I love debates; I find it really hard to shy away from one. A debate will give you a sneak peek into how someone thinks. The way one articulates his/her points sheds a lot of light on his/her personality. People have different ways of justifying their opinion. Some draw on previous experiences, something they read somewhere, quote someone, quote a book (like the Bible) or just come up with their own “facts”. Often people who can argue without being emotional are able to drive their point across better. Unfortunately this is something most people have never understood so the debate usually ends up being a shouting contest.
Now there is one line which pisses me off during a debate; that is un-African. I almost lose it when someone uses that line. What is the meaning of this statement? What is African and what is un-African? How do we distinguish between advances on what we already had and that which is completely foreign? Before we were colonized we had houses which are very different from what we have now. We had a way of communicating, smoke signals and the rest, which is very different from what we have now. Where would we classify things like shoes, make up and all the things that we didn’t have before? Where would technology fall under? Would that be un-African too?
This line is used a lot when it comes to issues touching on morals. Recently Binyavanga came out of the closet and said he is gay. So many people attacked him claiming that this was un-African. Gado did an interesting cartoon about this (Thanks Paul for the link – http://gadocartoons.com/homosexuality-is-unafrican-and-foreign/). He was basically pointing out that Christianity is un-African too. I know a couple of things that are African: wife inheritance, FGM, cattle rustling and so much more. By using that line in an argument are you endorsing the above and the other African practices?
What is African and what is un-African? Share your thoughts with me on Twitter @kiruik.