Two weeks ago, I shared the first part of a helpful paper from Kingdomizer Garry Tissingh, who has served in Senegal and traveled widely across Africa. Garry took time to share some of the general beliefs and values that he observed in Africa and among Muslims that hinder their development.
As we have mentioned in Against All Hope: Hope for Africa,
- Africa is a continent of unimaginable abundance. More than any other land mass in the world, Africa is distinctly blessed (page 10).
- Africa is the world’s richest continent in terms of natural resources (page 11).
Yet, in any culture where there is false thinking that does not align with reality, emotional and physical poverty is the result.
After reading part two of Garry’s reflections below, please take time to share your comments. If you missed it, here is a link to part one.
Beliefs & Values of Africans/Muslims that may hinder Transformation (Part 2 of 3)
- Personal responsibility is not a high priority and often frowned upon, but community negligence is accepted and lived with. Responsibility for negative action is absorbed by the community, not by individual(s) to be held accountable. Personal guilt is foreign and weak but corporate guilt is experienced as shame in an extremely strong way which affects the whole community. A strong sense of fear comes out of community shame and therefore you toe the line of community norms.
- Work is generally seen as a curse, so you try to avoid it or do as little as possible with the goal only to get something from it but not to accomplish anything worthwhile. For an individual to have a good, positive goal or task is perceived as suspicious. Flowing with the status quo is the normal appreciated way.
- Corruption is seen as a sense of duty or sacrifice to please someone, spirits, or the traditional system and therefore has to be submitted to in order to keep it sustained and get what you need or what’s best for the community or nation.
- Change is generally seen as a value that is undesirable and therefore not sought after. Keeping the status quo is a good, honourable and justifiable value. Traditions and customs are therefore key and important. One must not rock the boat.
- Creativity is not desirable because it tends to make you different and takes you out of the community mould and sense of being equal and together.
- A sense of dependence from or on the outside, especially through aid and help, is totally acceptable and preferred to taking personal or community responsibility for challenges and issues. The developed world has wealth and goods so there is a sense of it as owed to us who do not have, we have a right to it.
- Acquiring and having new things is a great desire and of high value but maintaining anything is of no apparent value at all resulting in quick deterioration and the need for the new again. There is little sense of responsibility for maintenance.
- Leadership being viewed as the big chief is normal, acceptable, and propagated as correct but always tends to be detrimental to development and good community relationships. It becomes a roadblock to new, creative ideas and does not encourage personal or community responsibility, nor does it allow for healthy ownership of responsibility.
- What you say and what you do, do not necessarily need to align together and it is acceptable to not keep your word because it was not your responsibility actually, God overruled, it’s his will. Not speaking the truth is an outcome of this perspective. So the value of integrity is nullified in many cases.
- The idea of status is a false value for honour and respect, and in fact only encourages dishonour in the long term. It is only an attempt to keep control systems in place and a pecking order respectable. Rights are demanded rather than responsibility exercised or adhered to. Status does not allow for real dignity or honour to be shown to anyone no matter their role or place in society.
Don’t forget to share your comments, feedback, and interact with others in this post. Perhaps you could share a testimony of how you have responded to these worldview hindrances, or ask a question of others. Maybe you could share a Scripture that has been useful to you. Thanks in advance!
Against All Hope, Hope for Africa
Reading all through, I believe personally that for any meaningful transformation in Africa there most be a change of worldview this is because many Africans are still waiting for a miracle outside Africa not knowing that everyone is an agent of transformation within and outside our communities and our nations.
I believe there is hope for all and that hope can only be realised when we are disciple at the level of culture, I am responsible! You are responsible!! We are responsible!!!
Exactly, I agree with Garry’s research. Africa leaders come up great manifestos only to help them rise to leadership. If fact they use manistestos and common human beings as a ladder to climb up and then release the ladder.
When they are up there, they grab all government resources.
And use them as incentives to cycle fans.
Africa leaders are like the colonial paramount chiefs.