The word “Culture” is killing our African societies mainly because it is being used to condone behaviors that are unsavory.
“Culture” is allowing us to excuse the use of alcohol, different forms of violence against girls and women like domestic violence. African women and children are suffering, dying, getting maimed, going crazy, are depressed all in the name of “culture”. Women are beaten and raped just because it was supposedly in our “culture”.
As far as I know, domestic violence rears its ugly head when the perpetrator has used alcohol. If the perpetrator doesn’t use alcohol, then they (often) don’t attack their spouse and this is definitely not a cultural thing. It can be found the world over. Alcohol is used as an excuse for bad behavior and we allow it…..WHY?!! This should not be tolerated.
The Webster dictionary defines culture as : the beliefs, customs, arts, etc., of a particular society, group, place, or time
: a particular society that has its own beliefs, ways of life, art, etc.
: a way of thinking, behaving, or working that exists in a place or organization (such as a business).
Hence my question: Is it our custom to use alcohol? This is a myth.
Alcohol in African societies was only used very rarely during special rites and rituals as well as ceremonies. Alcohol was not used every day all day because our foremothers and forefathers had better things to do. Therefore alcohol use is not part of African culture. Why is “culture” used as a reason to legitimise the use of alcohol? In fact, more than 57% of Africans live free from alcohol all their lives.
We need to take a closer look at what we mean by and accept as “culture”. The so called culture of alcohol use is something concorted by Big Alcohol to get us hooked to their products and for them to keep making profits. Big Alcohol is going to the extent of putting their products in smaller packs just so they can promote this intoxicating “culture” and make users dependent resulting in higher share prices. One needs to look at any stock exchange in the world to see just how much the Big Alcohol shares are worth. The intoxicating culture is really raking it in for them and their shareholders.
Alcohol is not our way of life – we have other stunning examples of what our myriad of culture in Africa is and yet we choose to stick to the self-deprecating culture of alcohol use? We are better than that. Our children deserve much better than that. It’s time we stopped accepting the mediocrity that alcohol induces and reach for the skies.
Why do we even let Big Alcohol use the words alcohol and culture together? That’s an oxymoron in my opinion. Why do we allow the global alcohol industry, largely made up of European and American multinational corporations, to tell us what our culture should be like?
To put it modestly – alcohol is exterminating our culture, our way of life, our ethos, our traditions and replacing it with rotten morals, disease and poverty.