Saturday, May 10, 2008


Traditional culture is still a huge part of many African societies

by Giftypearl Abenaab
Contributing Columnist

Culture by nature is very dynamic and goes beyond music, dance, food and clothes. It encompasses people's values, beliefs, attitudes and perceptions. In today's era where the world is now a global village and 'Global partnership for development' i preached, there is the need to connect cultures.

Connecting Cultures is a current phenomenon where people from different backgrounds are linked together with the aim of exploring the different cultures. The British Council coined a project “Belongings”- a cultural exchange project which seeks to explore culture, identity and to build understanding between Africa and the UK.

I got the opportunity to gather the thoughts, feelings and experience of some of the young people who participated in this cultural exchange project and i thought i could share it with “Maadwen” readers.

“As i said goodbyee to my parents at Glasgow airport tears filled my eyes and i was not really sure of the journey i was going to take. it was not just a physical other words, i was not only leaving one country and continent to another but i was going on a cultural voyage. a self discovery journey. When i alighted at Kotoka International Airport, everything seemed so different! the people, the language, the weather etc even the air felt different!. i wondered if i could survive because it was the very fiirst time i was going to leave away from my family and close pals and it was my first time i was going to see Africa! After my two week stay with my colleagues in Ghana i learnt some values- hopsitality and politeness which i am taking home as my belongings. i can now boldly boast that i have had a practical experience of the Ghanaian culture which is quite different from what the media portray. I now appreciate culture and i think it is very important to explore each other's culture” Sarah from Glasgow.

I copied this from Maj's journal:

“My name is Majid Bashir and I am 22 years old studying in Business in Paisley University.
I came to Ghana as the 2nd part of the Belongings Project with a group of eight other young people. I cannot explain how much I have enjoyed myself and how much I miss the country and my family in Ghana. We were taken care of very well and we met with chiefs from different villages and districts and we also got to play football against the Obracherie team, which we won 2-1!!
I had various meetings with local and national radio stations and even had the opportunity to be interviewed by GTV live on the breakfast show!
We visited various schools Cape Coast, Obracherie and others where we had the chance to work with young people and also share some conversations.

I have had the best experience of my life in Ghana, staying there for two full weeks and having the chance to understand, see, hear and being part of different cultures is one of the things I will always remember. Ghana is a country full of love and peace and is a place where people are always smiling. The warmth I felt from the people is unexplainable and also unforgettable. My family in Ghana taught us everything there is to know in Ghana and also taught me some Pigeon English! This is still something I try and practice in the UK.

Mepa chaow, ye fremi Maj Kofi Baboni Baku! As you can see I also learnt a little of the Ghananian language. It is very difficult to explain my experience as everything was so very new to us and different, I have forgot to mention the weather, which I absolutely loved! The sunshine, the warmth, the humidity was just truly amazing. Never say that Africans are underdeveloped. To me you are developed because of your attitude and beliefs.

I am going to finish with something I learnt from my brothers Gideon and Prosper in the Ghananian Language:
“Ghana Yeme krome, Meya Ghana Ni”

One participant from Africa had this to say “ i was wondering what the English culture-people, food, whether accent etc was like as i sat in the plane headding towards the west. i wonder if discrimination and racism really still exist and how i was going to cope with white young people i never seen or met. After two weeks, my colleagues from Africa and those from the west had glued to each other. i experienced sweet friendship, learnt warm attitude and caring hearts. Almost every minute i hear some one ask me “are you okay?'. Their culture of neatness, punctuality is what i took home as my belongings.

Dear Maadwen reader, wouldn't it be wonderful if we connect local cultures to bridge the gap between the various ethnic groups in Africa which breeds conflict on our dear continent?


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