Agitations and misgivings about the influence of Western culture on the beliefs and cultural norms in contemporary African societies have been lingering for ages. However, there finally seems to be an end to the trend.
Although the teeming apologists of globalization and the transitory nature cultures and value system care hoot about such a trend, custodians of the African culture and worldview have been unequivocal in their opposition against it.
Meanwhile, most agitators however, continue to maintain that Africans can only accept and imbibe some aspects of western culture that are deemed positive while those considered harmful and inimical should be rejected and strongly condemned.
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This was the position recently canvassed by the Archbishop emeritus of Dakar, Cardinal Adrien Sarr, when he called on Africans not to imbibe western culture that are inimical to traditions and cultures of the people of the continent.
Cardinal Sarr, who gave the admonition in his address at second Plenary Assembly of the Catholic Bishops of West Africa (ACBWA) sub-region in Accra, urged Africans to avoid the several limitations of the Western world and do things based on their traditions, practices and customs.
He reminded Africans that they have a very rich and enviable culture and tradition, which according to him, should be protected and preserved tenaciously as their own any time, any day.
He also warned Africans to be wary of attempts from Western countries to promote and propagate the so-called gay marriage in Africa.
Beware…We are living in a world where the Western world, especially the Americans, behave like people who have to think for the rest of the world. They have to decide for the rest of world, but we say no, you can’t decide for the rest of the world. – Cardinal Adrien Sarr
It may be recalled though, that the highly controversial issue of same-sex marriage is largely viewed as repugnant and intolerable in most conservative developing nations, particularly in Africa and Asia. However, the legalization of same-sex marriage is fast gaining a wide spread acceptance in Europe and the Americas.
In 2001, Netherlands became the first country to legalize same-sex marriage and in 2004, Massachusett blazed the trail as the first state in the United States of America (USA) to legalize same-sex marriage while the Supreme Court ruling made the same-sex marriage enactment applicable nationwide in 2015.
On the African soil, South Africa is the only country where same-sex marriage has been legalized. On November 30th 2006, same-sex marriage became legal in the “rainbow nation,” as the former apartheid country is fondly called.
In Nigeria, there is zero tolerance for homosexual relationships. Same-sex marriage is prohibited by a law which prescribes a maximum of 14 years imprisonment for anyone found guilty of such an act.
The law also prohibits all gatherings of homosexuals and equally slams a 10-year jail term for a person or group of persons who in any way supports the registration, operation and sustenance of gay clubs, societies, organizations, processions or meetings. The justification for the law was premised on the recognition of the religious and cultural belief system and worldview of the generality of Nigerians.
Cardinal Sarr who was the former president of the regional body promised that the Church will continue to offer its contribution to the peace efforts in the West Africa region in order to ensure peaceful co-existence and the development of the sub-region.
At the event, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) was represented by a high powered delegation of about 40 Bishops, led by its President, Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama. The theme of the plenary was: “The New Evangelization and the specific challenges for the Church, Family of God in West Africa: Reconciliation, Development, Family Life”.