How African society works and where you fit in, By Tanho Attah

Posted by News Express | 8 February 2017 | 2,325 times

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•Tanho Attah/

Africa and her independent countries have seemingly been plagued by societal development issues - ranging from poor leadership, corruption, poverty, and lack of infrastructure, to more obvious challenges like lack of electricity, access to good education, freedom of innovative expressions and an absence of basic benefits of a modern society - leading her to be in the fore-front of poor communities. There have been very many opinions, analyses, compositions, panels and contributions to arrive at a solution. But, the problem is basic in nature: a lack of understanding of the very word ‘development’ in itself.

However, this paper is not to critique any individual, group of persons, governments or parastatals, but rather throw light on a simple prospective solution to our common problem as a Black nation. Africa not only suffers from a loss of identity, but also a loss of historical accomplishments by the early Africans of the earth, in simple terms: our Archaic Fathers. Just like Aristotle, Leonardo Da Vinci, Christopher Columbus, Alexander the Great, Emperor Nero and many other historical figures of modern societies of today.

Education is a tool for empowerment, and without the proper use, an abuse is imminent. In Africa, we have many academically educated professionals without the skills or environmental support for implementation… or so it seems. The pure fact would be as simple as learning to light a candle with fire and, if there is no candle, you make one. This seems to be our most basic challenge as we are always looking this way or the other without taking stock of our own basic needs and how to meet them. So we will look at the functions that are possible in every society, including the African. And we hope that you will be able to identify your role and not just execute it, but start at the most basic level of what your role is, growing steadily, creating a community of professionals and solving problems of our society one at a time; not trying to observe the entire problem as a whole or comparing your stand with another.

In every societal structure, there are always different categories of players or types of people that exist. In the earlier days of human society, we had more basic roles like hunters and gatherers, which evolved into farmer, hunter, builder, warrior, king, high-priest, seer, slave, and further into our modern-day roles such as president, governor, architect, designer, artist, religious leader, accountant, software engineer, aircraft engineer, and so many more roles as societal development required. Every community, society or country, worked hard to develop its people, Africa included. With development comes expansion and expansion creates interaction, which creates collision and in some cases, chaos. This chaos created a vacuum for the African history and heritage, such that a connection to the development of the ancient Africa has only been an illusion. This illusion creates an uncertainty of identity and identity is the most important character for development of any people of the world. It is identity that creates rules, laws and terms of negotiation. It is identity that creates the future. The world has changed tremendously since the early years of humanity, and this has created a globalisation of culture factor. This factor imposes an assumed identity on any lost tribe, culminating features from a variety of available cultures while diluting the originality of its own to include modernisation for global relevance and acceptance. Every individual is unique and plays a role in their community, just as every culture is individual to its founding natural history in the same way plays an inter-dependent role in the global world. A simple illustration is the human body. There are different parts of the body - the hand, feet, eyes, lips, stomach, tongue, teeth and bones - all working together for the benefit of the whole, yet individual to its own nature. This is the true form of a global economy.

Thus, the African society, just like every other society, has its own people doing what they know, how they know it, for the growth and development of her people, realising new things in every day, just by being and doing. As the table below illustrates, we have divided any given community/society into eight different parts, and we have tried to identify the parts - country/community role and function in the society - as best as we can.

Country Role

Body Part

Bodily Function


The Face (The Identity)

Identity Creation and Presentation Management

Scientists/ Inventor/ Artist/ Creator/ Innovator/ Philosopher (Thinker)

The Brain (The System)

To Provide Solutions, Create Ideas and Structure for Societal Sustenance

Process Engagement/ End- User (Consumer)

The Stomach (Public Citizens)

Beneficiary of Solutions, services and products created by the System/ community. They need to be fed when hungry for something new

Executioners/ Skilled workers/ Labour workers

The Hands and Feet (Industry)

To build and ensure distribution to all required tasks as designed by the system

Activists and Humanitarian Services

The Heart (The Conscience)

They look out for the interests of the entire body, ensuring that every part gets its fair share of blood supply which means the resources built by the society

Historical Component (Library, City Halls, Records)

The Internal Organs, Lungs, Intestines, Liver, Kidney (Historical Data Site)

They serve as the evidence of existence of the society and milestones achieved during a set period in time

Motivational Speakers, Preachers, Media, Information Management & Processing

Nerves, Veins, Blood, Vessels (Communication Network)

They are in charge of information distribution, sending data to all parts as required, knowing the state of the body (Society/ Community)

Military, Police, Navy, Structural Organisations: Insurance, Banking, Legal, Organised Funding

Bones, Skeletal Structure, Joints, Muscles

They Ensure a strong stature and proper human or societal physique. It is important to note that they create the strength perception of the society or person by another individual or community

In summary, our society is not lost as there is not just hope, but also a possibility to begin to build anew with what we already know, while ensuring that they solve our actual problems, one item at a time. The African society is built on community, a community that is built on our cultural heritage. To ignore this is too ignore the potential of the ancient African: the Africans who built the pyramids of Egypt, who built castles and explored well beyond borders. Let us not be quick to rule out who we are as Africans, thereby blending what is unknown with a value system of a different but familiar modern culture. The African struggle is not for the future, but for the identity of the past. This identity is not lost, it is in us. It is in our fields, in our forests, in our homes, in our tongues, in our minds and in our hearts. Let us brave the day and come together as a single whole with all its moving parts functioning and the Africa of today, will be an African City, full of beautiful communities, societies and cities, representing a cultures of not just colour but innovation, development, technology and prosperity, because that is who we are and who we have always been.

NB: The future generations need to know that it is not just about ‘who you are,’ but about ‘who we are’. We can begin to create, starting from this very day. Not longing for things we do not have or cannot yet do, but working daily with what we can, and building it excellently to solving our challenges of the day, for they are many.

•Tanho Attah, Social Innovator, is of E & TA Solution Consultants. He can be reached via

Source: News Express

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