The authentic African worldview is holistically simple. Every aspect of the African life is centered on the principles of love; for one's family, respect for all, duty to one's self / family, the community and religion.
The core of an African’s philosophy is family. This simple, but yet deeply complex principle forms the foundation of every African. The family is where the children are brought up, they become infused with the community and have to take up their social responsibilities while upholding the family name. Hence, the upbringing of the child is seen as paramount to the African.
The child is brought up in a manner which befits his immediate surroundings. In the home, respect for tradition is mostly the first things taught. The African child is taught where he is from, his tribe and clan, his language, his people and their history; the child is taught who he is. After which, respect for his elders is drilled into him, to be able to have the patience to listen to elders and try to take their advice seriously.
Elders, older people who have lived life and experienced the best and worst of what life has to offer are very much revered in the traditional African culture. They are seen as holders of wisdom and knowledge. What you cannot learn in a classroom, you can learn at the feet of your grandfather or mother.They are considered the custodians of history by African philosophers.
After respect, the child is taught discipline. Not just the “spare the rod and spoil the child” type of discipline, but the discipline to be able to identify the duties and responsibilities he ought to undertake. The African society is built on the foundation of family and community. Each family is a part of the community, and therefore, each member of the family unit has a role to play in the building and uplifting of the community. If a child isn’t taught or at least guided to identify what roles he has to play in the community, he becomes a nuisance to the community. He is taught not to shy away from responsibilities, so he learns to work hard. At the same, he is well educated on what happens if he doesn’t behave as expected.
Formal education since the colonial times has been one of the main pillars of an African child’s upbringing. He is encouraged to learn at school, to perform well in order for him to become a better person, for his own sake, the sake of his family and community. A child that performs well at school is always the pride of the family. And the community shares in the pride of the family, because it is believed that when a child/ children of a family succeeds, the community by extension is also a success.
Your family molds you, while your community makes you.
Religion is a deep and serious aspect of the African psyche. Africans are generally deeply spiritual people. As Red Indians believe in spirit animals and ancestral spirits, so Africans believe in the supernatural. However, the contact with Europeans brought about a slow but gradual westernization of the African Spiritual practices. Christianity, Theism, Atheism and other foreign spiritual concepts replaced the traditional religious practices. This changed the way the child was brought up spiritually. The church replaced the shrine. This also made cultural indoctrination for the African child a little bit difficult because, most African cultures and traditions have deeply embedded in them, the religious and spiritual practices of the people. You cannot break Kola nut without offering a piece to the deities of the land.
However, in modern times, the child is brought up in the ways of moral rightness according to the religious practices of the parents. He is taught what is wrong and what is right. And he is taught that he should also teach his own children, what he has learnt.
The child is the most important unit of the African society. He is the future of the community, destined to become a leader and a role model. That is why much emphasis is put on discipline during his upbringing.
And finally, the African child is taught to be free. He is encouraged to socialize, to interact with his peers and to have respect for their views and opinions. He is taught to love, to appreciate and to be patient. He is taught how to share, to be his brother’s keeper. He is taught to be welcoming and accommodating,to be himself, to be simple but yet, deeply African.
All photos shot by Busayo El Adekunle. You can visit his Instagram page @kodedkrationz to view more of his amazing pictures.