Culture is the total way of life that people in the society are blessed with. Culture is the characteristics of a particular group of people, defined by everything from language, religion, cuisine, social habits, music and arts. Through culture we are governed by norms and customs, which are the pillars of any society. If these pillars are not properly followed in our society, our culture will resemble a perfume with no smell. It’s a gradual existence of presenting those norms and customs to people who surround us through music, dances, arts, crafts, food, dressing style, languages just to mention a few.
Culture has been known since man came to an existence and till today we are still practicing it. Through culture we learn how to be better people in the society like living as brothers and sisters. It’s very hard for a person to live without culture because it’s like an antelope at the middle of hungry lioness. A human being is a very complex creature. Every individual human has a distinguished attitude, behaviours as well as traits. It is only through culture where human beings act uniformly and live as a society. Thus, in a simple definition of culture we all agree that culture is a totality way of life of a certain given society as they live and continue to struggle against the nature.
Africa is believed to be the cornerstone of culture and every year, thousands of people from all over the world visit Africa to witness the beautiful culture, history and other amazing natural phenomena which Africa is blessed with and which it cherishes, for instance the earth surface features, wild animals, water bodies as well as hospitality of the people in the continent. Also, food, songs, costumes just to mention a few. Just as we are going to witness in this very day.
The way, we Africans handle our lives and whatever surrounds us; that is actually our culture, and it is through which we are identified. However, there are many different cultures from other communities and from other parts of the world, which remain to be the part of great adventure and identity to those people who live in those communities. We also recognize and appreciate their cultures. Wherever you are and wherever you live, your culture is of great value since it is the one which made you to be who you are today. Under no circumstance, a brave should not abandon his or her culture because if one abandons his or her culture, I dare to say he or she would abandon him or herself.
It is high time for us to protect all what we have in our culture and whatever is good should be taken to great heights and we should try all our level best to eliminate all those practices which are against human rights even if they have been practiced in our culture for centuries. Practices such as female genital mutilation, discrimination of any kind, torture to women and children and any kind of maltreatment to our society members. Culture is not static, it changes as the human being develops so let us not be prisoners of our own culture.
For those who have been here for four years will agree with us that we have been improving always from our first Cultural Day in 2010, 2011 and last year. The event is about commemorating our culture and other cultures beyond our boarders and beyond our continent. It must be well understood that, preserving our culture doesn’t mean to disrespect other peoples’ cultures. Cultures create and develop identities.
Today, and now, I highly call all students and staffs to try all our level best to love and feel proud of our culture. This is because it is believed that you will not know the importance of things unless they are taken away from you. Through the education that we get here at St Jude, we should enable ourselves to reach the millennium goals of fighting and eradicating poverty, diseases and ignorance which are the challenges facing the African continent. But also it will help us to reach the mission and vision of our school of preparing the future leaders of Tanzania and the world at large. Leaders who are responsible, respectful, honest, kind to all the people and our planet earth because if we destroy it, we also destroy ourselves in another way. I believe that, we are not Africans because we are only born in Africa but because Africa is born in our hearts.
Our culture is possible with our environment. The responsibility of preserving our environment is also part of our culture. William Mkufya, a famous Tanzanian writer in one of his book blamed the human being for destroying his own environment and if I may quote him, he says “The presence of modern human on earth is only a few thousand years old and yet have destroyed a huge portion of what nature has preserved for millions of years”. Ladies and gentlemen, let me take this opportunity to remind each one of us to take responsibility in preserving our environment, what exactly the nature has preserve for millions of years as Mkufya says.
Having said so, I believe that changes can also be brought by us, by working and cooperating with different people, even those who live beyond our shores. Through our talents, ideas and education that we get here at St Jude we can change ourselves as well as our society and other societies too. I truly believe that this young and brave generation will one day make a greater change and make the world a better place for every single person.
There are 120 tribes and so 120 languages in Tanzania ranging from Bantu Cushites to Nilotes. All these tribes have their cultures. Additionally, we are also blessed to be united by one language, Kiswahili and one country Tanzania.
Actually, there is indeed a great need of creating a balance between affirmation of the previous marginalized cultures by supporting them, and also appreciate the current dominant cultures putting forward and support their languages which are Kiswahili and other languages in our societies.
Ultimately, to make this long story short, may I call all of us with all love, kindness and sympathy to pray for Mzee Madiba who was the first president of South Africa to retain back his health and get better soon. GOD hears our voices, and we hope that Nelson Mandela will get well thus we say “Get well soon tata.”
God bless Africa, God bless Tanzania, and God bless St Jude.
Remember, “Jasiri haachi asili,” The brave do not abandon their culture.
Prepared by Eric, Enock and Hosiana – Form 5 students at St Jude’s