March 8, 2020

For Afro-Scope Productions (By Harry Agina)


I am Harry Agina. Once upon a time, the entire world was dominated by one culture—the European Culture. Anything that was not European was considered illegitimate or bad; indeed, evil. “Humanism itself was frequently nothing more than a Euro-centric concept of what was good for the world,” said Dr. Molefi Kete Asante, an African-American Educationist and Communications expert who changed his original “slave names” to Ghanaian names after tracing his ancestry to Ghana.

Thanks to activists such as Molefi Asante, the world is now better informed; intercultural tolerance is rife, and, the notion of the legitimacy and equality of all cultures of the world is trending. When two different cultures meet in our contemporary world, there are acceptable rules of engagement, or principles that guide their interaction. The rules include mutual respect between the interacting cultures, and this is based on the notion that all cultures of the world are legitimate, and, importantly, desirable. In the New Order, Humanism is no longer a Eurocentric view of the world; all humans are now accepted to be equal in the eye of our creator. It is now a global consensus that all cultures of the world are equally legitimate. However, this does not mean that everything is all uhuru now; no, sir! There are still die-hard Euro-supremacy elements in the world.

Besides, there is one problem bigger than the Europe-supremacy elements in the west—the Africans in Africa! Yes indeed; Africans are now Africa’s worst enemies. Africans are supposed to feel good that the world has finally agreed that African culture and the African race are legitimate. But, no, sir! Instead, the more the rest of the world embraces the African culture, the more the Africans reject it. The contemporary white man is telling us that he now knows that his forefather was in error to say that the African Culture was illegitimate or inferior; but some Africans are now saying that the contemporary white man is wrong. What irony!

Ignorant Africans are virtually insisting that the 17th century white man who conceived that the African culture was evil, indeed, that Africans were sub-human, was correct. Africans believe that we must destroy our ways of life and behave like the Jews, or white people, or Chinese, maybe Indians—indeed, anything but African. Many of us are annihilating the African culture in the name of Christ! The ignorant bunch claim that they have seen ‘The Light,’ and the light reveals that the African traditions, principles, and cultural artifacts are all evil. The light in question, if you ask them, is the word of God according to the bible and the teachings of Christ—absolute nonsensical interpretation of the bible!

My argument here is that whosoever believes that Christ taught against, or the bible condemns Culture, is very misinformed! I really don’t give a hoot who or what that person is; he or she has a warped interpretation of the Holy Bible and the teachings of Christ. The misguided born-again Christians are erroneously equating the entire African culture to “idol worship”! Christ couldn’t have taught against cultural traditions; no society exists without sets of traditions and principles, which we call culture. In fact, Christ did attend some cultural events, such as the annual Jewish Passover festival. He actually encouraged traditional events; otherwise he would not have performed his first miracle of turning water into wine to support a traditional marriage ceremony at Cana in Galilee (John Chapter 2). Naturally, Christ did condemn some bad traditions, and faulted the mode of the application of others, without condemning them in entirety.

I do recognize that you may not take my opinion on this matter seriously, because I am just Harry Agina, a non-clergy sinner; but maybe you will consider the opinion of the late Pope John Paul II, who declared during his reign that “PEOPLES SHOULD BE TAUGHT RELIGION ACCORDING TO THEIR CULTURES.” The Pope said that WE MUST FUSE THE GOOD TRADITIONS OF THE AFRICAN CULTURE WITH CHRISTIAN PRINCIPLES, AND USE OUR CULTURAL ELEMENTS TO GLORIFY GOD. Unfortunately, a lot of Africans have no respect for the African cultural values; hence Pope John Paul II’s declaration is wasted on them!

The African adaptation flaw is not just about religion, mind you; we generally fail to recognize the need to adapt any foreign concept to suit our cultural and regional realities. We, erroneously, tend to copy and practice foreign concepts exactly as they are in the foreign cultures. When we copy any concept from the Eskimos in faraway cold Alaska, for instance, we fail to adapt the concept to suit the African hot weather.

Our forefathers were guided by sets of Afro-Cultural traditions and customs, which have defined and distinguished us as the people of Africa. They did not envisage an African society to be turned into a society with European or American ways of life as the misguided born-again Christians are advocating and perpetrating now. They are on a mission to wipe out all elements of the African culture in favor of Jewish culture as established in Christian doctrines.

As advocated by the late Pope John Paul II, African Christianity will get better when we realize that everything that the Jews did/do in faraway Jewish land is not necessarily suitable for Africa and the Africans. Africans must learn to employ African cultural elements to glorify God, and not condemn them as “idols.” A good example is the cultural entertainment concept known as masquerade. African Christians, especially Nigerian Christians, condemn masquerades as evil representatives of the devil himself—utter nonsense!!!

The concept of masquerade exists all over the world in various forms. The Chinese, for instance, have their thousand-foot dragon masquerades. Of course, like everything else in the world, there are bad masquerades, as well as good masquerades, because, there are bad people who get into the masquerade costumes and do evil deeds. But then, there are also evil people in Christian churches who do evil things every day in the guise of Christianity. Nobody is talking about abolishing Christianity because of those evil Christians.

Besides, even if we destroy all the masquerade costumes and ban the entertainment art of masquerading in Africa; the evil people would simply go about doing their evil deeds in different forms, period!!! The late Pope John Paul II encouraged us to employ the masquerade concept to glorify God. All we have to do is give the singing masquerades some Christian songs that glorify God. Everything in the world belongs to God, until humanity gives them to the devil through devilish applications…No Bullshitting!!!

(By Harry Agina)


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