When globalization is discussed, it is often economically based and the people that are involved in this process are invisible. It is clear that globalization has a great impact on the economy. The people that are involved also suffer great harm from the process. Globalization is great because there is a flow of ideas and information. Additionally, communication among people beyond international borders is facilitated. However, there is a loss of identity and originality is African nations. Culture is very important to African nations and there has been a history of the importance of these traditions and cultures.
The culture of Africa is vast as the continent is. Cultures are usually expressed in arts, crafts, music and much more. Just as Africa is vast in different peoples and culture, so are individual countries. In the Democratic Republic of Congo, there are many ethnic groups that have different cultures and traditions. However, the most common traditions are in greeting customs. A proper handshake is usually done by the right hand or 3 kisses on the cheek. Men share greetings by butting heads from right to left. The family is also very important in African Communities. Men hold the position to make important decisions. However, traditions are being demanded to the modern trend of society as globalization occurs. People even state that change customary traditions allow for the country to become more developed and globalized. “ If they remain stagnant, they actually hinder society’s development” (Kwame, 6). I do not agree with this statement because I don’t think that African nations should have to compromise their individuality in order to be advanced with the society. There are important things that African cultures can contribute to the global society that should not be undermined. “tapping on traditional medicine and knowledge systems to fight diseases like HIV/AIDS” (Kwame, 7). I think that having a one sided story of the West being the best solution is dangerous because we do not get to explore other traditions. There are inhumane cultural traditions such as gender mutilation or trokosi in Ghana. Cultures embedded in African nations are so unique and losing that uniqueness should not be traded for any sum of money. There is always this “white savior” complex that is perpetuated by Western countries. Believing that their ideas are “one size fits all” when it truly is not. It is important for African nations to not lose their uniqueness and individuality in its rich culture.
An important component of African culture is its language. Language is important because it has been the way many people have been able to communicate. With the emergence of globalization, and the new flow of ideas and communications, African languages are lost in the mix. Additionally, as a result of colonialism, eurocentric languages such as English and French, Portuguese, were embedded in African societies. English in Africa has been equated to intelligence. A person who is fluent in English is more likely to hold a job than someone that doesn’t. These languages were made so that globalization would occur more easily. The loss of language can signify a loss of culture as language is a large component of culture. The effect that development and globalization have on African nations is the denial of culture and heritage and acceptance of western values. When I was in the Congo, I saw both sides of this effect of globalization in the culture. When I was driving down a tourist town in the neighborhood of Gombe, I stumbled upon a stop sign that was in English rather than French. As a country that it national language is French, it was interesting and almost unsettling that the stop sign said “Stop” rather than “Arrete.” But then I had to remind myself that it was a tourist area. However, there was a different side of globalization and language that I noticed in my summer vacation in Congo. Chinese investors have been in the country and have attempted to learn the national language. Most of them communicated with their clients in poor French mixed with Lingala. It was interesting to view the role that globalization had on language. There was the side where English was romanticized while outsiders were attempting to learn the local and national languages.
Hip Hop and music has now flown into the African communities through the African diaspora of other African American artists. In Africa ” hip-hop has been awarded its popularity not due to only commercialization, but also due to its ability to express the realities of life in varying situations around the world” (Ntarangwi, 2010). The commercialization of globalization has contributed to the economy. Additionally, the stories told in hip-hop music perpetuates a way for the disadvantaged people as their voice. Hip Hop is often stated to emerge out of the Civil Rights movement ((Binfield, 2009, p. 175; Neal, 2008, p. 117). The same way “ the marginalized people of America had a voice and knew how to use it properly and with style” Africans have used music as their voice. In Congo, the youth has taken it upon themselves to engage in pro-democracy through music. Although there has been a backlash from the government, music gave the youth of Eastern Congo a voice. “Yole! Africa” is a youth cultural center that attempts to create democracy in the Democratic Republic of Congo. How ironic is it that most countries with the word“ democratic” aren’t democracies.
“Through their songs, hip-hop artists at Yole call out the government’s corruption and ineptitude” (Lamb, 2015: 1). In a country where there is not free speech, music is their voice Through this, these youth also demand fair and free democratic elections in November 2016. It is interesting to see the effect that globalization had on influencing people through music. Youth in America uses Hip Hop as their voice to speak on topics such as police brutality while in the Congo, it is used to indicate the country’s corruption. Although through music, some African artist have lost authenticity, they have also found a way to voice their political opinions. Here is the video of the Congolese musicians.