The grave impact of Westernization can be seen at our every turn, proof of which has birthed a radical decline in culture, traditions and value systems.
Pre-modern day Africa had witnessed a proud display of her rich cultural heritage through food, culture, food, crafts, ceremonies, music, arts, fashion, value and belief system, as well as other distinct practises. Africans reveled in the glory of their uniqueness, kinship and serenity. Deeply-rooted pre- colonial ethnic institutions shaped the way of life of the people prior to colonialism.
But with European influence came a drastic shift in mindset, a sudden distaste of her own heritage, shredded and belittled in their eyes, westernized views held absolute supremacy, an unspoken law which held “more reasoning” and non existent flaws. Superiority complex took centre stage, while identity slowly began to be eroded. The entrance of western influence saw a blunt disapproval of African clothing structure as well, hence a seemingly irreversible evolution of dressing styles and fabric choice was ushered in.
No longer did Aso oke, Boubous, Kaftans, Kanga, Chitengi, Jelabiya, Dashiki and the likes hold great fascination, they were now gleefully traded with Victorian dresses, full length trousers and shirts. Notably, the Kente, Ghanaian textile,
made of inter-woven silk fabric survived the downgrade and has now become a staple cloth, easily recognisable worldwide.
Ironically, in more recent times Africa is striving to rid itself from the dictates of the western world to solely own self in entirety. There has been frantic efforts by government and its parastatals to bring back her past glories, shrink influence of westernization and put her history and heritage on the world map. Indigenous languages are being taught in schools, citizens are being encouraged to do a proud splash of her local fabrics, government workers in Nigeria don on traditional attires on Fridays.
With the arrival of Formal Education in Africa, the widespread tradition of donning on school uniforms as institutionalized by the whites had been the norm, however while some states in Nigeria had years defied the norm, replacing “English uniforms” with locally made African attires as school uniforms, recently, Ghana made massive headlines when they headed in that direction, with the implementation local African attires, specifically ‘Ankara’ as school uniforms in order to promote the embracing of her richness of culture diversification to the global stage.
While the move has in fact been warmly received in some quarters, others are against it with the argument of no skin tone being able to claim a 100% ownership to any fabric right from inception.
But fact remains, with the adoption of locally made fabrics, Africa is making a solid statement to the world, no longer will they be governed by dictates of external bodies. No longer would apologies be made for who they are. With pride they stand as a people, independent and proud of their roots, their identity and yes, we say it’s about time!