Culture is what clearly defines who we are as a Nation and it is indispensable in every society especially in Africa. All humans spend their life within a certain cultural communities, that have defined roles to guide them, to exist in peace and harmony.
Culture defines who we are, and what values we hold in certain cultural environment that have direct effect on every aspect of our daily lives within certain communities may it be anthropology, psychology or sociology.
While talking of culture, one must begin by defining the cultural environment, and the influence it has on people who live in it with concerns with social aspects or social context or the surroundings people live in.
You will write and write all aspects of a cultural society, but it will not be complete if you don’t touch on language as it is part of culture or culture in itself.
Therefore language is the next characteristic of a society as it is a direct reflection of the principles and temperament of a certain societal group.
It could be multi cultural languages, like the many dialects in countries like Kenya or, it could simply be four languages like in Rwanda.
Then culture get certain aesthetics which includes art, dancing styles, arts-cultural music which defines good taste, beauty, form and the wholeness of color itself.
We can go on and not conclusively define culture itself, but I want to briefly touch on the children we bring here to the USA, and then struggle to teach them a language and a drama culture through reading, mimicking, or sheer imagination and not letting them experience the same back home.
How can we make them experience the full meaning of culture without interacting with the real people who are part of that culture that we try to teach them?.
Is it through cultural festivals like Majuu, the one organized by a church in Marietta called KACC or by arranging homecomings to Kenya for them to interact with real people?.
I have hereby attached a presentation by a young girl who is proud and excited to narrate her story to an audience in Kenya, while full of confidence, because she can now fully relate to the language spoken by the family and friends she left behind, or was never part of while growing up.
Young Ayana Wanjiru Njoroge was full of confidence while she presented her views on language during the highly applauded TEDxYouth presentation at Brookhouse School Nairobi, simply because she at least could relate to her audience.
As a young girl while returning to Nairobi she got a rude culture shock right after landing at JKIA as all directions were in strange language she could not understand. People looked somehow different in their behavior and she outright could tell that all were different from the people she was used to back in America. From the walking style to the many languages spoken, she was totally in a different strange world.
She was terrified then for all the places she visited thereafter, people spoke with a strange language she could not understand but after struggling to adapt, she can now comfortably identify herself and relate to all because of learning Swahili and Kikuyu her mother tongue.
I need not to dwell on this further as she has told it all and all are urged to listen and get this strong and powerful message delivered by young Ayanna Wanjiru Njoroge.
Ayanna Wanjiru Njoroge is a form 5 student at Nairobi Agha Khan Academy and she is the grand daughter of our official chaplain at Diaspora National Assembly.
Dr. D.K. GITAU
DIASPORA NATIONAL ASSEMBLY