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Tribalism - Let's Be Individual

By Ashleylister @ashleylister
Tribalism - Let's Be Individual
I’ve mentioned before about my childhood fear of the Nigerian tribal mask that used to hang on my father’s office wall.This gift from his brother who spent many years working for a petrol company in Lagos in the 1950s was ugly and scary and moved with us from one pub to another. The mask and many items my uncle brought home had been given to him as souvenirs but they were meaningful to their tribes and culture and he was honoured to receive such things as gifts.   Apart from the really scary mask, we had an ornamental boat made from brass that was always on the mantelpiece and fascinated me as a child, and a few other bits of bric-a-brac that had come from Africa. I don’t know where it all ended up. I can only guess it was lost over time, or discarded when my widowed father remarried.
I don’t think tribalism begins and ends in Africa, though. We all follow a culture of sorts, or a mixture of thoughts and feelings that define who we are and give us a sense of belonging when we are with like-minded people. Politics, religion, sport, entertainment; it all falls into specific boxes and some don’t or won’t mix.
In my youth we had Mods and Rockers. Mods rode scooters, Lambrettas adorned with many wing mirrors and sometimes a fur tail. Rockers rode motorbikes, the bigger the better. Triumph Bonneville was loved and some of the Japanese motorbikes were getting popular, Honda and Suzuki. No one could afford a Harley Davidson. And Rockers never rode scooters.
There was the ‘either or’ thing in pop music. It was Cliff Richard or Elvis Presley, The Beatles or The Rolling Stones, rock/prog rock/metal or Tamla Motown. A person was not supposed to like both and live in both camps, but I did and I wasn’t alone. I like what I like.
My step-mother’s mantra was ‘be an individual, don’t follow the crowd’ and yet she complained because I was different from her and I didn’t conform to her ways. I didn’t fit in with her. I still don’t ‘fit in’ to a lot of things, including work, but not fitting in has never held me back.
Back to Nigeria, I found this poem:
   Tribalism is an identity
   Resulting to nepotism
   And a great animosity
   Tribalism is an identity
   Of no statutory backings
   Denting my nationality
 
   From existing as an entity
   Resulting to conflicts
   And the death of humanity
 
   Tribalism is an identity
   A scar on nationalism
   Degrading our community
 
By Onyeche Vincent Onyekachukwu      Thanks for reading, Pam x Email ThisBlogThis!Share to TwitterShare to Facebook

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