Africa has a longer way to go than most, in resolving its social and economic problems. What makes matters worse is that some Africans have such strong beliefs in their religions, traditions and cultures, that these beliefs actually impede their ability to use rational thought. These beliefs unnecessarily add to the large amount of obstacles that Africans will need to overcome, in order to develop further. For example, some Africans believe their traditional healers who say that acquiring the body parts of a human with a melanin deficiency, can assist with improving their luck, health or wealth.
Others believe that severing foreskins with crude unhygienic tools somewhere in the mountains somehow make you a man. What is worse is that after these mutilations, the intentions of these acts cannot even be measured or proven. Instead, what we do see and can prove unequivocally, is the death of young Xhosa men in South Africa along with many Albinos in Malawi, Tanzania and Burundi. Why is it that Africans continue to hold on to these irrational beliefs?
Religions such as those of Christians and Muslims are also a problem. However, religion has a wider footprint than the eating Albinos in Africa. Countries like the US and UK for example, constantly struggle with the problem of Intelligent Design and or Creationism, replacing actual Science in schools.
If religion has this impact on developed nations, what chance does an uneducated African child have against the religions, traditions and cultures that they grow up in. Of course religions traditions and cultures are just some parts of the many problems that plague Africa, but they are problems none the less.
A possible solution is that rational African leaders and parents need to start making a bigger fuss about education on the continent. What is most fortunate is that Africa has a very young population. We Africans must demand from our government free literacy and science education, for all. This free education is especially important for young Africans, who have a great role to play in a fast and evolving world. Their young minds should not have to deal with the additional blockage of culture, traditions and beliefs.
Culture, holy books and other beliefs should be side-lined to none mandatory education, instead of being treated as critical factors in our lives and our development. At best, cultures, traditions and religions are placebos. In moderation, they are ISIS, Boko Haram and Al Shabab. We don’t know how bad it can get, but some of the rubbish written in the so called “Holy” Bible and Quran give us a clear picture of the horrible things that these beliefs can do to us. Actually, what they HAVE done to us!
Published: 17 April 2015, Xolani Mthethwa
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