The Pacification of the Primitive Tribes of the Lower Niger
Living with the Igbo in Nigeria, and having a considerable interaction with most natives of the tribes of the Lower Niger, I have wide knowledge on the life and cultures of these native tribes. These are Africans with a rich indigenous culture, which they still embrace, and their beliefs, values, and practices are highly traditional. My first-hand experience and interaction with these natives helped me discover so much about Africans, which most Europeans misconceive. Nonetheless, my varied experience and interaction with these natives opened my eyes to some of the European misconceptions about Africans.
Southern Nigeria is a delta with a high population and endowed with multiple physical features, including mangrove swamps and different rivers. The Igbo have a traditional political system, headed by a traditional head who must adhere to the cultural standards of the community, and ensure success of the community. Failure to live up to this resulted in dire consequences. For instance, one leader committed suicide after considering he had failed his community.
Despite their endowment of numerous natural resources, this community still languishes in poverty. They concentrate on their traditional practices and forget to open their eyes to advancement. “Among the Igbo the art of conversation is regarded very highly, and proverbs are the palm-oil with which words are eaten.” (Achebe 64). This shows the extent of their devout to their culture.
Comparing the Igbo to other parts of Africa, especially Congo, a few differences may be noted in their survival means. While those in Congo were preoccupied with moneymaking activities, the Igbo mainly concentrated on their community life and family. “The word ‘ivory’ rang in the air, was whispered, was sighed. You would think they were praying to it.” (Conrad 92) This shows the economic freedom of the Congolese relied on the ivory, which they highly valued.
Nonetheless, this is land of Africans, who are victims of tyranny from their own cultures. Their beliefs and values are the chains that tie them, impeding them from development, and instead, these chains link them with their ancestors, thus drawing them back to the days of their ancestors. There is beauty and richness in their environment, yet this, they have failed to harness for more development.
Achebe, Chinua. “Things Fall Apart.” London: Heinemann Press, 1958. Print.
Conrad, Joseph. “Heart of Darkness.” New York: ReadHowYouWant.com, 2009
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