The colonisers left a very prominent dent in our culture and stole greedily from us as a country; a lot of what they took from us comprised of non monetary riches. The implications of them sponging up our treasures came in many forms, namely the disruption of our social stratum, invasion into our religious beliefs, and invalidation of our cultural practices. Despite their hoarding, we continue to adapt and appreciate their culture and make it our own. Being so disconnected from our own heritage, we remain latched onto theirs since they have manipulated our understanding of cultural hegemony.
To begin with, there is the widely held misconception of English being the benchmark of success and literacy; if our country had her way, she would calculate her literacy rate by identifying how many of her residents are fluent in the foreigners tongue. Thus, a citizen lacking control over English is often considered unworthy and incapable of conducting an intellectual conversation with a person who does have the privilege of being able to converse in what is known as the global language. Additionally, this influences enterprises and businesses to direct their employees to be English speakers since apparently, our mother tongue is ‘informal’ and beneath us which amplifies the plague known as eurocentrism. This leads parents from all kinds of economic and social backgrounds putting their children in English medium schools which inevitably results in their children being raised in the same Eurocentric environment that systematically oppressed our ancestors.
Following closely are the unrealistic standards of beauty; the hue of your skin being fair is one that has consistently plagued our nation in particular. It is apparent especially in the case of women and girls where their complexion seals their fate; if they’ll be able to conjugate with ease, if they’ll appeal to the general public, if they’ll secure the job they want, is all, more often than not, affected by how reluctantly the Sun grants them kisses. Therefore, it is established in our conscience that a girl is only desirable if she looks like one who exocitised us. The repercussions of our acceptance of their physical supremacy can be seen today in our very corporations that profit off of colourism by developing ‘beauty’ cream formulas with the claim of whitening our skin as an aid to us. Our media and entertainment industry only encourages our impressionable people by endorsing through Lollywood that the female lead’s acting skills don’t count as she is simply required to sit still and look pretty. Basically, our women are eye candy, that too only if their hair reflects light or eyes don’t resemble earth.
A more commonly experienced form of colonial-like oppression that we target each other with is the overt or subliminal declaration that our traditional cuisine is cheap or foul-smelling. We have come to believe that indulging in our meals with our hands, letting diverse flavours dance on our taste buds or levelling with the ground as we eat deems us uncivilised. We remain convinced that sophistication is in imitating the white man who we think we have removed from control over our spices, when in reality, he still dictates which ones of them go on our plates.
This colonial brainwashing has consumed us in countless other ways as well albeit the seeming absence of our colonisers. Perhaps, one day we will be able to truly embrace our heritage and abundance of cultural normalities so that our ethnicity is not reformed and our distinctive identity not forgotten.