Culture and Modernization

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Dating from the scientific evolution of man or the religious creation of man, the war on what comes first between traditions and education has always been a debate that not many can conclusively agree upon. I like to see it as we are born into culture and traditions while education as lived into, since education is part of the wider culture that influences modernization. We are born into different races, different communities and different social classes among others hence different cultures. However, some traditions that make up the different cultures have always rubbed people differently, with many differing with the beliefs associated with them and prefer going ignorant while claiming they are uptown or educated people - depending on where you come from. I am for culture, but some practices we previously used to indulge in don't rhyme well with the current state of our modernized lifestyle, and at the same time we have forgotten some of our best traditional practices while adopting others that continuously destroy our authentic fabric.

In Uganda for example, I understand that some clans within the Karamojong community of Uganda used to pay their dowry during the customary ceremony. They would pick the most strongest and athletic brother of the bride, he is then given a spear and mandated to throw the farthest he can in a parade of cattle, and from where he stands up to the point it shoots the ground, the cattle within that range is what the bride is worth and paid as the bride price. Now, this is tricky since to some, for one to be rich, daughters were of a more value than the sons. Having more daughters meant more wealth! There’s also the imminent danger of a brother throwing the spear past the circumference where the cattle’s are. Would that mean a deficit and that the bridegroom needed to part with more cows? I would at least expect the best of javelin sports men to come from Karamoja.

Other clans within the same community would gather for an event where they’d create a wrestling match between two men that are interested in the same girl, and the winner would take the bride. WWE should scout for wrestlers in the region!

Furthermore, education has proved a burden to the boy child in the community therefore being not as beneficial as it should be.

In the Bagisu community of the Bamasaba in Eastern Uganda, there is a traditional belief that the groom’s mother in-law is prohibited from sharing the same roof with her son in-law nor are they to greet while holding hands. The greeting should be done verbally while at a distance and at a low tone. While Wepondi and Nakayenze will state that this part of culture is sensitive and it instills morals between families, it does not augur well with the learned and urbanized lot of our youth. We are now learned to know that we should hug and embrace our parents. Education has neutralized this trend due to the different changes in the urban living that range from things such as the high cost of living and inter-marriages. Can you imagine a situation where Wanyama marries yamamoto from Japan? It's a done debate.

From the Bachiga/Ankole communities found in the western part of Uganda, it’s interesting how the marital ceremony is of high attention and a little…different! The aunt to the bride sets a room with a bed for a sex interview for the groom. She then forwards the credits and scores of the interview to the elders as part of the agenda for setting up the bargaining power. I know of a lot of people that supports the trend as awesome. I can tell we are missing.

There are also some cultures like that of the Baganda community where the customary ceremony is marked by gifts from the groom’s entourage. There’s also the grooms dish prepared by the brides side known as 'Luwombo', which is fried chicken wrapped in banana leaves. I have tasted this not as a groom rather a best man, and I encourage you to try out an eating tour of the Buganda as the different delicacies will leave you in total satiation. It’s interesting that these practices are still very much observed by the Baganda till today.

Looking at these sample cases, we note that some traditions are still observed by some communities while others have been done with, either for the best of the communities and the people involved or out of ignorance. But the major factors that influence the change should be out of wisdom and at an educated level.  


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