I pondered a lot in my heart on perception of the beauty of Africa by the world at large, why is Africa, Africa? What makes it unique? What distinguishes it from other continents? Till it came to fore, that the diverse cultures, delicacies, resources and the people are what stands out this great continent from the European, and Asian continents.
Despite, the aggravating issues faced by the African continent as a whole, the depth of its beauty is too wide to be covered. African beauty can be captured through the lens of various countries located within the continent.
Every country across the African continent has its own particular culture, belief system, body beautification, which in their own uniqueness coming together as one serve as the beauty of Africa.
Putting into consideration the expanse of the beauty of Africa, culture is of great importance to the people and the continent. Culture has been defined as the manner in which a certain group commune with each other such as their beliefs, dress styles, body beautification, language among several others and it is not in-born but something nurtured as the individual grows learning and adopting it.
Culture might also mean the identity of a particular group distinguished by language, religion, habits, music and arts. Therefore, for the purpose of this article, beauty of Africa will be canvassed as culture.
Africa is built solidly on the foundation of culture because it is able to connect it and the people to their ancestors, it is what guided their relationship as well as interaction with each other.
In my relationship with Africans, I have been able to understand the respect they have for their culture simply because they are of the opinion that it is what makes them appealing to other parts of the world. For every African that is seen practicing his or her culture, there is a beauty wrapped around such an individual, no matter what part of the culture that is being displayed whether the dress style, language, or arts.
Even with the penetration of the western culture or colonization of the African culture, Africans are still able to show forth the beauty of the continent as well as appreciate most especially now that it is greatly being influenced by other cultures due to world evolution. In relation to dress style, another beauty of Africa is the body shape and size of both the women and men.
Henry Glassie, a folklorist said “All art is an individual’s expression of a culture. Cultures differ, so art looks different”, as seen in the case of Oresegun Olumide, who has been able to not only express the beauty of Africa but has also aroused the interest of foreigners and tourists to the culture and beauty of Africa, most especially Nigeria.
To Maulana Ndabezitha Karenga, a civil rights activist and writer, “Culture is defined as the totality of thought and practice by which a people creates itself, celebrates, sustains and develops itself and introduces itself to history and humanity”, it is then left to you as an African to be a representative of the beauty of Africa through your presentation to the world not as inferior beings but as superior.
Through humanitarianism, Africa has also been able to show forth its beauty to the world with the aid of significant and magnanimous personalities such as Nelson Mandela, Adenike Laoye, Bisila Bokoko and Alex Wek.
Like foot prints in the sand of time, Africa has been able to make its mark in beauty globally against limitation to the continent. There is no pride greater than that of culture and beauty of identity.
Photo Credit: Tit. 1950 king daughter’s dance by Oresegun Olumide.
Bibiana Ossai © 2016.