27 Apr Custodianship
Does Africa hold the custodianship of respect?
‘Respect people’s feelings, even if it doesn’t mean anything to you, it could mean everything to them.’ – African Proverb.
Think of a place and time with a diversity of cultures with a rich sense of value for people; such a place did exist. A place where children (and adults) woke up early in the morning and greeted each other, and their parents. It was common to see them prostrate on the ground and kneel, receiving their parents’ blessings. Such was the culture in most parts of Africa.
Africa was where the young grew up listening to stories under the moonlit sky and running after each other in turns with shouts of excitement. More so, it was common to see gatherings around fancy presentations and creations. In ancient Africa, creativity was well appreciated giving rise to the singing of songs in village squares, the playing of instruments, and listening to history over and over again from the mouth of elders – the archives of history and literature.
Respect in the larger world
Today, as people communicate more easily through various social media platforms, the need for mutual respect and tolerance whilst engaging with people from diverse cultures is even more relevant, just like the Africa of old. The world will be a better place when skills and presentations are warmly received, and failures are seen as opportunities to improve; where camaraderie is valued over competition. That is nature of respect in the old African way.
The right communication creates opportunities for people to appreciate others. It also allows for an exchange of knowledge and cultures. By appreciating other people’s cultures, personalities, convictions, and inclinations; people are showing respect to others. This was part of African culture and contributed to the level of respect across the continent. The same can contribute immensely to the level of engagement in international culture.