Our political leaders and indeed the church leadership in Africa have given a brilliant precedence in this regard. They have boldly challenged the cancerous-like spread of the homosexuality campaign. Our church has spoken boldly against this perversion and thankfully our governments have also supported that stand.
It is high time for our church and government to start to bring that form of resolute cleansing into our television channels, movie industries and other media outlets. Before we teach the world, charity must begin at home.
Triviality, Trivialness and Trivialism
Another reality we need to face in our culture is the tradition of triviality. Trivialness, triviality and trivialism means lack of seriousness or importance, insignificance of little importance, petty, ordinary or common place, trite, smallness, meaninglessness, much ado about nothing, inconsequentiality, littleness and negligibility.
Unfortunately, as much as I would have liked to defend my continent on these matters – I CAN’T! Our environment has conditioned us to not just be viewed as trivial, but to actually behave so. It has gotten to a place whereby young Africans are no more aware of the danger of triviality. Sometimes, they don’t even recognize it anymore. Pettiness, meaninglessness, littleness, negligibility, smallness, triteness have all but overtaken our way of thinking. In some places among our young people, it has almost become second nature. Even our elders don’t seem to think much about it any longer. This must be confronted and uprooted if Africa is to experience, growth, development and civilization.
This culture has taken such a deep root that we urgently need to reverse the tendency, if we don’t want to lose our future generation. This reality dawned on me a few years ago. I conducted a training program for young Africans in their second generation from the diaspora. Many of them flew in from England, America, Germany, African countries and other nations. What particularly baffled me was when we conducted a poll, among these young people on who they planned to become in life. Even though their ages ranged from 14 to 25, the general answer we got was that most of them were dreaming of a career in the areas of music, sports, entertainment industry, film industry, football. Some of them wanted to become rap artist, hip hop stars, DJs, singers, MCs, comedians etc.
I was flabbergasted, totally amazed at the so called dreams of these young people. I could not compare their aspirations to those of my 3 children who were taught differently. My son who was at that time 14 years of age, though was playing basketball for his high school knew better. He knew he was not supposed to pursue basketball as a career, but only as a hobby while he planned to become a lawyer. My daughter who was 11 years of age, who though plans to build a music career, still knew she needed to perfect her acts in other subjects like composing, acting, oratory, rendition, etc. My youngest daughter who was 9 years of age, knew she was going to be a writer and a novelist. At that stage, she had finished her tenth book, even though she was just 9. I am not trying to castigate any profession or occupation. Please don’t misunderstand my cry.
What shocked me was that out of close to a hundred participants, not too many of them are dreaming of professions like scientist, physicist, biologist, mathematician, pilot, politics, entrepreneurs, media executives, etc. I was alarmed that most of their dreams were mainly in the area of virtual reality and sports. Those same stereotypical understanding of Africa that the media has imposed upon us were now playing out right before my eyes.
I was so appalled that I decided to speak to their parents about it. Some of their parents were pastors and professionals in the UK especially. They explained to me that things are much worse than I thought, especially in England. According to them, a lot of second generation Africans were actually going to jail en masse. So these people that were at my training were some of the best because they were not messing up their lives in crime. They explained to me that it was largely due to the fact that these parents have to make a living for themselves and their children, hence they spend a lot of their time holding multiple jobs at a time. These children are therefore left alone to fend for themselves, watching TV; reality shows, sports, MTV, playing video games, etc.
As a result, the mass culture becomes dominant value–shapers in the lives of these kids. If the explanation of our African parents in the diaspora could hold some water, what explanation could we then give about the children from Africa who too are under the same control of mass culture?
Ladies and gentlemen, the truth is that we must stand up and fight against the pervasiveness of triviality, trivialism and trivialness.
If Africa is to grow, develop and attain civilization, we must replace superficiality and triviality in our lifestyle with the culture of discipline, goal orientedness and pragmatism. Civilisation, growth and progress solely come to those societies where there is a culture of extreme focus, pragmatism and goal-orientedness. Like I said in the beginning of this article, there are certain traditions and cultures that facilitate development and inhibit development.
As things are right now, a large portion of our culture are those that limit development. We must identify this aspect of our culture and tradition and seek to improve on them. So that we could help our people enjoy the fruits of civilization. There are other aspects of practices as a people that are low yielding as against high yielding practices that I will like to touch on today. If these things are successfully dealt with, they could elevate us from the status of Dark Continent to that of a progressive society.
Sunday Adelaja is a Nigeria born leader, transformation strategist, pastor and innovator. He was based in Kiev Ukraine
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