A CRITICAL ANALYSIS OF WESTERN INFLUENCE ON AFRICAN YOUTHS: A STUDY OF DOREEN BAINGANA’S TROPICAL FISH
A CRITICAL ANALYSIS OF WESTERN INFLUENCE ON AFRICAN YOUTHS: A STUDY OF DOREEN BAINGANA’S TROPICAL FISH
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Title Page – – – – – – – – – i
Declaration – – – – – – – – ii
Approval Page – – – – – – – – – iii
Dedication – – – – – – – – – iv
Acknowledgement – – – – – – – v
Table of Content – – – – – – – – vii
Abstract – – – – – – – – – viii
1.1 Background of the Study – – – – – 1-7
1.2 Statement of the Problem – – – – – 7-8
1.3 Methodology – – – – – – – 8
1.4 Significance of the Study – – – – – 9
1.5 Purpose of the Study – – – – – – 9-10
1.6 Scope and Limitation – – – – – – 10
1.7 Contextual al Definition of Terms – – – – 10
1.8 Author’s Biography – – – – – – 11-12
REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE
Textual Presentation – – – – – – – 29-37
4.1 Plot Analysis – – – – – – – 38-40
4.2 Effects of Western Influence on African Youths – – 40-43
4.3 Impact of Western Culture on Teenagers – – – 43-44
4.4 Major Themes in the Text – – – – – 44-45
4.4.1 Sex – – – – – – – – – 45-46
4.4.2 Indecency on Campuses – – – – – – 46-52
4.4.3 The Theme of Exploitation – – – – – 52
4.5 Character and Characterization – – – – – 52-56
4.6 Narrative Technique – – – – – – 56
SUMMARY AND CONCLUSION
5.1 Summary – – – – – – – – 57-58
5.2 Conclusion – – – – – – – – 58-59
5.3 Addition to Knowledge. – – – – – – 59-60
References – – – – – – – – 61-62
The central argument of this paper stems from the submission that colonialism, slave trade and missionaries are the platform upon which western civilization and culture thrive and are sustained. The paper looks at the effects of western culture on African youths in the life of the heroine of the novel as it affects most African youths in the same way. It examine the dynamism and significance of Africa on the global continuum tends to support the argument that Africa would have evolved and sustained level of development and civilisation without the retrogressive contact with imperial forces. The paper adopts descriptive analytic model to drive home its points and relies on neoliberalism, liberal democracy, colonial missionary to prove the effects of western civilisation and culture on Africa. It concludes with the call on Africans to fall back on pre-colonial history and learn lessons from there to chart a future of pride in African values and create society characterized by equity, love, morality and provide for things that are African as of old.
1.1 Background of the Study
External contacts with western countries over the years have endangered most African cultures as that of the western nations have continued to influence the life cycles practices and psyche of the African populace especially the youth. These influences tend to have negative effect on the African as most of them tend to adopt these borrowed practices in place of their original and morally upright values. Such is the predicament of African youth especially in the 21st century. These negative influences are seen in both behavior and dress patterns.
Today, many practices that were frowned at by society are gradually finding their way into Africa’s socio-cultural practices as if they have been endorsed by society. This culture may not be absolutely the same among all countries and even within a country, a lot of cultures exist but there are features that differentiate Africans from other people of the world. The issue here is that any people with passion for the African culture today will belief that, the very material, spiritual and aesthetic fabric of African people had been destroyed by western culture and civilization, especially among the youths in Uganda. Uganda which is made up of rich and diverse cultural values is beginning to lose most of its cultural ideals especially through the adoption of foreign culture showcased, through Baingana’s Tropical Fish.
Nowadays, youths have abandoned traditional attires such as “Adire” and “Ankara” for alien attires. It is common to see young people (youths) walking across the streets half nude, putting on micro miniskirts, handless tops, crazy trousers which they now see and refer to it as “Swag Jean” all in the name of fashion and other outfits that are not part of African cultural identity.
However, African and indeed Nigerians have their traditional attires, but how many people proudly wear such traditional attires today? A visit to our banks today will give you a perfect example. In fact, it is mandatory in the banks that you wear a suit except on Fridays that you are allowed to wear native attire. The question we must answer is whether wearing of suit is part of African culture or western culture? Must we copy everything Western? Can’t we promote our rich cultural and traditional outfit so our local industry can boom?
Africans and indeed Ugandans have their traditional attires especially Entebbe, but how many youths proudly wear such attire today? A good look at Christine in her mother’s room admiring Mama’s bright jewelry all over her neck and soliloquized that: “But who, who would put a string of fire red, purple or green around my neck and say for you Christine? “pg 20 – 21” is a perfect example”.
The question one must ask is this: is wearing of jewelries part of Entebbe’s culture or western couture? Must people /children copy everything western? Can’t we promote our rich cultural and traditional outfits so that Africans can become fully westernized”. Western culture is now regarded as frontline civilization. African ways of doing things become primitive, archaic and regrettably unacceptable in public domain. Not only were certain aspects of material culture lost in Africa or totally destroyed, Africa also lost the power and sense of cultural continuity, such that it become practically impossible to recover the ability to strive for cultural progress on their own terms as argued by Mimiko (2016):
The social fabric was completely devastated and a new culture of violence was implemented. Traditional African systems of conflict resolution were well destroyed and in their place nothing was given. The democratic process, rudimentary through it was with great potential as accompanies every human institution, was brutally uprooted and replaced by the authoritarian colonialism. A new crop of elites was created, and weaned in alter of violence and colonialism armed with the structures of the modern state to continue to carry out the art and the art of subjugation of the mass of the people in the service of colonialism (pg 41 – 42).
The above assertion is corroborated by Kasongo (2010);
That one could refer that when western civilization was imported to Africa, the hidden side of modernism was materialist interests. Civilization was just another concept of domination, imposition of incoming new culture over traditional cultural values (pg 314).
In African societies today, youths can walk down the street without greeting any elderly person that passes by; it is simply because westernization has taken its roots. This includes lack of unity among youths. In a family where children are expected to eat in one plate as a sign of unity by the African culture the practice has been over thrown by westernization where siblings now eat in separate plates.
One of the negative roles the western influence played on the Ugandan society itself is damage and destabilizing of the affairs and activities of the youths and society at large. HIV/AIDS has become prevalent all in the name of westernization and a result of colonization.
Doreen Baigana has done what art does best, she has given (Ugandans) back to itself, she has validated the lives of the three sisters lived as children and teenagers, she’s made old new again, and has broadened these experiences and given them a global dimension. She has also humanized us the children of African’s tumultuous decades. A lot of the foreign film content on television is mainly scenes of violence. Home video, which is very popular, how then can our local industry boom?
Unity and love has lost it taste and it is no more practiced among African families whereby children now eat meals on individual plates instead of eating in the same plate as a sign of unity and love, has now been washed down by cultural imperialism. Back in the days most of our cultural diets (food) were eating with bare hands like; pounded yam (Iyan), yam flour (Ama), cassava flour, Ogbono soup, Masa, Dan Wake, Eforiro, Miyan karkashi, Miyan kuka etc are now eating with spoons and forks (cutleries) as a result of westernization which has crippled into the affairs of Africans with the aim of colonizing Africans, influencing our thought, way of life etc.
A case of our cultural practices could also be seen and looked at (i.e. worshiping of idols, visiting of one native doctor to another as a sign of worship and culture) has been abandoned and left aside in chase and search of Christianity as a result of western influence too. Our foods were prepared with clay pots, served and dished with clay plates but because of the westernization that has taken place where we now have ceramic plates, stainless cutleries, etc has all created and influenced our total way of life affecting, influencing our psycho – motor domain as a result of western influence on the life of youths and African.
Nowadays, most youths pass by an elder without uttering a word or greeting which is supposed to be part of our cultural practices depicting the sign of respect. A child now can pass by an elderly man and say “Hi Dad!”, “Hello mum”, “Whatsup uncle!” without any sign of respect or any sense of humor or human feelings in him because of things they see online; phonographic movies, naked and nude pictures on net and magazines, love story text etc as a picture of civilization. He/she forgets and abandoned his culture which urges him to knee or squat down to greet an elderly man properly which has done no good but harm to the poor children all in the name of civilization and socialization which could be seen as an influence to the lives of youths and African continent as a whole. Culture makes one thinks, speaks, dances and behaves in a particular manner because it is the culture that makes a Kanuri, Jukun, Hausa, Igbo, Yoruba, Alago, Tiv, Ngas, etc, but it has been jeopardized by westernization which needs urgent filtration with immediate effect else, our culture will be abandoned for western practices in Africa continent.
With Africa ns subjugated and dominated, the western culture and European mode of civilization began to thrive and outgrow African cultural heritage. Traditional African cultural practices paved way for foreign way of doing things in the lives of youth. Now Nigerian films also carry the same theme. Research has shown that children who watch violence on screen are mostly prone to violent behaviors in adulthood.
This western civilization has caused distortions and retardation to Africa and its pace of development, and also, by some measure, illuminated into the options that are left for Africa. There is need therefore, for throwing of the negative impact of western civilization and culture on Africa and also that policy makers can begin to see the need to reappraise their policies that contribute to the cultural death of Africa or the ones that negate the principles of cultural revival.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Western civilization has caused devastating effects on African societies and particularly the population of her youths has always copied western ways of doing things and considers anything African as been primitive. This has led to the lost of values in African societies.
The society is supposed to be a place where the youths can look up to in times of challenges and difficulties that occur to them so as to correct the mistakes they have made and also the negative way of life they lived. The story is the sorry state of African young girls and women who sometimes want the whole world to believe what they are not, especially where the society has dealt a severe blow on them in the area of want, hunger, starvation, and for those adolescents growing up without a father. This situation also becomes unbearable in women through failed marriages for the adult women. It is such issues that necessitated the need to re-evaluate Africa’s relationship with its past in order to correct these anomalies caused by colonialism as portrayed in the text under study.
The method employed by the researcher in this work is basically textual analysis of Doreen Baingana’s Tropical Fish and other literary works by other literary artist written on the primary text or about the author. This research will also involve the use of school library to consult journals, articles, magazines and news paper related to the topic of the research. It will equally use the internet for source materials.
1.4 Significance of the Study
This project is significant especially now in the 21st century where both parents and children have thrown caution to the mind and behave as if there is no order to check both individual and community excesses. The research is important because it will serve as a turning point to many youths who may have desired positive change in their lives for a better society.
Today, many young men and women destroy their futures through vices that were frowned at by society before contact with the Whiteman. Prostitution is no more an ugly thing to both parents and children. This project is therefore, a clarion call on parents who have lost control of their families to do what is right in shaping the future of their children for good.
1.5 Purpose of the Study
The purpose of this study is to change the psyche of African youths and effects positive changes that would place them on a good footing for future development of the negatively influenced selves to be proud of their African roots and traditional societies. This project will also seek to find out what especially are the effects or influence of western culture on African youths. And to also understand how western culture has so much over taken the African culture in the African societies and precisely the youth’s population by a careful study of the novel of Doreen Baingana’s Tropical Fish as seen evidently in the character of the three Mugisha sister as they grow up against the backdrop of Uganda in the book, and if possible to see how the situation can be rendered, to start giving more relevance to African culture on the part of the youths.
1.6 Scope and Limitation of the Study
This research focuses on Doreen Baingana’s Tropical Fish as the primary text. Because of time and financial constraint, this research works will be textual analytical based. There will be no interview involve and the researcher is restricted only to the negative influence of western civilization and domination. It will not cover all the issues raised in the text outside the project topic. This will allow room for further studies on the text.
1.7 Contextual Definition of term
The operational terms used in the topic of this project is hereby defined bellow and within the context of this work.
• Western Influence: this refers to the process whereby societies come under or adopt western culture in areas such as industry, technology, law, politics, economics, African psyche, diet, clothing, language, alphabets, religion, philosophy and value.
1.8 Bio-Data of the Author
Doreen Baingana is a Uganda short story writer and editor. Her book Tropical Fish won the 2006 Common Wealth Writer’s price, best first book, African religion and the AWP award for short fiction (US). She won a Washington Independent writers’ fiction price and has twice been a finalist for the Caine price for African writing. She was managing editor art story Moja and was one of the 2013 judges. She gave a talk on TED 2013 about “the role of offensive language in novels”. Contents (hide):
1. Early life education
3. Published work
Early Life and Education (Edit) M.S Baingana obtained a Law Degree from Mankerere University, Uganda, and an MFA from the University of Mary Land, USA while at Mankerere University, Baingana was an active member of FEMRITE – Uganda Wonder Writers Association, which she has referred to as “a literary home of sorts”. Baingana lived in USA for over a decade before returning to Uganda writing (Edit).
Baingana’s work has appeared in AGN, Ghimmer Train, African American Review, Callaloo, the gardiance, Kwani?, and on BBC Common Wealth Stones. Her book Tropical Fish has been published in US, South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda and most recently came out in Sure dish translation. She has taught Creating Writing at various institutions including the University Of Mary Land, the writer’s center on Mary Land, the SLS/Kwani?, a Literary festival in Kenya and with FEMRITE in Uganda.
Baingana has won the Washington Independent writers for the Caine price for African writings. She has received fellowships and scholarships to the Bread Loaf Writers Seminar, and an artist Graunt from the district of Colombia. Baingana’s fiction has been published in journals such as Ghimmer train, Chelsea, African review, Collaloo and the Sun. Her poetry is in the anthology beyond the franker; (UK), and a new version and the monitor news papers in Uganda. She was on the faculty of the summer literary festival in Kenya in 2005 and 2006.
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