Looking critically at African society today, since the emergence of colonialism on our shore with the so-called Western civilisation, it would be observed that the values put in place in the past by our forefathers seem to have been eroded.
In the past, individuals without any form of education guided their activities by acceptable norms prevailing in the society. The society, too, had some norms and practices that individuals must strictly observed or faced some forms of punishments and sanctions which might lead to banishment. During those periods, the societal requirements varied from one society to another, including code of dressing, customs, ethical behaviuors and courtesies. Apart from these, other things that were highly cherished in African culture were the issue of responsibility, commitment and resilient that it was not just easy to marry without the groom demonstrating the ability to sustain the bride through his works and earning. The woman, too, should be chaste, untouched by any other man except her husband after the wedding. The society, then easily disowned those who ran fouls of the traditional code of conducts.
The word “civilization” is a universal term with diverse meanings to different people. It is generally used to characterize a society that has high level of culture and social organization but which witnesses both positive and negative phenomena strange to African value. Of course, western civilization is touted for eradication of occultic practices of past: human sacrifice for rituals and killing of twins, there are more and more African values that need to be protected and preserved.
The western civilisation promotes half-nakedness in the name of fashion, and near nudity in the name of modeling and beauty pageantry. The craze to imbibe these practices by African girls and women promoted cases of sexual assaults and rapes in the society. Our boys, too, are more concern about number of girls they have and designers’ clothes in their shelves instead of textbooks.
High institutions are now popular love nests where our students on campuses are mostly heartbroken by infidelity or rejection from their partners. Love affairs, instead of academic pursuit have becoming the subject of attraction. This negative and dangerous trend, has in one way or the other resulted in to psychological trauma, lack of concentration and hence poor academic performance among students.
The high level of immorality on our campuses is an iceberg as reminiscent of the larger society. African men now marry not on socially acceptable behavior but on the physical beauty which, at long resulted to non-satisfaction, and misunderstanding between several couples. An example is the ongoing daily increase in extra-marital affairs, involving both men and women searching for happiness but, unknowingly end up in broken-homes.
Abubakar Jimoh writes from the Department of Linguistics, University of Abuja. firstname.lastname@example.org