Loss of Culture is the Root of Corruption

Once upon a time, Africans knew and understood that money and other articles of value did not have
their own legs and therefore could not move. They understood that items found outside their homes did not “walk” to where they were found. They intuitively knew that a member of the community had
misplaced or lost an item. If the one who found the item such as money or a trinket was a young
person, it was quickly given to parents. Adults, meanwhile, would deposit the found item at the Chief’s palace, or at the residence of a person of substance. Lost items would eventually be identified and retrieved by the bona fide owner.

Not so long ago, poor and destitute African parents would prefer to live in perpetual poverty, rather than accept ill-gotten wealth from their grown children. They would question the sudden wealth of a son or daughter and refuse to be recipients of money or material items that were not honestly earned. Within this same concept of righteousness, doors were left unlocked as people attended to their daily chores in other places outside their homes. No decent person would steal or rob because of the collateral shame and stigma visited not only on the thief, but on the entire family.

Stealing and robbery are major components of corruption, except that the latter has been defined and packaged with color and literacy. In other words, corruption is a camouflaged word for stealing and robbery. Taking or utilizing the people’s wealth or resources, cunningly or otherwise, for personal interests is theft that deprives all and hampers the socio-economic development of a nation. Corruption in Africa has reached a crescendo never experienced before. It has reared its ugly head in government, permeated chieftaincy and royalty, influenced the clergy, and is eating into the fabric of the youth of Africa.

One would have assumed that with the proselytizing and proliferation of Christianity and Islam – the two most dominant foreign religions – in Africa, the continent would have been less corrupt because of the sacred teachings of the Bible and the Koran. In fact, today, in most Africa countries, there are more churches than hospitals, schools, private and government agencies, and drinking spots combined.

The Japanese of yesteryear succeeded in preventing Christianity from gaining a foothold in their
country, and the basic tenets of their culture have survived intact. In contemporary Japan, vehicle keys are left in the ignition system for a quick grab of a sandwich or other brief encounters. Bicycles are left unchained and unlocked because people understand that neither the vehicle not the bicycle “walked” on its own to wherever it was left at. While Japan and other countries are continually inculcating their culture in their youth through their natural languages, some middle- to upper-class families in Ghana are bringing up their children using the English language as the medium of expression at home. This practice, predominant among the Akan people, is premised on the argument that speaking English at home will aide their wards in school. But the Englishman is not necessarily better than an Akan person because he speaks English fluently at home. We are not so sure if culture could be learnt and practiced effectively using a proxy language, but we know that a people without a culture is a lost entity.

In fact, an illiterate is a person who cannot read and write his or her own natural language. Professor
Kofi Asare Opoku puts it succulently: “He who wears someone else’s clothes shows that he is naked,  and he who eats someone else’s food shows that he is hungry.” In sum effect, when it comes to culture, Africans are a bunch of “illiterate,” “naked,” and “hungry” people!

Go figure!!

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Posted by on Dec 17 2018. Filed under top stories. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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