Hoe dit deurwerk na die 21ste eeu

Om sinvol in Afrika te leef, moet ons die denkpatrone van Afrika verstaan. Die tradisionele denkpatrone is nêrens in suiwer vorm te vinde nie, maar daar is baie beskrywings van sulke patrone, deur Westerse skrywers en, belangrik, deur skrywers uit Afrika self. Eerstens word aandag gegee aan die denkpatrone wat hierdie skrywers uitlig. Tweedens kyk ons na die wyse waarop hierdie denkpatrone in wisselwerking met ander geesteswêrelde, soos die moderne Westerse kultuur en die Christelike geloof, verander het. Daar het baie interessante kombinasies plaasgevind. Dan kyk ons ook na wyses waarop die denkpatrone steeds deurwerk na die wêreld waarin ons leef.

Aanhalings uit die literatuur

Attie van Niekerk 2009
`n Mens kan `n kultuur op verskillende maniere probeer beskryf: deur analises, deur verhale, en so meer. In hierdie gedeelte word `n aantal aanhalings uit die literatuur aangebied vir oorweging en nadenke.
Met “patrone” word aangedui dat dit hier oor tendense gaan, nie vaste gegewens waarmee mense gestereotipeer kan word nie. Kultuur is een faktor wat ons denke en optrede vorm, maar daar is verskeie ander faktore wat daarmee saam `n rol speel. Begrip van kultuurpatrone help ons wel om meer intelligent op te tree.
Daar is een goue draad wat deur al die aanhalings loop: die beginsel van eenheid en kontinuïteit.
“The immanence that creates the underlying unity of all things…”
Die skrywer Laurens van der Post verwys na die volgende verhaaltjie, wat `n mens baie aan die skeppingsverhaal in Genesis 1 laat dink, behalwe dat God (Dxui) hier een is met alles:
“When the sun rose Dxui was a flower. The birds ate of him as a flower until the sun set. The night fell. He lay down and slept. The place was dark and the sun rose. Dxui tall as a tree was another and larger kind of flower, but when the night fell Dxui was Dxui. The sun rose and Dxui again was a flower – a light-coloured flower that turned into a green fruit which ripened in time, but when the sun went down again Dxui was a man who rested. When the sun rose again, Dxui was Dxui and went away to become a palm…”.
John V Taylor (1963: The primal vision SCM Press, p73), `n sendeling, gee as volg kommentaar:
“So through one metamorphosis after another the tale unfolds, not of a divine making, for, inconsequently, birds, sun and so on were already there, but of a divine involvement. It is the immance that creates the underlying unity of all things.”

Kontinuïteit

Die bekende Suid-Afrikaanse digter Mazisi Kunene (Duerden and Pieterse, African writers talking”, Heinemann, London, 1972, p 88) skryf :
“… in the nature of African society there is a sense of continuity, from the past, and the present, and the future, and this sense of continuity is in fact the basic philosophy of African life.”

`n Ewewig van magte

Volgens Axel-Ivar Berglund, `n Sweedse sendeling wat in Zoeloeland grootgeword het, het die God van die Bybel alles geskape en gesien dat dit goed was, “…. while from Umvelingqangi flows power, amandla, which is both creative, positive and strengthening and, on the other hand, vile, evil and destructive” (Berglund, A: African concepts of health, sickness and health in Listerud, G (ed): The report of the Umpulo consultation on the healing ministry of the church, Umpumulo, Natal 1967:41).
Daar is `n ewewig van magte, van dag en nag, warm en koud, sterk en swak, regs en links, bo en onder, lewe en dood, gesondheid en siekte: “The one cannot exist without the other. The two are dependent on each other. In the same way that one cannot have a right if there is no left, so likewise one cannot have merely health if there has been no sickness. This mode of reasoning has as its background the complete problem of suffering. It is a way of explaining the question of suffering” (Berglund, 1967:47).
Die voorvaders en die medemens, wat in ubuntu besing word as die bron van lewe en identiteit, is ook die oorsprong van teenspoed en dood: “….the solidarity principle or UBUNTU. Individual conformity and loyalty to the group, is demanded and expected. The dark side of Ubuntu means failure to do so will meet harsh punitive measures such as evening “Dunlop treatment” or “necklacing”, burning of houses and assassination” (Mbigi, Lovemore en Steyn, Melissa: Ubuntu. The spirit of African transformation management Knowledge Resources, Randburg, 1995, p 58).

Siekte en gesondheid

In die tradisionele kultuur behoort die lewe nie aan die indiwidu nie, maar aan die familie of stam. Die indiwidu is belangrik omdat hy of sy die lewe van een geslag na die ander voortdra. Siekte word nie soseer as `n indiwiduele saak ervaar nie, maar as iets wat die voortgang van die stam bedreig. Lewe vereis balans, harmonie, gesondheid en vrede:
“So important is the Zulu outlook on ‘impilo’, life, that everything in society is there more-or-less merely to take care of, encourage and stabilize the life of the tribe… Everything that disturbs the normal and prosperous flow of life-force, amandla, in its creative ability of ‘impilo’ in a tribe, that thing is evil. Childlessness is one of the great evils because it touches the essential concepts of life and being …. Sickness is a step in the direction of death, a step that clearly points to the activity of the evil powers” (Berglund, 1967:39,41).

Oorsaak en gevolg

Die filosoof K C Anyanwu het geskryf:

“The unity of the self and the world, mind and matter, is something magical because it defies any rational understanding. We can only say that the self and the world interpenetrate each other in such a way that we do not know where the self begins and ends for the world to begin. …(T)he West seeks rational causality in all things. What happens if nature is alive, if spirit permeates the whole universe, if consciousness cannot grasp the factors of causality? Effects would then be interpreted as magical and so also the method… Magic raises up the question of causality … the whole truth about cause is magical, that is, it belongs to the non-material world” (Anyanwu, K C 1984, in Ruch E A and Anyanwu, K C: African philosophy, Rome: Catholic Book Agency, pp 87-93).
“Africans have had to postulate external hostile powers and agencies more powerful than human beings, with which to account for the misfortunes that confront them….one is apt to look for the reason in a context outside that of physical cause and effect. Naturally, no questions are raised with regard to one’s inability to fulfil one’s ambitions, because causes are always externalised and personalised” (Simon Maimela, 1985: Salvation in African Traditional Religions, in Missionalia, pp 7,73.)

Indiwidu en gemeenskap

Die teoloog Gabriël M Setiloane (1986: “Human values and rights – an African assessment”, Scriptura No 18) skryf: “The primary centre of being is the community … Africans have a tremendous difficulty with the concept ‘individual’. Does such a thing exist?”
Nog `n teoloog, J A van Wyk (1984: Liberation theology in the African context in Hofmeyr en Vorster. “New faces of Africa”, UNISA, Pretoria) stem saam: “The communal emphasis has caused many Africans to feel the centre of their identity as being outside themselves, in the community.”
Jomo Kenyatta (1985: Facing Mount Kenya African Writers Series 219, Heinemann, London, p 119) voorheen president van Kenya, beskryf die Gikuyu tradisie: “Individualism is associated with black magic… An individualist is looked upon with suspicion… one who works only for himself and is likely to end up as a wizard. He may lack assistance when he needs it… (T)here is no really individual affair, for everything has a moral and social reference… corporate effort is the other side of corporate ownership; and corporate responsibility is illustrated in corporate work no less than in corporate sacrifice and prayer… an individualist is looked upon with suspicion … one who works only for himself and is likely to end up as a wizard.”
Baie skrywers sê dieselfde, soos G-C M Mutiso (1974: Socio-political thought in African lierature: Weusi” MacMillan, London, p 83): “The community, in African literature, dominates all aspects of African thought. Dances are communal and worship is communal. Property was held communally before the colonial era and there are attempts today to reinstate that practice. This inbuilt bias toward the community means that individualism is always seen as a deviance…”
Mazisi Kunene (Duerden and Pieterse, African writers talking, Heinemann, London, 1972, pp 88-89): “In Africa the emphasis is always on the symbol which in essence is the representation of the attitude of the community. In Europe it has long been different: European society has for a long time been organised in individualistic terms, and the emphasis has always been on the individual, and the expressions and the exchange of conversations between individuals in art and drama.”

Die huis

“The circle is the most telling symbol of the African world view. To comprehend it is to come close to the African feeling of unity and harmony. The area circumscribed by the circle is unbroken and whole. It has no top or bottom, no more or less. All the dynamics in this area combine to form a balanced harmony. Sunrise, sunset, noon and midnight are held together in the circle. It separates what is outside from what is inside. Within life is a unity, held together by a hidden centre. Should the circle be ruptured, the unity will disintegrate and life will be extinguished. Within there is shelter, outside there is defencelessness. The circle circumscribes order, any one outside of it has no place to live.
“The right and left hand sides, the side of strength and that of weakness, stand next to each other in equilibrium. Life and death balance each other; harmony of forces prevails.
“The African derives his confidence to face life from the unity of his world, through which he experiences what European existentialism wants to achieve, the uncleft unity of subject and object, the interchangability of inside and outside, the relation to one’s surroundings and the imbedding of the individual in the community. Thought and feeling, which exist side by side in the West, form a unity here” (Theo Sundermeier, Unio analogica. Understanding African dynamistic patters of thought Missionalia 1973:120).

Eenheid met die natuur deur rituele

Wole Soyinka `n skrywer en Nobelpryswenner uit Nigerie, het geskryf dat mense een word met die vrugbaarheid van die natuur deur religieuse rites. Dit bevredig die “…needs of humans to swill, gorge and copulate on a scale such as Nature’s on her monstrous cycle of regeneration… Man reaffirms his indebtedness to earth, dedicates himself to the demands of continuity and invokes the energies of productivity. Reabsorbed within the communal psyche he provokes the resources of nature: he is in turn replenished for the cyclic drain in his fragile individual potency” (Wole Soyinka, 1973: The Bacchae of Euripides, a communion rite London, Eyre Methuen, p xii).
Eweneens uit Wes-Afrika kom hierdie beskrywing van die digter-president Leopold Senghor se gedigte: “The song of the beating dark blood, the recounting of the tales at evening, the children asleep on their monther’s backs, and the weaving feet of dancers invoking the hour of ultimate night, all state the magic of this black mythical moment of existence in sharp contradiction to the opaque description of the light of Europe. At this hour, at the call of the woman, the Earth Mother, the ancestors gather to talk to their children. The unity between the living and the dead enforces the eternal links… It is this same woman, naked, clothed in black sin, who expresses the principle of beauty… the firm-fleshed ripe fruit… raptures of black wine, the rhythmic beat of the tom-tom….” (Kofi Awoonor 1976, The breast of the earth. New York: Anchor Books, p166.)
Die Suid-Afrikaanse skrywer Ezekiel Mphahlele het iets soortgelyks gesê, maar heelwat meer besadigd: “This game helped through ritual and song and poetry to approach the totality of life as he saw it. This in turn would lead him on to a sense of belonging in some ground pattern or design, a sense of continuity which connected him to his ancestors. This ground design would reflect a Supreme Genius he could only conceive when ritual and poetry imposed order on the environment so that man felt the interconnectedness of things” (“Variations on a theme: race and colour: Présence Africaine, 83(3), p:24)

Eenheid met die grond

“In Gikuyu life the earth is so visibly the mother of all things animate, and the generations are so closely linked together by their common participation in the land, that agricultural ritual, and reverence for ancestral spritis, must naturally play the foremost part in religious ceremonial… Communion with the ancestral spirits is perpetuated through contact with the soil in which the ancestors of the tribe lie buried… the earth is the most sacred thing above all that are dwelling or on it… Ceremonies are performed to cause the rain to fall, to purify and bless the seeds, and again to purify the crops” (Kenyatta 1985: Facing Mount Kenya, Heinemann, pp 21,243-254,316).
Hierdie eenheid het politieke en religieuse betekenis: “We always come back to our roots. The land is also the bedroom where we put our departed loved ones to bed. It is also the house of our ancestors. We always go back to them to have our dialogue with them, to retain and promote our sense of community. Without them we lose our sense of continuity and history. Without them and their land we float like a ship without an anchor and compass on a stormy sea…” (Mofokeng ca 1987 A black Christology: a new beginning Journal of Black Theology in South Africa, p:11).

Tegnologie

Die Westerse siening van tegnologie word mooi illustreer in die volgende aanhaling uit `n boek van Ayn Rand, wat oor `n trein gaan: “To take the pounding violence of sixteen motors, she thought, the thrust of seven thousand tons of steel and freight, to withstand it, grip it and swing it round a curve…. What made it possible? What power?… The motors were a moral code cast in steel. They are alive, she thought, because they are the physical shape of the action of a living power of the mind that had been able to grasp the whole of this complexity, to set its purpose, to give it form… the power of a living mind – the power of thought and choice and purpose” (Ayn Rand: Atlas shrugged).
Hierdie beskrywing van die mens se mag oor die natuur is in sterk kontras met die siening van tegnologie wat ons kry by die Franse skrywer Camara Laye van Frans-Guinea. Hy beskryf `n ystersmid wie se gebruik van die tegnologie opgeneem is in die tradisionele kultuur van Afrika. Daar was `n swart slangetjie wat in `n gat in die muur gewoon het en dikwels gekom het dat die smid sy koppie vryf. Die slang verteenwoordig die beskermgees van die familie. Die smid vertel: “Everything is transmitted to me in the course of the night, together with all the work I shall have to perform, so that from the start, without having to cast about in my mind, I know how to repair whatever is brought to me; and it is these things that have established my renown as a craftsman… I owe it to the guiding spirit of our race” (Camara Laye, The African Child, 1954:19).

Die strewe om die eenheid te herstel

Kofi Awoonor, `n Ghanees, lewer kommentaar op die bekende boek van Chinua Achebe “Things fall apart” (in Afrikaans vertaal deur Chris Barnard, met die titel: `n Pad loop dood): “To Achebe, the African world before the arrival of Europe was a well-integrated one, with dignity and honour… As a story of the tragic encounter between Africa and Europe, it is an attempt to capture and reinstate the pristine integrity which has been so traumatically shattered by that confrontation… Order and coherence are followed by that slow, imperceptible and disguised process of destruction and decay… when the Christians come… the seeds of havoc are planted.”
As dit die probleem is, is die oplossing as volg: “widening the circle… ultimately will constitute the only human progress… the reunification of all things in a primary universal construct” – Kofi Awoonor: Tradition and continuity in African literature, in Smith, Rowland (ed): Exile and Tradition, Longman and Dalhousie Press, London).
W A de Klerk het `n skrywer uit die Swart Bewussynbeweging aangehaal wat iets soortgelyks gesê het: “Blackness means widening the circle, absorbing and integrating instead of being absorbed and integrated… blacks must establish moral and actual authority over the whole” (W A de Klerk: 1979, The Puritans in Africa, Penguin, p 322).
Ten slotte: Die Afrika-kultuur werk nog deur in die stad, soos gesien kan word in die antwoorde op `n vraelys wat met 500 verstedelikte mense gedoen is in 1997, sien volgende bladsy). In 2004 het ons `n vraelys ingevul by 528 respondente, ewekansig gekies in swart woonbuurte in Secunda en Sasolburg: 96% het aangedui dat hulle snags hulle vensters toemaak uit vrees vir misdadigers, en 84% dat hulle dit toemaak uit vrees vir hekse wat kan invlieg (Holm, D; Murray, M; and Pauw, C (2005), The interface between social dynamics and thermal effects in the design of subsidy housing in South Africa, Pretoria: XXXIII IAHS World Congress on Housing).

Question Don’t know Not at all Agree a little Agree a lot
A fire or coal stove in the home brings and keeps my family together 1.6% 7.4% 10,6% 80.4%
It is better to live in a zinc house/shack than a traditional hut 5.4% 43.9 14.6% 37.0%
In our household we depend on our ancestors for our good fortune 6.0% 27.6% 16.6% 49.8%
Fire brings us in contact with our ancestors 23.4% 24.2% 20.0% 32.4%
Fire increases fertility 33.4% 23.8% 15.3% 26.8%
Fire can harm an unborn child 31.6% 22.0% 13.4% 33.0%
Fire is necessary to cleanse society of evil and of evil people 28.4% 26.2% 21.0% 24.0%
Fire causes smoke that makes us sick 3.4% 4.2% 8.8% 83.6%
Electricity increases the danger of lightning striking the house 26.8% 26.2% 11.0% 36.0%
I believe that if fire burns with a blue flame it is bad for your health 16.8% 6.2% 9.8% 67.2%
People who succeed/get rich often only do so because of witchcraft 30.6% 42.0% 10.4% 17.0%
A good funeral is essential as it prevents the deceased from harming family who remain behind 10.4% 27.4% 31.2% 31.0%