Ever lived in a setting where everyone knew everything about everyone living in a community or specifically a village. A setting where everyone was free to eat in the house of another with no fear of being poisoned or harmed. A setting of uppermost concern about the welfare of every member of the community not because you were related biologically but as a culture of love and concern for your people, if you relate to any of these scenarios, I bet you must be an African!
The African man is known to see his fellow black as brother or sister, having a bond shared which is stronger than blood and often time, would go the extra mile to prove this. The African community is unique in the art of communism, hold on, not the western theoretically defined communism, No. African communism in the sense that our lifestyle was one of a communal life. Villages and communities shared attributes of integrating into themselves as a people, of socialising and interacting, of sharing and receiving. This is our way of life. No one kept to himself.
This is seen in age groups meetings and social activities. In Nigeria, it is called age grade meeting, where people of the same age grade over the span of their lifetime, meet to socialise, discuss on ways to improve their welfare, be of assistance to members of their age grade and generally interact on their cultural basis. Everyone born in a particular year belong to an age grade and in event of festivals, marriage or burial, every age group displays in dance, songs and art. Age group represents an integral part of African communal life.
Folklore and Games is another interesting communal practice of the African community. As an African, especially one born and bred in his hometown or village, tales by moonlight is one culture that we forever cherish, in most cases, elders grey with wisdom and history gathered the young ones of the community to tell them their story, what made them a community, these stories could be myth or true life event but aimed at teaching morals, value and educating the younger generation of what it means to be an African. Overtime, the lessons from the folklore dictates the perception and lifestyle of the people. Nevertheless, such gathering were not all story telling, there are local games and songs played, dancing and often times delicious treats shared to entertain the children whilst they are integrated as Africans in their story.
African communal life encompasses every aspect of their life. In marriage, it is not seen as just a family marriage but marrying a community, most times, the marriage rites eg bride price, had dues to be paid to every member of the community based on age groups. You will be intrigued to see football among the list, for the youth and teenagers in the community, for it believed that the husband is coming to take away a part of their social and communal life. Death too was a communal act in burial,every member contributes for the burial of a member of their community, for the belief is “we bury ourselves”. Even in farming, (or any form of economic activity or source of livelihood) each age group assist everyone in their farming process, clearing the weeds, planting and harvesting, the belief being ” In working together, we achieve more harvest and socialise in between”.
Being African means that you are not just an individual, or a member of your family, village or community but that you one with a shared ancestry of various tribes and nation but still held the same values, morals and that feeling of seeing any black or African as a part of you and you being a part of them. It’s how we roll!