Sunday, July 5, 2015

Tradition versus modernity - New African Magazine


Posted by nyekachi Wambu  1 July 2015

Visiting a museum in Auckland, New Zealand, a colleague and I were impressed by a battle-ready Maori warrior, showing his martial prowess whilst doing the Hakka. - See more at: http://newafricanmagazine.com/tradition-versus-modernity/#sthash.Mul8UVwP.dpuf
The display was suitably intimidating. My colleague got carried away and began to over-exaggerate its efficacy, claiming a warrior could dispose of their enemies in seconds. I reminded her that the weapons had proved ineffective against European firearms, and this was the most likely explanation why the warrior was now on display in a museum, and not on the battlefield.

This tendency to romanticise the past is understandable, but it is worrying too. Traditions provide coherence and a safe place from the daily assaults of white supremacy. When faced with such Eurocentrism, it is easy to default into the alternate Afrocentric space and valorise many of our traditions and the structures that preserve them. But this means that a proper and critical accounting of the past is rarely undertaken, to sift out what is useful. The Hakka is now an important symbolic ritual that New Zealand’s rugby team performs ahead of a sporting confrontation. It is no longer a strategy for modern warfare.

- See more at: http://newafricanmagazine.com/tradition-versus-modernity/#sthash.Mul8UVwP.dpufRead full article here: Tradition versus modernity - New African Magazine

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