CULTURE! Lots of images spring to mind at the mention of the word. Dancing, singing, dress, language, food, etc. It can be truly said that the culture of a community is like the tip of an iceberg; what you see represents a bigger structure underneath of beliefs and values. In light of this, there is no way outsiders can appreciate another society without observing the rudiments of their culture. African Christian College, being a multicultural community, emphasizes on cultural tolerance through education of the different cultures represented here. Our Culture Day is one of the ways we do. Stella Feremanga narrates her experience of the day.
Waal, what a beautiful night it was during the ACC Culture Day. The United States of America showed us of how proud they are of their nation. A nation that, in essence, thrives for peace and love. They expressed what America believes in through citing the various slogans that tell of who they are. The inscription on their money, “in God we trust,” speaks to us that one of their fundamental beliefs is God. Portugal was represented by the De Oliveira family who expressed that they were glad not to be associated with one culture in particular, because they are multi-cultural. Quite truly, their missionary work has seen them being part of different cultures in many places that include Mozambique, Portugal, USA, and Swaziland. They have learnt to try and blend in with all people wherever they are. Those were the only representations from outside Africa.
Coming back home, the beautiful continent of Africa, it was very interesting to learn that many African countries have some things in common, mainly music and dance. From Malawi and Uganda we were shown how they dance when they are expressing joy and happiness. Kenya and Tanzania, represented by the Odhiambo and Ruheta families respectively, gave us a history of their cultures and showed us videos of wedding and funeral ceremonies. It was quite fascinating to notice that in some cultures, even their animals join in celebrating a life of the departed. The wedding dances were also amazingly beautiful. Zimbabwe gave us their traditional way of receiving a bride.
The grand finale was from the hosts, the Swazis of the Kingdom of ESwatini. Wow! it really was breath-taking. They displayed a traditional wedding, and they were all dressed in their Swazi traditional regalia for such an occasion, and it really was awesome. The dancers can lift their legs, and they do it in tune with the music. Both females and males joined in the dancing, much to the delight of everyone. The Swazi are so proud of their tradition to the extent that even their children can do the Swazi dances. How I wish we would have these cultural days often. It was really exciting to learn of other cultures and to realise that as Africans, no one can ever take us away from music and dance.
Such experiences teach you one thing – we have many similarities than we have differences. As such, we need to hold on to what is common and let go of the minute things that are different. It is also important for us to find a healthy way of incorporating our cultural activities in expressing the gospel in order to make everyone feel part of it. If we can do that without being syncretistic, the kingdom of God can grow in leaps and bounds in Africa.