2/17/2005

The word tribe as noted

in Koigi Wa Wamwere's book, Negative Ethnicity from Bias to Genocide, he quotes Professor Bethwell A. Ogot of Maseno University in Kenya.

The definition of ethnic groups as "tribes" is a concept that was racist and ahistorical in the sense that it regarded the various nationality groups as being static, exclusive and homogenous. In this sense the concept of a "tribe" was therefore an intellectual abstraction, a mental invention of the colonialists that was intended to convey or portray the picture of a people without government, without culture and without history, in order to justify colonialism.
This was interesting because when you hear 'tribe', it doesnt really connotate people . But when you hear community...its really about people. Koigi wa Wamwere proposes the idea of 'negative ethnicity', to show ethnic hatred and Bias. He does this by examining language.
From the Gikuyu or kikuyu - nduriri which is a neutral word but can be used to affect dislike of foreigners. As in "Mwana Wakwa ndekuhikira nduriri" - My daughter shall not marry a foreigner! i.e an inferior foreigner.
From Luo - jamwa meaning uncultured, uncivilized and inferior.
O.k other words from other communities? Anyhoo, the point is, awareness of how African's perception towards other tribes...oops communities forments issues. There is a rich history of Africans before colonialism, it would be interesting to examine intercommunity relations before The Scramble for Africa. The little that i recall from school involved some form of government in the community level, and issues being settled though inter community dialog , though there were 'wars' or 'skirmishes' i rather doubt it was at the scale that is exhibited by places like Rwanda or Darfur. What changed? Hopefully his book will explain this. The distinction between 'tribalism' and 'ethnicity' seems important though. Professor Ogot's words gave me pause though.
On a totally unrelated front...Has Oprah had a facelift? Her cheeks look alittle stiff, i just hope in 10 years she doesnt end up talking like Barbara Walters with her perpetually pursed lips.

1 Comments:

Anonymous Irene said...

I would like to comment briefly on the troubles facing Africans. Generally, I think in order for Africans to make any significant progress towards any semblance of unification and peace, they have to, as individuals, rid themselves of self-doubt and the tendency to point fingers at foreigners whenever anything goes wrong. They have to grow to a point where they are competent managers of their own affairs. I have noticed that we as Africans tend to have an ingrained selfishness (me, me, me), and this is made worse by lack of accountability, especially in public office. Take for instance what's happening in Kenya. Kibaki reshuffles his cabinet, does not fire any of the top dogs, who also happen to be the top eaters, and then stands back and expects a pat on the back for being the man and dealing with the problems that plague his government?? It is ridiculous!

As for Oprah, no, she has had no such thing as plastic surgery. Oprah looks better than ever because she has taken charge of her life, built formidable discipline (we all know food is addictive -- and she must have lots of it at her disposal), developed (and adhered to) an exercise regimen that WORKS, and REINVENTED herself. She should be an inspiration to all of us who would like to age gracefully. If Oprah had any plastic surgery, we would all hear it from her mouth, and she would give this her entire audience as one of Oprah's Favorite Things!

2/17/2005 10:02 PM  

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