Free «African Cultural Politics» UK Essay Sample

African Cultural Politics

The African politics is most expressed and adopted by some western and African audiences and critics. Africa is the group that has received a special experience from the European racists and imperialists. The African well-educated elite in Africa and Diaspora have made themselves the guardians of African authenticity. Those who are outside the intellectual and political elite, appear to be less affected by the agony of non- authenticity. Since the era of Pan-Africanism, the issue has been preoccupied by the identity question and has shared it with Africa’s political elites. The major issue is that most of the vast majority of African population are struggling with their daily issues. These differences between the political elites and the common people are also reflected in their culture. It is for this reason that authenticity plays the central role in the political discourse of the elite.

Colonization was a process of political and cultural suppression accentuating the disparity between ‘us’ and ‘them’. In the present-day literature of globalization of cultures, the idea of distinctive, pure culture and that of a universal culture are disappearing in the context of cultural globalization.

Cinema and African Culture

At the time, most of the African countries that gained political and cultural independence could only make sense if there was a policy meant for dignity restoration. The African dignity has been greatly affected by the weight of reductive and administrative mechanisms adopted by the colonizers. This had been made possible by the use of religion, education, language, and the police. The African cinema became the choice instrument for Africa re-conquest. Sembene Ousmane laid the aesthetic filmmaking foundation in early 1960s which was set as a Pan-African context. Independent Africa required a system that could re-awaken the consciousness unlike the colonial cinema that was set for entertainment.

Xala: The film Analysis, Themes and Styles

The movie analyses the many obstacles that were littered along Senegal’s track towards having an independent identity. The film explores the links between ideologically disorganized spatial and temporal dimensions. These ideologies appear to be reconnected negatively through symbolic embodiment of impotence (the meaning of xala). By bringing together the mutually exclusive but different dimensions, the movie traces the primary cause and effects of neocolonialism ten years after independence was gained.

In the wake of independence, a group of some individuals get political power through cruel means. The absurd coups are described by the author as the ones that lead to auto-destruction of Africa through corruption and sudden shift of power from the community. Although these men snatched the power that belongs to the people, they are unaware of those responsibilities that come along with power. Other than making productive investment to his community, El Hajji exploits his local community at the same time trying to imitate foreign cultures. They are only focusing on their self-satisfaction. The issue of polygamy is focused on within the film. These men use their power to have young girls fit to be their daughters as their wives. The other wives give the ‘girls’ a warm welcome in response to their husband remarriage. This is shown through the suffering a Senegalese woman has to go through in her lifetime of marriage. They don’t have to show their weary faces of hurt and resentment.

The irresponsibility of these leaders is symbolized by the impotence the minister suffers from soon after marrying the youngest wife. This happens on the wedding night where he is inflicted with xala. It has been represented as a curse from the poor citizens for failure to fulfill their national responsibilities. Although the minister is represented as a wealthy businessman, greed is still in his mind. It is represented by the fact that he grabs a piece of land from a poor citizen who in turn curses him and he becomes impotent. The minister goes to see the witchdoctor in a bid to be cured of his impotence, but he fails to pay for the service and the curse reappears. This shows that the African politicians want to dominate even the power of nature with their exploitative mechanisms.

The inability to consummate his new marriage gets a hick up. He neglects all his businesses and almost runs bankrupt. Due to this desperation, everyone sees him as a potential victim of funds embezzlement in the chamber of commerce. He ruins the reputation of the other African elites as he hopelessly looks for cure. These are the results he gets after losing all his possessions including his wives. These female characters in this film are very important because they are the characters who reveal how the power given by nature to Al Hajji is taken away.  But nature is very unforgiving, he finds himself in the same situation where it happens that the only way to get healed is going back to the poor man whose land he had grabbed. The importance of the poor man in the film lies in the fact that he symbolizes how small common citizens are in the eyes of a ruler, but, on the other hand, they are the determinant of the success of the country.

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The concept of polygamy after independence does not function as a customary structure that brings love and kinship closer to the community. The first wife is a representation of dignity, traditions, and devolution to the principles of Islam. The second wife helps to install the image of a modernized woman. On the other hand, N’Gone, the third wife, is a symbol of economic prosperity and helps to satisfy El Hajji’s snobbery. Rama, the minister’s daughter, who is of the same age as the third wife, is a model that will emancipate the future generation of African women from the patriarchal traditions (New York 2005).


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