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The Heart Of African Identity

Heart Of Identity 


Recently I was pondering on the legitimacy of what we consider to be African what we call the African Heritage and who is an Africa? Identity is everything in this world of Information and Technology.  Africa with the background of colonization and how the colonisers stripped off its identity and gave them  new ones, much was lost and intertwined and influenced by their philosophies. Thus we are in a quest to rediscover who is an Africa and flash to light the identity crisis in Africa

Our languages were stolen degraded to nothing, African values and philosophies seen as barbaric. How many African countries have indigenous languages as official languages, next to the language of their colonisers? Amongst our youth (the future), how many of us can speak the languages of our forefathers?


 I know quite a number of us can, and therefore this reality is not true for all of us especially in countries like South Africa and Zimbabwe, where there are multiple languages stipulated in the Constitution and where people commonly speak indigenous languages besides English.

 But, how many of us can boast of such (especially the so-called educated populace, the driving force of society)? And how much is being done to push this cultural agenda in countries/societies? In what do they boast in as educated, it is as if they have been recycled to be an African Hybrids of the day being Politics of the recycled lot carrying an ideology that is foreign to its people.
Our minds were stolen. How much do we learn about pre-colonial Africa? Our former civilisations have gone into obscurity.

The African identity crisis is a very complex and somewhat complicated issue. It is not merely an issue of race, the ethnic background or culture of an individual. African identity surely must be more than just pigmentation politics, especially when we live in such a diverse country and continent. Both black and white can relate to the notion of being African after all if you are born on the African soils then technically you are African, right?.

The interchanging use of the term black and African is more frequent. It’s almost as if it is incorrect to refer to someone as just ‘black’ but yet subtle and politically correct to say ‘Black African’. What then is the true in-depth essence of being African?

The civil society of today, both old and young, are extremely influenced by the modernized ideas of Western culture through globalism. And I am not saying that I blame MTV for this. The African cultural beliefs and practices seem to be fading out with the older generation. Of course the youth may somewhat feel that they have an identity crisis.

In his recent radio interview, the former president Mr. Thabo Mbeki remarked on a concern raised by the youth of South Africa. Mbeki said that the youth of this country have an identity crisis; the African Identity Crisis. He made mention to how the youth described black African as always having been ‘victims’; victims of slavery, victims of colonialism and victims of apartheid. 

This projection of the African identity seemingly made young people feel somewhat uncomfortable to be associated to it. Now history cannot be changed overnight, however entrenched the legacy may seem to be. Rather take pride in the knowledge that you are born of people who did not tolerate oppression.

In resolving the African identity crisis more complication is presented by the vicious and seemingly contagious acts of xenophobia spreading across the South African borders. Since some may discriminate against own fellow black Africans, does this then mean that South Africans have their own identity which segregates them from the entire continent?

Being African is not only defined or limited to race, history, culture or ones geographic location in the continent. The borders that separate us were once artificial and in actual fact may still literally be. What defines us as Africans is much deeper than that. Its the pride we take in being a people of the African soil. Who bear the scars of the past and soldier on into the future embracing our diversity.

Africans must take pride in the African history for it have shaped who Africans are  today it is a part of our  legacy. Take pride in the African culture of Ubuntu and further appreciate all the heroes and heroines of the African soil, who laid down their lives for freedom. Thus taking pride in knowing our identity as an African. It must be clear that church did not come to replace who we are as Africans and to point that all that is African is evil or backward but rather to confirm our being as Africans.
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