Culture, Tradition and Africans: Celebrating Queen Elizabeth II
The demise of Queen Elizabeth II has showcased and shone British culture, tradition and rites of passage in a manner that have not been experienced for years. Love or hate the British you cannot deny their strong affinity to what defines them as a people and society with a distinct value system, ceremony and rituals. For generations the story will be told of how the world learnt in 10 days the rich tapestry of British culture personified by the monarchy through the Royal family. No book can espouse in vivid details the history, ceremonies and traditions that accompanied the Queen’s burial rites.
Celebrating the Queen in death showed the strong value of the British in family, dedication, sacrifice and duty. We all saw how her son, Prince Charles seamlessly became a King and whilst in mourning performed his duties with dignity and honour to his country. Each member of the Royal family understood clearly their roles without ambiguity and did their part selflessly. I particularly admire the fortitude and forbearance of Princess Royal Anne throughout this period of mourning. She stayed with her mother at each ceremony like a guardian angel showing dedication borne out of experience.
The British Royal family has demonstrated the importance of identity, cultural values and rites of passage. I have always been an advocate for culture and tradition as a person of African descent. Post colonialism, there have been an unceremonious eroding of African tradition, culture and rites of passage. Western liberal values has gradually supplanted the colourful African traditional culture. Slavery and colonialism contributed to the erosion and made suggestion to a superior culture to those of the enslaved and colonised. This mindset has persisted over the years with centrifugal migration, cultural dissipation and identity crisis on an unprecedented scale.
The Queen’s passing has shown that people derive immense pride in their identity and culture. This is a stark reminder that as African people irrespective of where we domicile around the globe understanding and promoting our culture is a responsibility and a duty to this generation and those yet unborn. We should be proud of our cultural heritage and remember fondly the great empires and kingdoms of Africa before Christianity, Islam and colonialism. Let’s borrow a leaf from the British monarchy and trace our roots, we have a lot more to give the world as Africans.