Culture Comprehesensivity

warm greetings to you, and my apologies for taking so very long to post this latest blog..

life has been immensely full these past few months .. and somehow living the moments has overridden having to sit and write about them..(I hope you know what i mean??)

i have come across some really exciting readings, one of which is entitled “a culture of peace, democracy and human rights” by the burmese activist and freedom seeker, aung san suu kyi.

i was struck by her thought that “culture is the most recent, most highly developed means of promoting the security and continuity of life”. she continues, “culture thus defined is dynamic and broad, the emphasis is on its flexible, non-compelling qualities”.

aside from the fact that i find this statement refreshingly sober and non-sentimental (debates about culture here at home tend to have an air of sancrosanctity about them), i find intriguing how suu kyi initiates her statement with the phrase “most recent”. then (wow!) she goes further and suggests we acquire an appreciation of the “non-compelling qualities” of culture.

we in africa often speak of culture mainly as ‘old’, ‘long-established’ and ‘immutable’.

for myself and many other people, culture’s compelling qualities are usually things to be held in close to reverential regard – afterall we need the stability of a heritage; the sacred patterns of our customs and rituals.

Yet when we look back to our past, it seems we sometimes negate our present. when we seek out a future, we sometimes allow our past to dissipate.

often we are stuck like bees in a delicious honey-trap, unable to migrate gracefully between time.

we use the words ‘tradition’ and ‘culture’.

Shouldn’t we reconsider this? n