THE LAST WORD: Why the President’s accent on hairstyles to advance the African character addresses the anatomy and ignores the substance
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THE LAST WORD | Andrew M. Mwenda | On December 30, 2018, Admiral Yoweri Museveni tweeted thanking Miss World Africa, Quiin Abenakyo, for acknowledgment his “advice” to accumulate her beard “natural”. Museveni claimed that this asserts her “African identity”. “God beautifully created Africans and there is no charge to add or decrease anything,” the Admiral tweeted.
I replied adage he had tweeted his animadversion in English, itself a adopted language, yet he could accept done this in Runyankore, Lusoga or Swahili. Abounding responded adage the Admiral acclimated English to ability all Ugandans back it is not alone our lingua franca but additionally the official accent of Uganda. Granted! But Museveni could accept tweeted in all the languages of Uganda, and they are not many.
We charge agenda that accent in an announcement of a people’s culture. Therefore accent is the best able apparatus to abort the character of a people. As Amilcar Cabral argued, to boss a nation by force of accoutrements is, aloft all, to booty up accoutrements to destroy, or at atomic neutralise and paralyse its culture. Ability is abundant added bidding through accent than through hairstyles.
The two better assaults on African character during colonial aphorism were adoration and language. Adopted adopted hairstyles, dress codes, acerbic etc. were alone derivative. Chinua Achebe’s `Things Fall Apart’ presents the appulse of the Christian adoration on African association in one of the best acute dialogues of African literature. Obierika tells Okonkwo: “The white man is actual clever. He came agilely and peaceably with his religion. We were amused at his absurdity and accustomed him to stay. But now he has won our brothers and our association can no best act like one. He has put a knife on the things that captivated us calm and we accept collapsed apart.”
The Christian acquisition of our souls was fabricated added able through language. In the English language, aggregate abrogating is black: blackmail, blacklist, atramentous book, atramentous market, atramentous sheep or atramentous Monday. Meanwhile words like blanch accord absolute adumbration of whiteness. Hence the African Christian can be heard praying loudly: “Wash me redeemer, I shall be whiter than snow.”
Indeed, there are actual abounding contradictions apropos Africanising names, languages, practices, institutions, bathrobe and hairstyles. For example, Museveni consistently wears suits, which are not an “African” dress code. The institutions of the accompaniment of Uganda that he leads are not an affirmation of African character but a archetype and adhesive from Western nations. The ideologies he has consistently accustomed – initially Marxism and after neoliberalism – are not African. He is a Christian, a adoration that was imposed on us through colonial conquest. His name Yoweri is the colloquial adaptation of Joel from the Bible. Indeed, the names of his daughters – Diana, Natasha and Patience – are not African either.
Secondly, in `Sowing the Mustard’, Museveni blames above president, Milton Obote, for not announcement Swahili as a civic accent for Uganda the aforementioned way Julius Nyerere and Jomo Kenyatta had done in Tanzania and Kenya respectively. Obote led Uganda for a accumulated aeon of 14 years while Museveni has done 32 years. Therefore, according to Museveni’s standard, he carries the accusation for befitting English as our lingua franca for this long.
So if we accept accustomed a non-African accent as our official accent (in animosity of its abasement of aggregate African or black), adopted a non-African dress code, accustomed non-African religions (Christianity and Islam), and use non-African institutions, why should we not use non-African hairstyles? Indeed, non-African institutions boss our authoritative processes to wit the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and mutual donors such as USAID, DFID, SIDA, etc.
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