Strong individuals build strong families. Strong families build strong communities. Strong communities build strong nations. Also, a family that prays together stays together. This should ring truer to the social optimists' envisaged global village of diverse people from different races and backgrounds. However, it's still elusive. Maybe because the community members in the global family never take time to pray together.
Canadian sociologist Marshall McLuham (1911-1980) coined the term "global village" to express his view that modern communication has reduced the whole world to the dimension of a village. Communications is the science of talking to one another, which requires physical or non-physical interaction between two or more people. But, when some people have to be photographed and fingerprinted before being allowed the right to talk across the divide, exclusivity is introduced to the flow of information, which itself defeats the concept of a global village.Professor Taban Lo Liyongo spelled out what was wrong with the global village in his public lecture at Polokwane about The Role of Indigenous Art in South Africa Today. He cautioned against cultural apathy on the part of blacks. "When white people take to other white people's homes they always bring an offering, beer, wine or something. However, we don't bring anything from our own culture when we meet with them because we are embarrassed by our own culture" he said.Systematic erosion of under-developed communities' culture, religion, belief and civilisation should not be viewed as a worthless concession in the quest for a mutual co-existence with the developed world. It shouldn't be accepted as pre-destination but vigorously challenged if beliefs held by the under-developed will be perceived as myths as compared to inflated western philosophies.Author Miriam Tlali once commented that the hatred of women as symbolised by the upsurge of misogyny in people like convicted serial killer Moses Sithole has been induced into the mentality of the black man by forces above his control. She questioned black people's obsession with modernization to the point where they are ready to surrender their own civilisation inorder to embrace foreign philosophies. "There is no reason why a black man should question why he has to pay lobola to the family of his bride. That is not even enough to buy a woman, no man can afford to buy a wife. You pay lobola to thank her parents for raising her for you because she is going to risk her life to bring children into this world who are going to be called by your name, not hers" Tlali commented.
She went further to express that the alienation that exists between men and women is not co-incidental. "They subjected the black man to pressure at work so that when he gets home he should put pressure on his woman as a subordinate, since he's been made to feel subordinate himself" she said.
Lo Liyongo warned, "culture can also be autocratic. The middle class values are propagated, even by television. Success is equated to knowing English and Afrikaans very well"It smirks of hypocrisy when the advocates of a global village can bully their way into a sovereign emirate and walk the streets of Baghdad and Basra while some people have to be fingerprinted and photographed before being allowed to enter their backyards.
Africans' understanding of a village is a communal society where co-habitation and co-existence are not forced or monitored, where every parent is a parent for all the village offspring.
Another factor is that raised by Professor Mbulelo Mzamane during the BUWA conference in Tshwane last year that a time should come when South African universities will not boast to have a Centre for African Studies as if they were not in Africa. He said that universities need to be wholly geared towards African studies, and only a faculty should be set up for European, Oriental or American studies as is the case with foreign universities relating to the study of Africa. The whole institution is geared towards teaching Caucasians about themselves and only a faculty for African studies.
Immediately after the toppling of the Ba'ath Party administration in Iraq, some US Christian evangelists saw it as an opportunity to exploit the vulnerability of a people whose civilisation has been attacked with "food for repentance" charity initiatives. Leading the campaign was Samaritan's Purse evangelist Franklin Graham, who gave the invocation at George W Bush's inaugural in 2000, who once called Islam a "very evil and wicked religion". He was failing to understand that it is impossible to unite people under one common belief while there are still rich and poor people.
French legislators who recently passed a Bill banning religious symbols also explicitly indicated that people would have to conform to be accommodated in the ideal village created for all.
Though English is being modeled as the language of civilisation and development, Lo Liyongo emphasized that, "the best weapon in classifying people is the language they use, their mother tongue. Whatever your identity is, it is first and foremost linguistic. Every language's got names for anything, god, hell, angels, water and everything". But English seems to be the only language with all words in the global village. Which makes English the language of choice, and since language is about hegemony, the people to whom English is the mother tongue are undoubtedly the power brokers in that village.
"If the Shangaan (or any other indigenous group) don't have a genius today, they can rest assured that they had a genius who invented their language. We should salute our ancestors for having created our languages for us. Dutch settlers wanting to be Africans in South Africa created a language they called Afrikaans. First writings of Afrikaans were in Arabic. This is the language created so that they can claim that they are Africans" Lo Liyongo explained further, producing further evidence to indicate that the world has always been a village.
Ideally, the prototype global village is exemplified by the Middle East emirates of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, Yemen and Iraq run by the US Central Command as a village elder with a deterrent nuke in his handbag.With such a development a reality, Lo Liyongo called for preservation of culture and diversity in the village, "initiation schools must never be allowed to die, if possible let's take it to school, so that the children should never leave school. What is done in the bush can also be done in the schools"
He adds, "ubuntu is not a joke. Sharing a beer with 24 other people is a confidence vote. No white man would do that, they'll fear all kinds of diseases, plus they are also selfish"Until a person in Waco (Texas), Leeds (England), Dresden (Germany) and Yokohama (Japan) can pinpoint Bloemfontein on an atlas map why should Africans bother breaking bread with the rest of the world? "Why should you learn the ways of Verwoed if Verwoed is not learning your ways?" Lo Liyongo asked.If the concept is going to be realistic it can only work in satellite television and the superhighway of information. Indications are that as long as there are people whose security lies in atomic bombs, while others are not allowed to protect themselves, the ideal theory of a global village died at delivery. And with it died any chance of a grey area, where the industrial First can meet the basket case Third.