African Cultural/Historical/customary Continuity and Transmission
South Africa - Culture Smart!: the essential guide to customs & culture Paperback by David Holt-Biddle
Mzatnsi Cultural Renaissance
On The Art's Revolutionary Tilt:
The founders of Marxism emphasized that art was an important weapon in the ideological struggle between classes. It could re-inforce just as it could undermine the power of the exploiters, could serve to defend class oppression or, on the contrary, contribute to the education and development of the consciousness of the toiling masses, bringing them closer to victory over their oppressors. Marx and Engels therefore called for a clear distinction to be made between progressive and reactionary phenomena in feudal and bourgeois culture and put forward the principle of the Party approach to art - that it be evaluated from the position of the revolutionary class.
From the Preface to Marx and Engels' "On Literature and Art"2 (Moscow 1976)
MODERN AFRICAN CULTURE
We use an English word "Culture" which in the African usage is "Setso" "Setho", "Isintu" which is known as "Culture" when we want to describe social phenomena and reality, made by Man(Africans). It now becomes the duty and responsibility of the African people of South Africa(Those who are reconstructing the history of African People Of South Africa) to make it to mean what they say it means [in their languages and meanings of the African people of South Africa] when they refer to it[Culture] in their languages, as pointed above, or as part of what they practice, live, experience and propagate as stressed above-their reality; and also, how they live and experience their culture in their day-to-day existence as they go about their lives, is important that they should know and understand their culture, custom, tradition, history and languages, music, dance, etc., thoroughly and clearly.
To describe the "way of life"[Culture] of the Africans of South Africa is a toll order, but if the Africans of South Africa understand it better, make it over and thought it up in a holistically manner, if they were to take only one part of it, as in the 'music' and 'dance', then they will be able to clearly discern their 'culture' as a uniform, united, seamless, variegated and diverse African South african Culture.
Yes, different, and variegated and variable; unrelated to each other-No. Each is an elaboration of the other, depending on region and the uniqueness of that group, or nation(of which there are 11[eleven] reside; They have many commonalities and sameness as a unified single culture which is one-Yes.
To a casual reader, right up to reading these lines, it seems normal enough what I have asked and answered with short repsonses. But in South Africa, it means a lot of different things to different people and races of this decaying country; it means conditioned cultural repsonse to Africans(who, most of them, end up hating their culture and dismissing it as do their masters-with impunity).
It also means freedom, affluence and White rights and Master complex for the White and other groups over and above Africans. Even when they are supposedly ruling themselves, Africans of South Africa are still suffering from the effects of a Apartheid 'Hangover' and a massive 'Cultural War' that has been waged against them from 1490, by Bartholomew Diaz and his thugs, in 1492 and 1652 by Vasco da Gama and Jan Van Riebeeck , the 1700sFrench Huguenotes and the 1820 British Settlers, respectively,in the subsequent years, thereafter, as indicated above.
This has had a big and negative effect and impact on the national psyche of the African people who were ruled and controlled by the segregationist colonizers from the mid-sixteen hundreds to date; who at the same time, are being attacked and an attempt to decimate their culture, which is a consistent war and struggle for Africans, who are perpetually trying to preserve and continue their traditions, practices, customs and live up to their history, the present Cultural War is being waged against them by the present "Sell Out" Black Led ANC Government. The struggle for the Africans has been to try to preserve whatever they can under such a horrific attack of their way of life, land, people,music, dance and their being(Humanity-Botho/Ubuntu). It's not easy..
The struggles are fought over and in many different fronts. The understanding of resisting foreign investments in South Africa meets up with organized resistance of people "Toy-toying"(marching, shouting slogans and singing resistance songs). The struggle in the cultural arena is quite different, and Africans have not yet figured out how to resist the war on their culture by the Europeans and now of late, the Americans. If one were to surf the Net and read-up on the Culture of Africans, it is not even acknowledged by those who are foreign and write on behalf of Africans that this is an African country with its original cultures, music, dances, languages, customs, traditions, and the whole bit.
It would be instructive to cite some of what Bantu Biko had to say about this aspect of culture and Modern African Culture.
"One of the most difficult things to do these days is to talk with authority on anything to do with African Culture. Somehow Africans are not expected to have any deep understanding of their own culture or even of themselves. Other people have become authorities on all aspects of the African life or to be more accurate [so-called] 'BANTU' life. Thus, we have the thickest of volumes on some strange subjects - even "The Feeding Habits Of The Urban Africans", a publication by a fairly liberal group, Institute Of Race Relations.
"In my opinion, it is not necessary to talk with Africans about African culture. However, in the light of the above statements one realizes that there is so much confusion sown, not only amongst casual non-African readers, but amongst Africans themselves, that perhaps a sincere attempt should be made at emphasizing and projecting the authentic cultural aspects of the African people by themselves.
"Thus, in taking a look at cultural aspects of the African people one inevitably finds himself[herself] having to compare. This is primarily because of the contempt that the "superior" culture shows towards the indigenous culture. To justify its exploitative basis, the Anglo-Boer culture has at all times been directed at bestowing an inferior status, labelled all cultural aspects of the indigenous people as [backward, savage, primitive, underdeveloped and useless].
"I am against the belief that African culture is time-bound, the notion that with the conquest of the African all his culture was obliterated. I am also against the belief that when one talks of African culture one is necessarily talking of the pre-Van Riebeeck culture. Obviously the African culture has had to sustain severe blows and may have been battered nearly out of shape by the 'belligerent culture it collided with, yet in essence even today, one can easily find the fundamental aspects of the pure African culture."
I am going to refer as well to what I have termed the "Modern African Culture."[and African culture did not lie in wait for European culture to come bring civilization to it]-Africans culture, by the time the Boers landed in the Cape- was already matured, old, and functional] (I have written about this aspect of African south African Culture in my Hub called "South African Cultre, Customs and Practices Writ Large: Re-Morphed Cultural Renaissance against Dysfunctional Existence"): The point I am trying make is that I will not be discussing the nitty gritty of of the culture as a whole, but the Dance and Music cultures will be further dealt with below, towards the end of the Hub.
The Family as a Power System
"Culture is a social machine, a power grid or system. As a holistic system it is composed of a number of sub-systems, power systems in their own right. The family is one such fundamental cultural subsystem. It is a system of social relations, hierarchical in structure, where different members exercise different privileges, prerogatives and different levels of authority. The family is a primary organization, a fundamental generator or source of power where the human and non-human capital resources of its members are pooled and shared as means of achieving its vital goals. These goals include sexual reproduction, socialization of its children, securing a common habitation, providing protection and affectional relations among its members, maintaining and enhancing the social status of its members and providing for their economic well-being.
"The family is a system where power is customarily and legally exercised; where its members are not only related by kinship ties, by blood and a shared history, but relate to each other in terms of membership rights, duties, behavioral expectations and authority. The character and personality of individual family members, especially its young, are developed, shaped and continuously influenced by the organization and exercise of power and authority inside and outside the family unit. Consequently,the family as a power system markedly influences its members', particularly its youngs' attitudes toward and relationships to power and authority both within and without the family." (Wilson)
Even though the family has been partly decimated, not completely, the community and social events hold sway in keeping the Cultures of African people alive. This Hub is really about different African communities, societies and nations that keep the heartbeat of African Dance and Music Cultures alive. It is in this way that African families maintain and keep their identities alive. Wilson puts it this way:
"Moreover, identification involves the process by which the individual or group is socialized to acquire those attitudes, values, interests, morals, ethics, tastes, skills, emotional and behavioral tendencies, and ways of thinking that the socializer deems appropriate to the person's gender, the person's or in the case of Whites and Blacks(Africans), the group's race and social role. In other words, identification refers to the process of fitting a person or group to its ascribed or prescribed social role.
"The social role for which the person or group is fitted is usually the one(s) the socializer perceives as important in supporting his/her or its own position and in achieving or satisfying his/her or its own goals and needs; or in terms of group relations, important to supporting, enhancing and empowering and helping the socializing group to achieve its economic, political and psychological objectives." (Wilson)
Within the Dances that I will be posting showcasing in great detail of the eleven(11) people of South Africa, it is important to note that the nations, themselves, hold these cultural events, not only as families(which are to some extent weakened) but as nations, one nation, which is more powerful and full of hope and energy to uplift the general population.
For us to better get a picture as to how this is achieved, the manner through which families become socialized through their nation to achieve culturally cohesive performances and in the process this helps their weakened families, which were purposefully made dysfunctional African nation, and their culture makes them into an empowered and vibrant nation with a colorful, musical and vibrant culture-is to do a review of the Culture of Africans through their dance, music and traditions-is to pay attention to our culture, etc.
At the beginning of this Hub, I cited a quote from Marx and Engels who emphasized that:
.., Art was an important weapon in the ideological struggle between classes. It could re-inforce just as it could undermine the power of the exploiters, could serve to defend class oppression or, on the contrary, contribute to the education and development of the consciousness of the toiling masses, bringing them closer to victory over their oppressors."
This relates to what I have been saying above, that the attempt to decimate the African family, was a partial triumph, but in the case of Africans in South Africa, they were kept afloat and survived because of and by their societies which maintained and facilitated for them to maintain their culture, throughout oppression and depression to the extend that this Hub has now attempted to re-educate and conscientize Africans about the uniformity, energy and power of their culture which will help them overcome their detractors, and what they attempted to do by trying to confuse the Africans about the validity of their culture, as pointed above, more specifically, as stated byBantu Biko..
What this Hub is about all about is to give the Africans a voice as they perform their culture, and project, inject and embed the fact that it is unified and one, but also a diverse culture. The history and story about African culture was fleshed-out by Bantu Biko below in the following manner:
The South Africa Reader: History, Culture, Politics (The World Readers) Paperback by Clifton Crais (Editor) , Thomas V. McClendon (Editor)
African Culture is Man-Centered
"The Prophetic And Relevant Insights Of Biko
Rewriting African History, Culture, Dance, Music And Tradition
Prior to citing Biko below, it is 'customary' to open an indaba (What is about to be discussed), by using the healers to rouse and bring forth the spirits to themselves, before any ceremony or occasions through their Sangomas(Healers), because Africans believe that through them(Healers) they can keep in touch with the ancestors, and in the process the drum will not only affect her to arouse the ancestral spirits, but the onlookers, initiates and those that have come to the Sangoma with certain maladies.
In trying to lay down African South African culture, all what we will see below really emanates from the customary beliefs and roles played by the Healers in the community. Most families still consult with them in matters relating to themselves and their members of their families and extended families. The healers are responsible for different dance, styles, music, dress and healing along with telling the patient what their ailment is, and in most cases, refer them to a herbalist, or they themselves mix the concoction and issue directions how the medicines should be used, and when, how and why(meaning, what will the outcome be in using the the medicine). The community and society utilize the styles of dances and some music of the Sangomas in their routines and performances
In order to really understand and know what African Cultures, Customs, Traditions, Rites and Practices are all about, it will be necessary to give a really superficial, not an intensely deep background(as stated above), about the Sangomas and their role in African society. Because it is such a broad and lengthy subject on its own, I will simply say that I will open the Hub with two videos showing different Sangomas. The first Video, above, is of a Sangoma woman working herself up in order to receive and come into contact with the ancestral spirit world. Not anyone becomes a Sangoma. To be one, one is chosen by the ancestors, not by any living person/individual.
A person who becomes a Sangoma, is chosen by those in the spirit world, and they pay visits to them in their sleep or wherever the spirits deem fit. They have to be initiated into the ways and workings of being an inyanga/Healer/Sangoma, up until all the spritis are permanently part of the Sangomas life, with whom he/she can communicate with during healing/spiritual revival or celebrations; in this manner she/he receives directives and other important information, in a dream, a lot of instructions as to where to dig for what medicine and what its use will be , and how it should be portioned out, and so forth.
They(Sangomas) even are shown the types of dances that the ancestors will want her to perform prior to her doing any work, and whether to charge or not for her services-in most cases, and they are forbidden from charging. Should they go against that order, their abilities disappear and can no more work, as it has happened in many cases. The community is allowed to compensate for the services in many ways, either than cash.
But today, most people have become ignorant and opportunistic and are fleecing their customers and they are really ineffective inn their crooked ways of healing. The ones who are genuine do not charge more than "Two Rand"(R2.00) to tell you about all you might need or want to know. The very good and genuine ones charge you a one time fee of less than a hundred Rands for all the services they give to one, and they allow their patients to come back for medicinal refilling and updates on their conditions and so on, for free, afterwards-as long as they are being healed.
For us to keep up with Biko in rewriting African Cultural History, we also need to peg all those relevant customary practices within the writing of this Hub. Just as I am doing in this Hub by posting a video that shows us a Sangoma working herself into a trance in and out of breath in order to connect with the spiritual world who will be the ones guiding her in the work whe will doing for the day-I am at the same time re-writing and reminding the Africans of their ways of doing things. This is because the African people of South Africa, too, before they do or perform a ceremony for their ancestors, they consult with the Sangoma. I hope this will meet that customary and traditional requirement before one heads deeper into the Hub.
The second video(The one below) is very important in that, Sangomas not only deal with healing and talking to the spirits, but they connect with the spirits through the dances of each particular spirit when they are in a trance, connecting with the spirits, for the Sangomas themselves to be able to function as healers, and to be able to foresee and be clairvoyant, and help the people who have come in for the healing-with the help of the spirits they are invoking; at the same time they dance to celebrate and honor their spirits and for the onlookers, it is a form of entertainment, enjoyment and edification ((And also strengthening their beliefs and trust in the spirit world). The Dance then, for these reasons either than the healing, foretelling and giving spiritual guidance, but for Dancing as Dancing is part and parcel of the African culture, community, and society, is the one performed by the Elderly Sangoma and her daughter.
As we watch the videos of the different eleven(11) African people of South africa, down in the this Hub, one should remember and bear in mind the dancing styles, and all that these Africans of South Africa do and dance for, are directly and intricately related and common with, same as the ones will see in the first and particularly the second video of the Dancing Sangoma Mother Mother and her Daughter-and this is found all throughout the 11(eleven) nations of Africans of South africa. Biko has this to say then about African Culture:
"As one Black(African) writer says, colonialism is never satisfied with having the native in its grip, but, by some strange logic, it must turn to his past and disfigure and distort it. Hence, the history of the Black(African) man in this country is most disappointing to read. It is presented merely as a long succession of defeats. the Xhosas were thieves who went to war for stolen property; the Boers never provoked the Xhosas but merely went on "punitive expeditions" to teach the thieves a lesson.
"Heroes like Makana (early nineteenth-century Xhosa prophet), sentenced to life imprisonment on Robben Island and drowned while escaping in a boat. Refusal by Blacks(Africans) to accept the truth of his death led to the mythical hope of his eventual return), and those who were essentially revolutionaries are painted as superstitious trouble-makers who lied to the people about bullets turning into water. Great nation-builders like Shaka are cruel tyrants who frequently attacked small clans for no reason but for some sadistic purpose. Not only is there no objectivity in the history taught us, but there is frequently an appalling misrepresentation of facts that sicken even the uninformed student.
"Thus, a lot of attention has to be paid to our history(culture, music and dances, etc.-my addition), if we as Blacks (Africans) want to aid each other in our coming to consciousness. We have to rewrite our history and produce in it the heroes the heroes that formed the core of our resistance to the White invaders - (Recall the Max/Engels Quote above) More has to be revealed, and stress has to be laid on the successful "NATION-BUILDING" [I have just posted a piece on my evaluation of what I worked on Facebook(FB) on this project, then , and now this Hub project/article about African culture: Dance and Music - and wrote about that project and projection and with videos and short history to go with these videos), "and we should write of the attempts of men such as Shaka, Moshweshwe [Faku] and Hintsa. These areas call for intense research to provide some sorely needed missing links. We would be too naïve to expect our conquerors to write unbiased histories about us, but we have to destroy they myth that our history starts fro 1652, the year Van Riebeeck landed at the Cape.
"Our culture must be described in concrete terms. We must relate the past to the present and demonstrate a historical evolution of the modern Black(African) man/woman. There is a tendency to to think of our culture as a static culture that was arrested in 1652 ad has never developed since. The "return to the bush" concept suggests that we have nothing to boast of except lions, sex and drink. We accept that when colonization sets in it devours the indigenous culture and leaves behind a bastard culture that may thrive at the pace allowed it by the dominant culture.
"But we also have to realize the basic tenets of our culture have largely succeeded in withstanding the process of bastardization and that even at this moment we can still demonstrate that we appreciate a man for himself. Ours[Ubuntu] is a true man-centered society whose sacred tradition is that of sharing. We must reject, as we have been doing, the individualistic cold approach to life that is the cornerstone of the Anglo/Boer culture." (Biko)
[Some people on FB tell people like us who post about this culture that they want us to stop and whatever they say is the 'bottom line', with many exclamation marks to whit. Biko adds:
"We must seek to to restore to the Black(African) man the great importance we used to give to human relations; the high regard for people and their property and for life in general; to reduce the triumph of technology over man and the materialistic element that is slowly creeping [or has completely embedded itself] into the African society and populace society. [It is as if Biko is Alive, Today!]
"These are essential features of our Black(African) culture to which we must "cling" to. Black(African) culture above all implies freedom on our part to innovate without recourse to White values. This innovation is part of the natural development of any culture of the natural development of any culture. A culture is essentially the society's composite answer to the varied problems of life.
We are experiencing new problems every day and whatever we do adds to the richness of our cultural heritage "As Long As It Has Man At Its Center". The adoption of Black(African) Theater and drama is one such important innovations which we need to encourage and develop. We Know That Our Love Of Music and Rhythm Has Relevance Even In This Day..(my emphasis in highlighting Bantus words].
I Could Not Have Said It Any Better, even If I have tried on this Posts'!- Very eerie and spooky vision! In his exhortation for African people to pick up the cudgel and write their own history, I took Biko's part challenge to mean just that. I have tried to create a visual/historical piece wherein I explore the nature of South African African Culture, define it and apply/supply these definitions by posting cultural traditional videos and short histories of the 11(eleven) African peoples of South Africa with close attention paid to observation towards authenticity of both their histories, dances, music and traditional dresses.
By so doing, I am following the appreciative sense of Africans in South Africa who usually view their cultural performers with critical eye as to whether they are authentic or not, no so much as to whether they are singing well or are good-which is a secondary consideration. I am also laying ground work whereby the children of the future will find something coherent about their culture that has been written and given the essence and importance through the voices of the Africans themselves.
And, I hope that this will help with the continuity of the culture in the viral stream, and begin to act as building blogs[for Africans who want to know more about themselves], which will assist towards the Africans knowing and writing their own history, culture, customs, traditions, dance, music, languages, practices, symbols and whatever it is they need to build anew, and to be able to do it with ease and progressive reconstruction-and as they see fit..
From the South African Past (Family, Religion, and Culture) [Paperback] John Williams (Author)
Understanding African History, Culture, Dance, and Music
Talking Culture About Culture
This Hub is about the Cultural Music and Dance of African South Africans. So that, before I lay down the music and the dances, at this juncture, I would like to make clear what Culture is. Amos Wilson, from whom I will cull deeply for this definition about culture, starts by asking this question[and would be helpful in helping towards understanding what culture is and means for People of African descent]:
"What is "Culture"? One of the most important contexts in which the alignment of individuals and groups is utilized to generate and exercise social power is that of culture. A Culture is a type of "power System" which includes all of its members and the various groups and institutions which constitute it. A society or culture as a power system may be subdivided into a number of smaller and smaller power systems nested within, or organically related to, one another. The overall power of a culture or society operationally emerges from these smaller power systems which may include familial, kinship, communal, regional, and other types of social institutional organizations.
"Culture is man's adaptive dimension. "Man alone among the forms of animated nature is the creature that has moved into an adaptive zone which is an entirely learned one. This is the zone of culture, the man-made, the learned, part of the environment" (Ashley Montague).
"If societies are to survive, they must minimally satisfy certain biological, psychological and social needs of their members. They must successfully counter those forces of nature and man which threaten their well-being and their very biological survival. Culture is the social-institutional instrument which is crucial for facilitating a people's adaptation to the complexities of their world. Therefore its functional structure, cohesiveness, resilience, flexibility, responsivity to reality, evolutionary growth and development, or the relative lack thereof, to a very significant extent, determine its longevity and quality of life." Culture is learned and is the result of historically and conceptually designs and patterns for living with and relating to others and the cosmos.
What Wilson just said above is that a society with a culture is a power system embedded with organically related otherness, and garners this power from familial, kinship, communal, regional, national and other types of social institutional organizations. As I have noted above, the destruction of the African family unity did not totally destroy the the nation of Africans in South Africa because they maintained and continue to hold on to these relationship I have just alluded above as taken from Wilson, in their activities as a nation-but still have to recognize that as their real culture as they live it. What then we see when the reader/viewer begins to the get into the heart of this Hub with the cultural videos and the people's history, is the Modern Cultural voice of Africans in South Africa, and the triumph of the spirit of a more expanded and bigger national spirit and musicality and dancing abilities of Africans of South africa. So if the family is resuscitated by national cultural togetherness, as we will see fro the videos, we will take a brief overview from Wilson:
The Family as a Power System
"Culture is a social machine, a power grid or system. As a holistic system it is composed of a number of sub-systems, power systems in their own right. The family is one such fundamental cultural subsystem. It is a system of social relations, hierarchical in structure, where different members exercise different privileges, prerogatives and different levels of authority. The family is a primary organization, a fundamental generator or source of power where the human and non-human capital resources of its members are pooled and shared as means of achieving it vital goals. These goals include sexual reproduction, socialization of its children, securing a common habitation, providing protection and affectional relations among its members, maintaining and enhancing the social status of its members and providing for their economic well-being.
"The family is a system where power is customarily and legally exercised; where its members are not only related by kinship ties, by blood and a shared history, but relate to each other in terms of membership rights, duties, behavioral expectations and authority. The character and personality of individual family members, especially its young, are developed, shaped and continuously influenced by the organization and exercise of power and authority inside and outside the family unit. Consequently,the family as a power system markedly influences its members', particularly its young's' attitudes toward and relationships to power and authority both within and without the family.
As Wilson give us the true definition of a Family, we should bear in mind that Apartheid worked very hard to divide and decimate the African family, but it survived because the African people's cultural institution have been function within the National African societies with the types of the relationship I have listed above, and particularly with dance and music, found within the communities and nations of the Africans of South Africa, just as Biko had explained above, despite their being battered and disfigured by the Apartheid Cultural Wars-this culture still exists, and is very powerful, energetic and viable-diverse and variegated-but one National Culture.
Shangaan Electro: New Wave Dance Music From Shangaan Electro: New Wave Dance Music From South (Artist) | Format: Audio CD
South Africa the People (Lands, Peoples, & Cultures) Paperback by Domini Clark (Author)
African Culture And Identity
This takes us back to the question Amos asked above, "What is Culture?"
"What Is Culture?" ..Horton and Hunt Provide a workable answer to this question. .."From their life experiences, a group develops a set of rules and procedures for meeting their needs, and these set of rules and procedures, together with a supporting set of ideas and values, is called culture." Clyde Kluckhon has defined culture as all the "historically created designs for living, explicit and implicit, rational, irrational and non-rational which may exist at any given time as potential guides for the behavior of man."
"Dominant groups, in seeking to achieve or maintain their power over subordinate groups, are for this reason compelled in some ways to constrain, restrict, reduce, destabilize, misdirect, or destroy the family systems, and with those, the communal and cultural systems of the group they subordinate[I have touched on this issue above]. The oppression, distortion and destabilization of the African Family by the Domineering Whites which goes along with the enslavement of Africans and continues to this day.
"The cultural identity of an individual or group is the social product of a socialization process, a process in which new responses, values, perspectives and orientations are acquired and existing behavioral 'repertoires' of the individual or group are modified to some extent, as the result of his or its subjection to direct or indirect social conditioning experiences. Cultural identity also results from patterning of its modal thoughts, feelings, actions after other cultures or group who serve as models.
"... Thus, culture, though a product of the actual lived experience of a people - the primal source of much of their daily personal and social activities, their forms of labor and its products, their celebratory and ceremonial traditions, modes of dress, art and music, language and articulatory style, appetites and desires - is essentially ideological in nature based as it is on shared beliefs, customs, expectations, and values, cultural constructs, definitions, meanings and purposes. These cultural constructs are used to proactively and reactively mold the mind, body, spirit and behavior of the constituent members of the a particular culture.[This can be observed in the cultural videos above and below].
"Hence culture is does not exist outside and independent of its human subjects. Culture is represented symbolically and operationally in the mind and characteristically mental/behavioral orientations or styles of its members, and its incarnate in the customary ways they move and use their bodies[This part of the definition of culture dovetails well with the presentation of the short histories and traditional and customary practices posted in this Hub] . The culture is represented "in" the minds and bodies of tis members, and expresses itself through the systematic ways they attend, experience, categorize, classify, order, judge, evaluate, explain and interact with their world.
"Mentally, culture involves the socially shared and customary ways of thinking, a way of encoding, perceiving, experiencing, ordering, processing, communicating and behaviorally expressing information which distinguishes one cultural group from another. All these activities are dedicated to the end of adapting the culture to the consistent and changing demands of its physical and social environment and changing demands of its physical and social environment and reciprocally adapting the environment to the demands of the culture.
"Socially, culture patterns the ways its members perceive each other, relate to and interact with each other. It facilitates the ways they create, develop, organize, institutionalize and behaviorally apply their human potential in order to adapt to the conditions under which they live so as to satisfy their psychological, social and survival needs. To the degree that the shared beliefs and behavioral orientations of the members of a culture are consensually consistent, reasonable rational and realistic, are effectively and consistently socialized and reinforced, the culture is characterized by coherence, somewhat low levels of internal conflicts and contradictions, relatively smooth, automatic, coordinated operation, and thereby effectively functions in the interest of its members." If one were to watch, and read the histories of the eleven(11) people, this will give the reader/viewer a sense of how the culture of South African Africans works and manifests itself.
"It is very important to keep in mind that a culture is to a significant extent a historical product, a social product. A culture is socially manufactured, the handiwork of both deliberate and coincidental human social collusions and interactions. A culture also manufactures social products. Some of the most important social products it generates include its own cultural identity, and the social and personal identities of its constituent group and individual members."(wilson)
Culture is a way of life that has been created by Man throughout history, and it is ways created people to be able to deal with the natural and real lived world with each other. South Africans like to communicate with one another, not only in language conveying ideas, thoughts and plans, but talking to each other for the sake of talking to each other, and enjoying that about their communications. This can be clearly seen in the videos throughout this Hub. The videos and the short histories give the reader/viewer how the Africans in South Africa project and put on display their culture for all to see. Many people around the world, and if one were to read the comments on the YouTube Videos posted, are very much in-love with African traditional culture, and this can be discerned from their comments on these YouTube videos. It is a culture that has its own identity, style, energy and uniqueness, and is distinctly African South African. It really presents a human face to dance and music.
South Africa Putumayo Presents | Format: Audio CD
A Human Being Died That Night: A South African Woman Confronts the Legacy of Apartheid Paperback by Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela
WHAT ABOUT MZANTSI? A Place Inhumanity Of Man To Man
The Nitty-Gritty Of Oppression
I am an ardent advocate of Anything South African culture and its and am not backing off my stance. Why? It seems like few people really understand what is happening to Africans here in Mzantsi [A place down south] as the Africans fondly call their country. Well, for the first time I am editorializing about things South African and why it is so importantt to air the points of view On the Web and social Media. Africans are currently facing a crisis amongst in their midst as African South African. I am not talking on behalf of those who want to wear the responsibility that they are the middle class of South Africa. I am talking on behalf of the army of the poor and ignored. In the Townships, there are people who drink bails of water just to go to sleep; people who cannot receive medical help or never know when the next meal is coming from.
People are still suffering the devastating effects of alcoholism, malnutrition, mental illnesses; freezing and unheated houses; drug abuses and multiple devastating diseases. People used to bury on weekends only-now they do so everyday- the cemeteries are already full and other space is being sought; they suffer unemployment, messed-up education; they live with rats, rodents and some big and larger than cats; there are still many people living in shacks; the government is not taking care of the meek, weak, sick and poor as it should; Africans in Mzantsi are jeered at by everyone as being lazy, won't works; they still have to fight against the undercurrent maneuvers of their past enslavers who are manipulating foreign labor at the expense of local workers; enforced ignorance; women being raped; men being killed, drugged- In sum, Africans are worse-off than during the Apartheid era- and the people themselves say so too. Then, when I defend the defenseless of South Africa, some people who are African accuse me of being only about South Africa. Well, Africans in South Africa are about to lose their current population and land, humanity, and facing extinction-albeit creeping up slowly, but consistently wiping them out in a myriad ways...
They see their land being parceled away to the highest bidders, amidst corruption. I am talking here, not about the rich and comfortable, but what is going on in the poor's lives... everything that they thought was theirs, is not. At the same time they have to fight against a relentless and determined enemy which has all the resources available like those with money, so that when the oppressed raise their voices in disgruntlement they are told that they have to remember that they are more free than the whole of Africa(An old Apartheid logic-trumpeted by the presently ANC-led government today. But we forget that Africa was not liberated in one swoop. It went on over many years, and still those that were free such a long time ago, still have not resolved their internal contradictions in their respective countries.
South Africans are talking here of a mere 20 years and instead, they, the supposed-owners of South Africa and its wealth, are the 'wretched of the earth'. How can Africans talk in terms of the continental unity when they still have to battle the West and the rest of those who think Africans in Africa and African South africans should not complain, stop protesting in trying to push their national agenda, [of which none of these things have been accomplished], and should not protect themselves and their lands with their a natural wealth and abundance(which is slowly being depleted). Africans are still reeling from the 48 straight years of the worst form of Naziism(Apartheid), with its presently continuing effort to eliminate, confuse, and oppress/depress/suppress and dehumanize Africans. I think that those efforts that were being carried out by Biko and other South African martyrs, should be continued, and this is what this Hub is essentially about.
Africans in South Africa are facing a predatory and gendarme rogue government bent on fleecing and enriching/deepening their pockets at the expense of the locals. Some people think that South Africa is New York, and they have the right to do as they please... Others act like they're fighting for issues and that South African is not fighting for Africa! Preposterous!. Some of our South African brothers think that they are white, and you can tell from the way they are talk, act, behave and plan their lives and ignore their culture, tradition,customs, practices,languages and sacred rites. They quickly run away from the present morbid and dreadful conditions of their bleak existence with the hope that if they concentrate elsewhere, they might find respite from the present harsh realities of their witnessing and facing their extinction. Thus far, nothing much has changed for Africans in south Africa, and it seems it will be so for a long time to come. Therefore, I will use Music, Dance and Art to raise the awareness and consciousness of Africans in Mzantsi, and help them empower themselves by learning and grasping from the motivation that will be provided by their own cultural and musical performance and Ubuntu(Mandela and Biko will briefly address this issue of "Ubuntu" towards the end of the Hub), as manifest in the following videos.
The Great South African Trip - Volume 1 African Music Compilation (Artist) | Format: Audio CD
Holding Their Ground: Class, Locality and Culture in 19th and 20th Century South Africa (History Workshop) Paperback by Philip L. R. Bonner (Author) , Isabel Ho
Notes On The Voice Of African Culture In South Africa
Thus far, what the people of Mzantsi see there is nothing that they can be proud of or claim as theirs - therefore, my insistence on the preservation of South Africa culture, custom, traditions, languages and practices and rites is not because they have any handle on it, but because they are barely recognizable to the Africans of Mzantsi, nor most of them acknowledge it. Poor education is disempowering people, that is, unless one has money to send their child to better schools, those who cannot afford it are doomed.
Without knowing, practicing and respecting their cultures, customs, traditions, history, music and dance, there is now a proliferation of mental illness and total amnesia about what as Africans they should be doing, or what their identity means to them and how to move on with it[their culture] into the burgeoning future, the 21st century and beyond. This calamity and dysfunction is eroding the true social fabric of African people; it's disappearing millions of people due to HIV-AIDS, TB; cholera; high blood pressure, sugar diabetes, kidney failure; depression, repression; genocidal attrition... Everyday of their liver lives. By ignoring their Culture and all else I mentioned above, these then are the real causes of the present dysfunction and retarding working towards elevating the people's sanity, cultures, traditions, customs, history, languages, and the practices of their sacred rites which would alleviate the suffering the Africans are facing today in Mzantsi.
South Africa is in Africa but it is run by everybody except the African masses of Africans in South africa. You cannot talk of fixing your neighbors houses before you put yours in order. One cannot overlook the importance of building ones' Street, Township, Province and not firstly taking care of and hold of all that which is local. How can these leaders talk of fixing Africa which has so many different countries run by the West and the East? Why pretend like Africans can take on this mammoth task whilst the city states within Africa they unashamedly are dependencies of the West and the Rest of the Capitalist vultures lurking within and owning African and Africa's mines, farms, railway system, African land, all the metropolitan towns and African labor power? It really does not add up.
How can this lack of control and ownership help in the reunification of Africa if the Africans of South Africa are not even having a smidgen of unity; a semblance of a nation; neither controllers of their economy, media, sports, arts, dance,music, culture, tradition, custom, practices, languages manufacturing, you name it? Africans in South Africa, as a collective, are not holders of rights to everything that is enclosed within the borders of that country as a nation or the indigenous rightful owners of all that is in and within South africa, and they are presently left wondering how and why is that so?
These questions still linger on, and African people are dying by their millions from a myriad of ailments in this putrid and decrepit South Africa.. yearly... all the time.. And they are going crazy in many numbers than before at any time in their history of oppression; and their cultures, customs, traditions, history, languages, dance,music and all is not in their service nor made to work for them-instead it is owned and controlled by outsiders more than the African people themselves- i.e., their culture is in the service of foreigners who are gaining from using it in all unseemly and conceivable crooked ways. Some of these foreign Cultural hawkers claim that they have Intellectual property ownership and rights to what is not theirs but that of Africans in South Africa. On viewing the videos, one will come across this reality discussed on this paragraph.
Nobody has asked Africans of South Africa as to what is really going on here in Mzantsi. Everyone knows that they can get a piece of action, but as to the locals, they are dismissed and are not even listened to. I am raising this issue knowing that it is going to raise the ire of some people- so be it. What do I have to loose but raise pertinent issues of nation, custom, culture, traditions, languages, practice and rites and their being African South African and that it is for them and should be run and controlled and owned by Africans of South Africa-I see nothing wrong with that.... What do Africans have to lose but their already lost lands, intellectual property, ownership of arts, music and dance, its many other resources and all that is contained therein. Africans need to fight even harder, irk some people, maybe find some allies, if possible, but fight this war which has morphed into many differentiated fronts.
I am identifying those fronts here, and I will use this viral media to get my point across- and I am using many new technologies to get this type of message- through Blogs, Internet radio, journal posts and writing; FM and Television-Worldwide to bring awareness and concern to the South African Cultural Voice and put it at the forefront of the global purview. Below I will be going deeper and making the points above more clearer on this project which I will be discussing in a short.
Everyone comes to South Africa and African South Africans cannot go out as they please from their country for many reasons. African People have been purposefully kept ignorant, penniless, poor and oppressed up to this day; books are hard to come bye; the media is white-owned; Malls are white-owned; Whites still own 83% of the land; if you ask the locals what's going on, they will tell you that the sad thing is that really nothing is going on, or nothing has changed, but instead, they are now living in hell without a choice of changing the order of things inside the country.
The say, as matter of fact and conviction that "Our brothers are our enemies; our children disrespect us elders; our culture, history, customs ,social mores and norms have been sacked, flaunted and discarded. We really never had 'freedom of speech', economic self sufficiency nor educational development where teaching and learning should take place; we do not own our own businesses and are attacked from any imaginable angle; we are the most deprived on knowledge, information and at the tail-end of this modern era as a technologically come up as a disempowered people," they always answer in one or the many ways I have pointed out on this paragraph and above and more.
To have people decry the fact that they should not be living under such conditions in the land of their birth, and have begun to see their lives ebb away because of currpution and other shenanigans, is to see how disconcerting it is for them; but mainly because they seem to be losing the "The Cultural War", and it(the Culture of Africans), has never been attacked in a way that utilizes the present technology and relaying information that can get to the people globally-of which it does not not bode well for the Africans of South Africa who are denied access to the new ways of communicating;
Conversely, the African people have not yet had access to modern technology to use in such a way that it get under the skin of the roving capitalists vulture of all stripes and ethnicities within their midst, that is, if their wares were not bought in a way that made them [African exploiters and detractors], profit. The people have stopped being proactive, and have not had time to ameliorate their present condition; or to seriously begin to mount a revolutionary path towards addressing and setting all these social maladjustments and maladaptive societies and individuals. If I have to advocate for South Africa, I will do so with gusto and much energy. I approach the issue of Africa from many points of view, and will mostly attack and analyze it, as in the case of this Hub, from a historical/revolutionary cultural point of view.
Rhythm of Resistance - Black South African Music (2000) Ladysmith Black Mambazo (Actor), Jeremy Marre (Director)
The Failure of Decentralisation in South African Local Government: Complexity and Unanticipated Consequences [Paperback] Andrew Siddle (Author), Thomas A. Koelb
Concrete and Solid Ideas Make For Robust Nation-building
No One Individual Or Person Owns, Controls, Dictates, Formulates Or Instructs the Elaboration Or Execution Of The People's Struggle
Pedagogy Of The Repressed, Oppressed and Depressed
Let Us Be Clear About some Things: No One Has Self-Aquired Monopoly about The Struggle Or Revolution. In the same breath, it should also be noted that The People Are the Ones Who Own,Control and Decide what their Revolution is and should be All about. No one person a motley crew is the boss of ideas and actions that are going to affect the lives and realities of millions of suffering African people. And this is or should be monitored, mentored-upon and Guided By the Revolutionary Vanguard, which is Recognized and natured By The People themselves. There are No Bullies or Master Thinkers in A National Revolution. The People, as I had noted from Mao, are the ones who control the Guns(Army and the Economy). Anything else, anyone trying to 'bag' and 'control', 'dictate', 'mold' 'form', 'shape' or do anything that is for personal gain, fame and satisfaction, outside the purview of the masse, and is not involved with those principals(Masses) in the revolution, that, one can see that they are nothing but bogus impostors and 'flimm-flamming-hankerchief-heads-triffling political and ecomical opportunists'(as Malcolm X would say). Anything either than a directive from the struggling masses and their participation in their own liberation(not some imagined revolution), is a farce and a cheap way of claiming unearned victories and telling lies about their hidden and obfuscated intentions, goals and aims.
As I have noted in my recently posted articles, I do not profess to be a revolutionary, nor am I one, but as part of the suffering masses, I am in a position to offer those ideas and revolutionary talking points as espoused by those who have "Fought for their revolutions", than those who "Dream" of a revolution, since theirs was and has been deferred , postponed, suspended and hijacked-also, and am able to aver the issues that those I find important to talk about and causes their concerns about the state of the African nation.
What I have learned from those who have gone through their revolutions, is their ability to read and understand the situation and mind-set of those they seek liberate. I find that the language they use, the theories and programs they develop and promulgate and develop, are the results of their having participated, or are involved with their people, and speak and use a language of that interaction, than 'waxing political', and regurgitating revolutionary clap-trap that serves no purpose to those who seek to be emancipated from the drudge and dredge of oppression, depression, repression and dehumanization- which are Achilles heel of the African struggle and revolutionary change.
The problem that Africans are not making head-way with their struggle is that Africans have a lot of these self-styled, self-apointed-revolutionary fakes and liberators-wanna-be's who offer nothing but distortion, no programs, negative critiquing and lack in planning and real leadership abilities and minds, and who preen their egos to a motley crew of ignorant followers, without themselves(these self-styled leaders) encouraging their followers to go to the masses, talk to the masses, organize structures amongst and with the masses for their own liberation, with the masses dictating and in charge of their destiny, not some banal and bare formulations which has become the bane of some intellectual sitting in the comfort zones, imbibing the trappings of ill-gotten material wealth, and couching their rhetoric with fake revolutionary-jabbawocky.
I believe that Africans in South Africa should learn from those who have been involved and have successfully, or failed to carry out their revolutionary aspiration with the masses in various countries around the world. Not some phony-baloney Facebook(FB) Revolutionary advocates who do not really offer the masses(who are not yet fully engaged on the FB) some panacea for their present social malaise. Instead, these tin-pot-head revolutionaries are besmirching and soiling the image of the people they purport to try and liberate, through their ignorance, carelessness and no clear program or ideas nor understanding of the polity they are saying they are revolutionaries for and on behalf of. Therefore, Africans all need to begin to talk truth to each other, just as they talk truth to illegitimate power.
South Africa has not undergone any revolution of any kind. Whilst people are still toy-toying, carrying wooden guns, and the "Povo'(African Collective) was never afforded the chance to en-masse have access or acquire any type of political education or mass military training they so sorely needed; their so-called guerillas were mashed up with the existing apartheid military structures, which have at the top more White Colored and indian Generals as top shelve personnel than do the Africans. The incoming guerillas that have been 'disappeared' within the structures of the Apartheid SADF, and they are the ones who have been dying in larger numbers and no one really talks about this fact [and the fact that they are dying and there is no war, should be a cause for concern to all Africans today]; or the fact that the incoming guerrilla outfits were and have been conditioned by the Apartheid Defense force, and have had carved-out for them a niche within the mammoth ogre structure that is the SADF.
Africans in South Africa, to date, have not yet been given a collective mass psychiatry from the effects and affects of apartheid hangover; and, they have not yet been weaned off from or stabilized against in their 400+ years of racial segregation by Apartheid and the present bungling ANC-led government with its gendarme and predatory tendencies; plus a whole slew of political and revolutionary opportunists and 'johnny-come-latelie's who have jumped into matters of National liberation and National conscientization Mao spoke of, Sankara, Cabral-and have no clue as to what they are doing. And many other critical issues I have pointed out to and spoke profusely and passionately about, as I have recently utilized them in some of my most recent postings,-are discarded and not applied to and along with the suffering masses. What we have instead, is rampant corruption and a deteriorating state of governance and government ethics and intense social anomie and normlessness.
I have endeavored to cast the African struggle, especially now of late, and framed this debacle in the same terms and actions used by those who have undergone similar fates in other countries. The distinction between politicians, revolution, theory and practice are the very essence of theory, which is practical practice and revolutionary fodder for revolutionaries, not politicians. The organization of ideas, structures, actions and knowledge of ones culture, etc., along with theories or ideas that need to be put to the fore to be implemented and disseminated, should be coherent, clear and have direction. This has nothing to do with trusting anyone or any persons, because individuals do not own the peoples struggles nor revolutions. Revolution and its direction and path will be dictated and shaped by the people, not some opportunistic practitioners who do not offer sound and reasonable if not operational ideas and programs that benefit the debased masses. And Culture is one of the many ways to achieve this, and on this Hub, I will explore the dance and music culture of Africans of Mzantsi.
Africans have problems of drug addiction(Nyaope) in our midst; African people suffer from ignorance, diseases and ignorance. These are some of the few dysfunctions Africans should be talking about as they pertain to and affect our people. Those basic social needs and rights that are supposed to serve poor African people, could be and should be addressed in this medium, as to how some will be dealt with, implemented and executed; how, if any action is taking place, as to why and how these ideas and practices are shaping and moving our people forward or not, by talking or reporting on these efforts and events as they take place in the midst of their collective safe enclaves. The projection of African culture need to be done with conviction and forthrightness because it is the right thing to do, and Biko exhorted Africans to reinvent and re-write their histories, and they should not expect that their enslavers would never write the true story and culture of Africans in South Africa.
Africans should be talking and constructing better schools, for children, youth and adults, and come up with concrete measures in combating such pedagogical drawbacks; they also should be training counselors and building rehab schools for all sorts of addictions and substance abuse-including gambling and other insidious operations regressing the masses. The African masses should be organizing sporting events, drama and theatre, cultural entities; establish reading and writing institutions that are and can be used and found easily by the people for free; why do should they not teach and enable the oppressed African masses to control and own the economies in their own areas?; or, why not improve and work reporting, exposing and designing health operations and centers-educating and enabling and making these to be easily accessible to the armies of the poor Africans? My point: Africans need to begin to talk from being active within their milieu than trying to express themselves immaculately and colloquially in medium such as here on the Facebook(FB, Twitter), thus exposing out their weaknesses and lack of knowledge as to what they really should do and not expose their ignorance to all and sundry.
Africans do not own nor control Facebook(FB), and it is owned and controlled by those to whom Africans hurl their barren and venomous attack upon. Therefore, African people should learn more about this social media and it capabilities; begin to flesh out ideas of increasing and making cheap the Internet cafes and their present paltry existence within the midst of the African collective; get people to volunteer, or those involved in the struggle, make it their business to engage the African public into coming into these Internet Cafes to access these social networks, and help the people learn and familiarize themselves with these new and emerging technologies. In a sense, I am saying Africans need to talk about and create programs that will help uplift their left-behind people into the viral stream, just as a revolutionary measure/effort and a new way of organizing and rallying the masses.
Why are African people not building or fitting their libraries with books and computers; or, create mobile libraries since they own and are equipped with the new Laptops many cars they drive around to deliver books and collect book from the people, and take or make those Laptops to be available to the community through arranged seminars, to educate and involve poor African people to come en masse into the technological world and age? What I am saying is that these so-called-self-styled Facebook Revolutionaries in south Africa, should take the technology to the people and begin to educate the the poor and the downtrodden, for free. The Japanese did these after they were bombed in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, they went to the United States, enrolled in the best colleges and universities there, and after they graduated, took all that knowledge and textbooks to begin to teach their own people-thus today we see tiny Japan as this huge capitalist enclave and directing the technological change in many aspects.
There is so much to be done and can be done utilizing our present abilities and access to the present-day wealth, than quibbling needlessly and hopelessly here on the Web, shouting and carrying on about a non-existent revolution we have neither prepared for, nor are involved in, nor creating.
What I have been talking about is better explained by the next post I will be making to edify my comments. The situation may be in another country as to how they did what they did, and why they did it, because they were so immersed and embedded within their people, and therefore experienced and witnessed the result the next author I am quote at length-just to do away with some spurious and rickety, incoherent and inchoate hogwash. Also, to help do what I started by citing from Marx and Engels as to what the role of art should be in liberating the masses. The Arts, crafts and cultures of African people, should follow or lead the revolution, as will be discussed below
In my Humble opinion, I still assert and insist: No One owns The People's Struggle nor owns and controls the people's revolution-but anyone can help the masses in their effort to not , in many cases or necessarily, violently carry out a revolution, but revolutionize how things are going for the African people in Mzantsi. This is borne out by this article which I am posting to make concrete my observations and colloquy about the Cultural Struggles, Theory, Revolution its practice and execution even much more clearer and relevant; also included will be the role the revolutionaries play(not politicians) in the realization of this effort and the should be implacably engaged with the real struggle.
Most of the Africans who have access to this new media, use it for all nefarious or maybe legit purposes or whatever, but African people, we have still not yet have figured out how to morph approaches to struggling Africans, given the emergence of these new converging and emerging technologies which dictate contemporary technological Technopoly; also, how assist African people how they can exploit them in various new and old ways of gathering information (intelligence), and garnering support for their cause, or raising awareness and consciousness of the masse and acquainting the army of the poor, through giving them and enabling easy access to this new ways of contemporary human communications. Some old ways of dealing and managing the devastating effects of enslavement and oppression of Africans in an oral and analog ways can be used; but, new ways also , are offering Africans the path to applying and manifesting-as in merging and meshing these new technological of digital viral modes with the old problems, and enabling them to not rehash tired approaches, but affect and effect these mediums and new digital media in ways that uplift African people in tandem with the technological times
Now, My next post is next given that this diatribe is as long as it has been about Culture, stresses that Africans need to know how to know and learn about learning in contemporary and their present dysfunctional existence in Mzantsi- i.e., how they can learn from their own culture to make themselves a better and more functional nation amongst the independent and burgeoning African countries.