT SINGLELY CARRIED ONLY BY THE YORUBAS ON THE ENTIRE AFRICAN CONTINENT TO FIGHT WhITE COLONIALISM ! -FROM THE NIGERIAN TRIBUNE NEWSPAPERDecember 30, 2013
FROM THE NIGERIAN TRIBUNE NEWSPAPER
Yoruba cultural nationalism
Written by Diran Apata Sunday, 22 December 2013
A few days ago, in a leisurely discussion involving many Yoruba men, women and children, I mentioned the movement of Yoruba Cultural Nationalism of about one-hundred years ago. Most of my hearers had no idea what I was talking about. That is what always happens whenever I happen to mention this movement. It is painful that our people, especially our youths, know nothing about it – painful because the story of the Yoruba Cultural Nationalist Movement, spanning the last years of the 19th century and the first years of the 20th,is one of the most glorious stories in the modern history of the Yoruba Nation. It is a story that we should all know inside and out – a story that our children should be told over and over at home and at school.
The following is the background to it. From about 1885, various European countries came scrambling for territorial empires all over Africa. Peoples after peoples of Africa fell to the European forces. The British, the French, the Germans, the Portuguese, the Belgians, the Dutch, all carved out empires for themselves. Most of Yorubaland became British possession (later to be included in Nigeria), and the rest became French and German possessions (later to be included in what are now Benin and Togo Republics).
But the conquest of Africa was not only military and territorial; it was also massively psychological. Usually, small European armies were taking over African territories, because they were armed with better weapons, or because the African nations were not fully aware about what was happening to them, and because they did not unite to defend their homelands. Naturally, the European colonialists became enormously arrogant. Everywhere, they proclaimed the doctrine that Africans were culturally and intellectually inferior to Europeans, that Africans were incapable of developing any civilisation, and that it was the duty of Europeans to bring civilisation to Africans.
These attitudes gradually infected all aspects of European relationships with Africans all over tropical Africa. The growing disrespect of Africans even spread into the Christian missions. In the mission churches and schools, it was now being said that, to become a Christian, or to be regarded as educated or civilised, one must give up one’s native culture. One must give up such things as one’s indigenous name, clothing, manners, and language, and take on European ones. Even the Yoruba clergy working in the missions began to experience serious disrespect and discrimination from the mission bodies that they served.
For a start, some Yoruba Christian converts in Lagos did respond by trying to become “black Europeans”. They hoped that doing so would earn them acceptance into the “civilised” British community in Lagos. Many of these changed their names to European names. Some others adopted European dress items such as the stove-pipe hat, the feathered bonnet, high-heeled shoes, and gloves, etc. Some young persons who went to study in Britain returned home in only two or three years and claimed that they could no longer understand or speak the Yoruba language.
However, a powerful Yoruba reaction to all these rapidly brewed, and it soon became a great movement – the movement of Yoruba Cultural Nationalism. As it grew, most of those who had adopted aspects of European culture gave them up and returned to their Yoruba culture. There had been newspapers in Lagos for decades, and these newspapers joined excitedly in the movement. “We are Africans first (or we are Yoruba first) before we are Christians” became popular among Christians in Lagos.
This movement of Yoruba Cultural Nationalism produced very many effects. In popular culture and fashions, Yoruba Cultural Nationalism promoted a great pride in Yoruba clothes and dresses. The Yoruba way of dressing became very popular indeed. It became more attractive as new styles and modifications were added.
Yoruba men and women serving in the Lagos colonial service responded in their own way. Many of them resigned their jobs and started private businesses, schools and churches of their own.
In the Christian missions, the Yoruba clergy responded by introducing Yoruba culture into church services and church life. For instance, they introduced Yoruba music and songs, which the missions had earlier regarded as pagan. Some of the Yoruba clergy even went further than that. They withdrew from the service of the European mission organizations and started an African Church Movement. This created separate African churches in the various denominations – African Anglican churches, African Methodist churches, and African Baptist churches. The African churches brought Yoruba culture into the Christian church in a big way. They also wrote Yoruba hymns and published hymn books. But another movement soon started which went even further than the African Church Movement to integrate Yoruba culture into Christianity. This was the Aladura Movement. The Aladura Movement developed into a number of main branches – the Christ Apostolic Church, the Cherubim and Seraphim Church, and the Celestial Church of Christ.
Yoruba Cultural Nationalism also promoted a lot of interest in the study of Yoruba culture and history. Many books were written in these years on both subjects. And many literate Yoruba people wrote the traditional stories of their towns – some in English, and many in the Yoruba language. Lessons in Yoruba history and culture were introduced into schools, including the mission schools.
Yoruba Cultural Nationalism created a powerful Yoruba national consciousness. It unified the modern Yoruba elite for service to their nation. That unity was to express itself in many productive ways later – in the various Development Associations of the 1920s and 1930s, in the highly influential Egbe Omo Oduduwa from 1945, and in the first-rate government of the Western Region in the 1950s. It also charted great modern ambitions for the Yoruba nation – ambitions to acquire education, and to achieve modern economic progress, prosperity and power in the world. In these many ways, the movement of Yoruba Cultural Nationalism laid some of the foundations for Yoruba achievements and progress in the modern world.
All in all, Yoruba people did not merely challenge European cultural arrogance; they suppressed it quite successfully in their own country. Nowhere else in Black Africa, among no other Black African nation, did the Europeans experience another powerful cultural challenge like this.
A British colonial official who served for years in Nigeria in the 1950s testified to the later-day effects of Yoruba Cultural Nationalism. He wrote in his memoir that, in his experience, the Yoruba were one African people who never treated the British, or any other Europeans, as superiors or “as gods”. He wrote that the Yoruba are a people with “personal dignity and political finesse”. “In my experience” he added, “the Yoruba regarded themselves as superior to the British – – -. The Yoruba were often highly intelligent and they taunted the British with sending inferior people to Nigeria.” He also added that many other Nigerian peoples could usually not look the white man in the eyes, but that even the lowliest Yoruba servant tended to carry himself with confidence and pride.
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Published in Diran Apata’s Sunday message
AFRICA!-MOTHER AFRICA!-BACK TO AFRICA-GHANA IS A NATURAL CHOICE FOR MANY BLACKAMERIKKKANS! -FROM THEGRIO.COM- O SE O ABURO MI ZAINABU AYIRA O!November 7, 2013
O SE O ABURO MI ZAINABU AYIRA!
Travel and Leisure
Why Ghana is fast becoming a hub for African-Americans
by Ezinne Ukoha | November 2, 2013 at 11:00 AM
Local chiefs wait for visiting Dutch Crown Prince Willem Alexander and Princess Maxima at Elmina Castle April 15, 2002 in Ghana. From Elmina the Dutch shipped over 50,000 slaves to Surinam and an unknown number to other destinations in North and South America. (Photo by Michel Porro/Getty Images)
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We are now living in a time when Africa evokes images of vibrancy and growth instead of poverty, war and struggle.
In this context, Ghana is fast becoming a mecca for black Americans who are looking for lucrative opportunities in a new environment. According to recent reports, about 10,000 African-Americans visit Ghana yearly. Currently almost 3,000 American blacks reside in the capital, Accra, the major hub of Ghana.
Signs of a growing trend
While these numbers are not huge, they are still significant. Almost six years ago there were only 1,000 African-American expatriates living in Ghana, so clearly the numbers are rising steadily.
What has attracted them? The fact is this burgeoning nation has consistently enjoyed a peaceful political climate without many threats of internal or external strife since it gained its independence from the British back in 1957. The temperate weather also makes it an attractive choice.
But most importantly, there are elements that could resonate with anyone seeking a more laid back lifestyle. The pristine beaches, affordable living and a sense of spiritual calm that permeates the landscape makes Ghana an attractive alternative to the proverbial American “rat race.”
Ghana is living up to that hype, in addition to being a land of economic opportunity and bountiful resources.
Why relocate to Ghana?
Most Americans are starting to grasp the notion that they may have better luck financially in another country. As the American economy continues to falter, some blacks are finding that places new and unfamiliar could challenge them in ways leading to upward mobility.
Monies saved and invested elsewhere can yield bigger dividends. The educational attainment of many African-Americans can be put to immediate use in countries that have not been able to offer their populations similar luxuries until recently.
Much has been written about American blacks moving to South Africa for these very reasons, but I would like to suggest Ghana be added to the short list of locales for those considering planting new roots in the Motherland.
Technology, teaching and more opportunities
There are a plethora of companies in Ghana eager to recruit foreign applicants. If you are lucky enough to be well versed in all things digital, securing employment with a well-established technology firm is a strong possibility. Organizations such as Blogging Ghana have created platforms for interactivity within the social media realm that are reaching a global audience. Employees of such firms will have the opportunity to be proponents for change in an emerging field.
Or you can more easily start a family business. More than half of the African-Americans that reside in Accra are entrepreneurs. Local chiefs are often more than willing to grant prized land and other resources to budding entrepreneurs interested in real estate development, or other commercial ventures. This could also lead to a lucrative life in farming – or “agribusiness” – for those interested in a totally new, yet viable way of making a living.
Teaching is another highly desirable profession. English is the official language of Ghana; thus, entering academia as a teacher of the language could be one means of entrance into a coveted class. Plus, there are many supports extended to foreign pupils and the qualified staff who instruct them. You and your family could benefit from this aspect of the economy as native speakers.
Realistic challenges to immigration
But nothing comes easy. Newly minted migrants have encountered some issues adjusting to the regulatory patterns and overall atmosphere of their adopted homes. As progressive as Ghana is compared to their regional neighbors, there are still some difficulties that arise when it comes to everyday comfort. Coming from a Western culture creates certain expectations, and the thought of not having stable electricity, or constant running water can be a pain. Yes, this does happen, and may be a deal-breaker.
In addition, government agencies can also be hard to work with and in some cases they can prolong the process of becoming a citizen, which will limit your access to certain jobs. But, for many recent immigrants, aside from the “malaria issue” (which unfortunately is still the norm), settling in Accra isn’t nearly as intimidating as one would imagine.
Most importantly, acquaint yourself with the history of this very diverse country. Many Ghanaians are well traveled and knowledgeable about world affairs, so you have to be able to hold your own.
Weighing options for change
You have to look before you leap, so it’s advisable to visit first before you make such a drastic decision. You should ideally be armed with a well-drafted blueprint of what your vocation will be and have a few promising options lined up to assuage any doubts. Yes, it can take a considerable amount of time to achieve residency, but if you like Ghana and want to take a risk in your quest for a better life, you will likely succeed.
Ghana is the perfect choice if you are looking to experience living in Africa, because it has managed to take advantage of global opportunities, which has allowed the country to develop a comfortable level of stability. African-Americans will enjoy making a life in a place that will make them feel connected and celebrated in a way that they probably don’t fully enjoy in the U.S. as “minorities.”
Plus, you don’t have to be a millionaire in order to live quite decently. Moreover, there are resources available, like The African American Association of Ghana (AAGG), to help make your transition a smooth one.
Overall, you will be living among a people who are just as excited to get to know you as you are to know them. Ghanaians are very hospitable, which makes it easy to make friends and quickly build a network, which is ultimately the key to survival in any foreign country.
That’s what makes Ghana a welcoming and worthwhile choice for African-Americans who might be thinking of relocating to a new land of opportunity.
Follow Ezinne Ukoha on Twitter @nilegirl.