The Effect of Western Civilization and Culture in Africa

Topics: Africa, Culture, Western culture Pages: 20 (5103 words) Published: December 10, 2012
Afro Asian Journal of Social Sciences
Volume 1, No. 1 Quarter I V 2010
ISSN 2229 – 5313

Dare Arowolo
(Lecturer, Dept. of Political Science & Public Administration, Adekunle Ajasin University, Nigeria)

The central argument of this paper stems from the submission that colo nialism, slave trade and missionary are the platform upon which Western civilisation and culture thrive and are sustained. While insisting that Western civilisation and culture has precariously contaminated the traditional values o f Africa, the paper contends that Africa had established, well before the advent of colonialism, a pattern of home-grown political systems, governance process and generally acceptable institutional rule-making arrangement, such that there was progression in the pace of civilisatio n of Africa and self-styled tempo of technological development. The paper further submits that the dynamism and significance of Africa on the global continuum tends to support the argument that Africa would have evolved and sustained level of development and civilisation without the retrogressive contact with imperial forces. The paper adopted descriptive analytic model to drive home its points and relies on neoliberalism, liberal democracy, colonialism and missionary to prove the effects of Western civilisation and culture on Africa. It concludes by putting forth viable options as a panacea for Africa to come out of its cultural logjam. Keywords: Colonialism, Culture, Development, Governance, Liberal Democracy, Missionary, Neoliberalism, Political System, Western Civilisation

For a start, I argue that colonialism, slave trade and missionaries are the bastion of Western civilisation and culture in Africa. This is correct to the extent that colonialism serves as a vehicle of implantation of cultural imperialism in Africa. Colonialism, perceived in this context, is an imposition o f foreign rule over indigenous traditional political setting and foreign dominance and subjugation of African people in all spheres of their social, political, cultural, economic and religious civilisations.

Afro Asian Journal of Social Sciences
Volume 1, No. 1 Quarter I V 2010
ISSN 2229 – 5313

Western civilisation and culture began to creep into African socio -cultural milieu, first, with the contact of Europeans with Africa, a consequence of Berlin conference in the quest for imperial pilfering of African resources and, later, consolidated by the unstoppable wave of globalisation. It is important to stress that colonialism distorted and retarded the pace and tempo of cultural growth and trend of civilisation in Africa. One of the most profound consequences o f colonization has been how the political and economic rape of the colonies has also led to what sometimes seem to be an unbridgeable cultural gap between the nations that were the beneficiaries of colonization and those that were the victims of the colonial assault. The era of colonial pillage and plunder led to the relative stagnation and often precipitous decline of traditional cultural pursuits in the colonies. With Africa subjugated and dominated, the Western culture and European mode of civilisation began to thrive and outgrow African cultural heritage. Traditional African cultural practices paved the way for foreign way o f doing things as Africans became fully ‘westernised’. Western culture now is regarded as frontline civilisation. African ways of doing things became primitive, archaic and regrettably unacceptable in public domain. Not only were certain aspects of the material culture in the colonies lost or destroyed, colonial societies also lost the power and sense of cultural continuity, such t hat it became practically impossible to recover the ability to strive for cultural progress on their own terms. As argued by a scholar:

The social fabric was completely devastated and a new culture of violence was...
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