Foreign Affairs: 100 Years
A New Americanism
Why a Nation Needs a National Story
Mother-of-someone, Come out and see: here's a son-in-law, he brings rain and cold.
Sister, daughter-of-someone, you go to the home of strangers; do you truly desert your mother?
Come out and see your daughter's gown; our bride she's wrapped in silk.
You're so fair, girl, so fair: What had you to do with such a coalblack groom?
What had you to do with me, my girl?- you found me in such rags.
Come my love, let's run away to shanty town, tin-and-sack town, let's run away and lose ourselves in shanty town. The girl said No-no, my Ma will come for me Pa will kill me. I'll go alone, then, I'll find another bride and lose myself in shanty town. No, don't go, my love, I won't come but don't go. And I went to shanty town and broke to pieces-pieces the heart of my beloved.
THE music floats in the night across the vast complex of African townships (or "locations" as they are called in South Africa). It is heard in all parts of this black metropolis because it is a loud and robust music. The singing dancers-all young men and women and boys and girls-stamp it out on the street each night for a whole month before a wedding until it sounds as if the musicians were trapped in a sunset-to-midnight orgy. The friends of the prospective groom and bride come and join in the dance and song. And so the theme of the music unfolds.
The second lyric quoted above, unlike the first, tells the story of delinquency. There is a ring of urgency in the words. And as the moon goes down, as if poised for a slow-motion hurtle behind the horizon, the musicians disperse. Tomorrow night again, they will sing. And here the city boy and girl have come in at a certain point of cultural continuity, a continuity that is being lived by country folk. The music is still intact; only the lyrics are drawn from city life.
Somewhere else in a dance hall a jazz combo is creating music; music taken from American Negro jazz and hammered out on the anvil of the South African experience: slum living, thuggery, police raids, job-hunting, shifting ghettos, and so on. The penny-whistle takes the key melody, with bass and drums keeping the rhythm. On and off the sax weaves its way through the penny-whistle notes. The musicians grope their way through the notes, expressing by this improvisation the uncertainty and restlessness of urban life which rejects the Negro: its expectations, its violence. They play in order to escape from the pain of rejection and to assert their human dignity.
Those who dance to this music are also caught up in the tangle. They also improvise, although this is not immediately important. But there is something distinctly physical about their dance idiom, the way in which the bodies move-physical in a way the European idiom is not.
And so an urban culture has evolved. It is an escape route for a people on the run; but it is the only virile culture in South Africa, beside which the derivative and fragmented one of the whites (English and Afrikaans) looks sterile; it is something that sustains the black man.
There is another kind of music. This is the four-part choral music composed by Africans. And it is celebrated at annual eisteddfods where schools and adult choral societies compete. Some of the music is pastoral, full of nostalgia about pastoral tribal life. But much of it talks of freedom, exhorts people toward unity; it is about passes and liquor raids and police terror. This music has stood the test of time and does not follow fashions as pop music does.
Among the 4,000,000 Africans who are now urbanized, there are several who maintain links with their people in the country, because they are relative newcomers in the towns. There is also a large population of female domestics who live on employers' premises and are in constant touch with their country folk. They are highly sophisticated, dress smartly in pay- while-you-wear clothes, but are not involved in the rough-and-tumble existence of location people. They carry back to their "reserves" transistor radios and gramophones, concertinas, mouth organs, town gadgets and foods, and new-style clothing. Those who envy them go to the towns to look for work, or allow themselves to be recruited for mine labor. The system of migrant labor is thus consolidated. The intercourse between town and country is thus established and maintained. Family life is broken in the process. But the human traffic keeps moving, like droves of ants, with a tragic inevitability. The lives of the 3,000,000 Africans in the rural areas have consequently been disturbed. The land does not hold much for them any more. The members of the family who have gone to the towns will send money when they can and when they have not been swallowed up by urban life. The Christian church, the school, the occasional mission clinic and hospital exert an influence of another kind.
Then there are the 3,000,000 Africans working on white people's farms as labor tenants. They have, like the town folk, cut their tribal moorings, and owe no allegiance to a chief. Here cultural life seems to turn around in circles, finding no nourishment from either rural or urban life. Something about these people hangs in suspension, as if waiting for a fulfillment, the energy for which they are incapable of generating.
Any visitor who sees an urban African smartly dressed in American-style clothes, who sees him go to a cinema, read comics and paperback thrillers (as well as the English newspapers), who sees him collect jazz records-in short, the visitor who sees him live in town like one who is committed to it, and lives by its assumptions, may think the African has wholly surrendered his traditional values to an urban life that is a bad imitation of the "white" way of life. The townsman may well have done this. Indeed, if he was born in town, there is nothing to surrender; he merely takes his place in the scheme of things.
But there is a definite line of continuity in African cultures which acts on individuals and groups like the string by which a kite is held to the ground; it tacks and weaves and noses up, a toy of the wind while it remains up there; and yet it responds to the continual tug the boy gives it toward the ground. Again, the stresses and tensions and segregated existence of South African urban life have the effect of evoking the traditional African sense of community so that the individual draws strength from the group. The wedding ceremony itself is a mixture of civil, Christian and African customs. Many more people come to the wedding feast than have been formally invited; the relationships between aunts, uncles, fathers and mothers maintain a hard but acceptable African code during the negotiations for the bride and during the wedding celebrations. In the midst of all these, receptions are held in dance halls and a jazz band is hired for the occasion.
At funerals family relationships also follow an African code. Each night for a whole week before the burial of the deceased, relatives, friends and acquaintances gather in his house to sing hymns, speechify, always in praise; they drink and pray. And altogether it is turned into a social occasion. A few days after the burial, relatives busy themselves with the washing of the bedding in the whole house. A year later, the widow will shed her black mourning, and she is then permitted by custom to put on any color of dress. Birth and the child's "coming out" (of the house) are also causes for get-togethers and a "little tea-and-cake." These are age-old customs taken from tradition and given an urban form.
Always Africans gravitate toward one another, even in the towns. A European suburb always looks dead on weekends. Most likely the inhabitants have gone out for a "little quiet"; or they are at the sports grounds; or they have gone picnicking. Although they may be thrown together in public places, it seems to be regarded as an unfortunate necessity. Africans, on the other hand, swarm the streets on weekends, just walking about and visiting. There is a continuous din in our areas: radios are switched on full blast. And even in this melting pot that is urban life, human beings matter more to us than things. We are not always, like Europeans, trying to master things, conquer or tame our setting. Formal education throws up individual talent which in turn, side by side with a money economy, builds up an individualism that creates problems unknown in traditional societies, where the welfare of the group took precedence over that of the individual. It is because of this, perhaps, that African writers, artists (who now do not serve group religious interests as the traditional sculptor did), teachers, doctors, occupy a special place as individuals in relation to their fellow men.
Worship in the so-called established churches, but particularly in the "separatist" or independent churches, has taken on a theatrical-revivalist character, and it is now clearly a pleasurable rather than a painful experience. There is a striking similarity between independent churches in Africa and their American Negro counterparts. Furthermore, belief in one God has reinforced in the African mind his reverence for and trust in ancestral spirits rather than exorcised them.
When I was a boy in a slum "location" of Pretoria in the 1930s, we were taught African ways of behavior at home: to take something with two hands from a grown-up; to curtsy while receiving something from an adult if you were a girl; never to occupy a seat while a grown-up stands; never to drink water before an adult if one was sent to fetch him some; never to sit in the company of adults or take part in their conversation; to allow the eldest child to take the first pick of anything given to the children to share, and to make the others follow in descending order of age. As much as city conditions allow, the family is still regarded by us as the center of society that must hold, whatever else may crumble around us. Our people take strong offense if a relative, no matter how distant, comes to our neighborhood and goes away without calling on them.
These are the broad elements of the "African Personality" that we can be sure are common to most of our societies on this continent: the place of the extended family in the social structure; the sense of communal responsibility; the tendency to gravitate toward other people rather than toward things and places; reverence for ancestral spirits; audience participation in entertainment activities. For the rest, we are all ambivalent personalities, switching from one form of response to another as we find convenient. Think of the educated African trying to concentrate on his private studies for a university degree in his house amidst loud street singing and dancing; think of the "been-to" who comes back home with an American or European wife whom he has then to initiate (or decline to do so) into the unending maze of relationships running through his extended family. This ambivalence is part of the "African Personality," and its nuances defy the politician's definition of the concept. Perhaps it is the artist, the writer, the musician, the actor who will reveal it for us-even that portion of it that lies in our ambivalence.
All this should be a warning to those Africans who think of a culture as an anthropological thing that belongs in the past and must be reconstructed as a mere landmark or a monument; the here and now of its struggle to come to terms with modern technology, with the confrontation of other ways of life, must give as valid a definition to our culture as its historical past. When one sees the granite monument that Indian culture and civilization are, and what a barricade against change they have been through the years, one begins to wonder if after all the African is not at a greater advantage for being able to absorb and contain the shock of change-if one can say this without justifying and approving the ruthless battering down of much of his culture by overzealous Christian proselytizing.
The most recent laws that have serious consequences for cultural growth and self-realization in South Africa are the Bantu Authorities and Bantu Education Acts. The former provides the government with an instrument for splitting African communities into ethnic groups, and through the latter it has devised a system of education that trains the African to serve his ethnic group on the assumption that his people must not be given weapons whereby they can compete with the European. The perverted logic of it is that this provides an opportunity for the black man to live his own culture (meaning obviously tribal culture) and saves him years of frustration which lie before him if he tries to make a living in what has already been pegged as white man's territory, and in a society that disowns him. This of necessity means an inferior education and undermines the advance Africans have made in producing a considerable intellectual force that is now making itself felt in the politics of resistance. This law supplements ethnic grouping in breaking the back of African nationalism, which has built up over the last 50 years to the point where intertribal marriages are commonplace and tribal divisions, particularly in the towns, are a thing of the past.
Whatever happens, it is quite clear that the proletarian culture will continue to gain strength if only as an unconscious defiance against the process of fragmentation.
Everywhere in black Africa one sees two main types of urban communities: the type represented by Johannesburg, Brazzaville, Dakar and Nairobi on the one hand, and that typified by Lagos and Accra on the other. In the former category we see distinctly segregated black and white communities. The institutions in European areas are usually geographically or economically or legally inaccessible to the Africans, except the élite. So the Negroes are thrown on their resources: they make their own music, create their own fun, borrowing what they want from European technology and art. Life is invariably much more vibrant, robust and full of zest in these Negro ghettos than in the white areas, whose culture must be derivative and linked with the metropolitan centers, wriggling away without direction, like a lizard's tail cut off from the body.
The capitals of English-speaking Africa, on the other hand, are solidly African in atmosphere, if not wholly in architecture. Before independence, whites here also shut Africans out of their so-called "government reservation areas," but lately have come to realize that they were shutting themselves in. The Africans have developed their "high-life" music and dance, as have South Africans their "kwela." There is a tremendous amount of self-confidence among English-speaking Africans because British indirect rule left much of their educational culture intact. But they have a high regard for British educational institutions, of which they are products, and a traditional distrust for American education. The encounter with more and more Americans through the Peace Corps and research students may have the effect of at least preventing the youth from adopting anti-American slogans and labels, and this in turn demands that they establish their relationships with Americans and British independently within the limits of current anti-West group attitudes. This is particularly so because British educators and administrators have played no mean role in instilling this distrust of American education, and it can therefore be outgrown. Certainly revulsion is setting in against Western educational institutions in general. There are paradoxes here: one is that while the British have wanted, through indirect rule, to guarantee their subjects cultural independence, they have tried to prejudice them against the non-British institutions of the West; another is that the longer it takes for the communities under British influence to revolutionize their curricula in secondary school and university to fit African political and socio-economic aspirations, the louder Western institutions are renounced. Indeed the renunciation comes mostly from university students and not from the élite or the huge civil-service class that has emerged from a British education; the educated African does not collect objets d'art, and neither the artist nor the writer can hope for an audience among these groups for a long time to come. Their solid African-ness expresses itself in other ways.
African intellectual activity is derivative, because traditionally we did not analyze and formulate intellectual systems. Painting also is largely a foreign tradition. And the West African who comes out of art school, which is without exception part of a university, finds he has to do something desperate to relate to his immediate environment, in order to rid himself of the European influences that have been imposed upon him by his mentors. Because he has come into a line of continuity in a European tradition, and his people have no painting tradition apart from rock paintings that reflected a stylized group attitude, the student artist has no way of knowing what influences are bad and which will advance his work. His best course, then, is to relate to the monumental tradition of wood and bronze sculpture that tends to overwhelm him.
His problem here is to use this tradition in such a way as to recapture not just the image but also the original impulse that produced it; and this, on impossible terms: society's needs have changed to some extent; the chiefs who once patronized this religious traditional art have lost their power or are no more. But the very continuity of his people's life and its organization at deeper levels is sufficient for a real artist to draw his material and styles from. Those who have already begun to do this are but a negligible number.
The English-speaking novelist, poet, playwright in West Africa is very much an individualist. He is little influenced by his next-door neighbor, the French-speaking Negro, who demands that a black man's writing should give expression to the African's revulsion against European culture and re- assert his own people's cultural values-that it should follow a program. Yet Ghanaian poets like George Awoonor-Williams and Kwesi Brew, the Nigerians like Chinua Achebe (novelist), Wole Soyinka (playwright), John Pepper Clark (poet)-to mention only representative names-show in their work the unconscious urge to come to terms with their traditional past, to determine their position in relation to it. Stylistically, all these fall in the British tradition. They are, however, giving English a fresh and new usage.
Except for Amos Tutuola of "Palmwine Drinkard" fame, writers in this part of Africa are university graduates. They and other graduates can now look back on their past and on the strands of continuity in the culture of their communities without a sense of shame. They are now keen to collect the oral literature of their societies for research purposes, to try to locate the point where the rupture set in, and to see what use they can make of the literature. Oral forms will certainly be of greater interest to those who want to write in their vernacular languages. An African writer will argue that he chooses to write in English so as to reach a wider reading public; and he will say that in his formative years he was too busy learning to master the tools that gave the colonial overlord power to give attention to his own vernacular as a literary medium. Literacy in English was one of these tools. But as English is only a political medium of communication- spoken only by the educated for inter-tribal understanding and not by the masses-there is not the setting to nourish the writer's language as there is for writers who are surrounded by people who speak English all the time. He finds that for the sake of authenticity he has to continue to listen to the speech idiom of his people and try to put across his thoughts in English without fear of sounding un-English.
East African writing shows the same trend as that in West Africa. The problems are mostly similar. The exception is that Swahili is a very close competitor of English as a literary language, in a way West African languages are not. It has evolved a rich vocabulary and idiom and has an old poetic tradition. Novelists still have to emerge who will use Swahili. Meantime there are those who write in English, like Kenya's novelists James Ngugi and Grace Ogot and others, who are publishing short stories and political and social comment. There is the same general theme running through their work as in West African writing-the relation between the new and the old. In addition, there has been the ten-year-long state of emergency and the Mau Mau phenomenon; one does not begin to feel the degree to which these ten years shook Kenyans until one reads their stories.
Africans in this region have not yet been given the opportunity to decide whether they want to be fully committed to urban life or not. A self- contained urban culture has to be given time to evolve. Already an exciting popular guitar music is flourishing. East Africans who, like South Africans, have a marked sense of melody and harmony, have put the guitar to vital popular use in a way West Africans have done with percussion instruments.
Outside the Kamba carvings, which have now become slick souvenir craftwork for the tourist industry, there are very interesting carvings of a complex surrealist form produced by the Makonde of South Tanganyika. Carving as an art is not so widespread here as in West Africa. There are also several painters with remarkable ability. As they have little to refer to in the form of a three-dimensional traditional idiom, such as the West African wood carvings, the painters have to rely entirely on the crafts and the verbal arts of their people. This is in itself very rich material. They also reflect in their work the shock that accompanies a confrontation with a foreign culture. Because so many graduates from the fine-arts departments of the colleges are absorbed into the teaching profession, there have emerged less than a handful of full-time painters and sculptors in this region in the last 28 years during which the fine arts have been taught at Makerere College in Uganda. Those who are coming out now are becoming conscious of the heavy missionary influence in their art and want to do something about it. If the dialogue about the "African Personality"-however uncritical it may be-achieves nothing else, it will have at least shaken these artists out of their complacency and created a climate in which the purely representational idiom that abounds at present will take on the dimension of social criticism or social significance.
Writing and painting in South Africa, as can be imagined, give expression to the physical and mental agony experienced in a life I have intimated earlier. There is plenty of protest, rejection of the status quo; there are also romantic-escapist moods, and somewhere rejection meets acceptance. There is sensuous imagery, and the writer and the artist record minute-by- minute experience, quivering with an impressionism that they have assimilated from American Negro jazz and literature. These artists, like their communities, take their African-ness for granted and merely assert their human dignity; the African in them is there, resisting and yielding in turn to the pressures of town life and European values. Fiction writers like Richard Rive, Alex la Guma, Can Themba, Casey Motsisi, Arthur Maimane, Peter Abrahams and others take their cue mainly from the American Negro tradition.
There are several vernacular writers. Sotho, Xhosa and Zulu have been literary media for nearly a century now. Much of the oral literature has also been recorded over the 40 years that Bantu languages have been the subject of university study and research in South Africa. There are Bantu novels with adult ideas as distinct from the volume of small "readers" that are being published for school children in and outside South Africa. Some of these novels have become classics. It is significant that Bantu literature in South Africa engages itself with the theme of alienation as a result of the impact of European culture on the indigenous-a subject that does not worry the writer who uses English; the latter falls in the urban stream of consciousness in which people are sure not only that they want to be city dwellers but also what kind they want to be.
There are Africans who, prompted by their vision of a culturally united Africa, feel that a Pan-African approach to the promotion of culture is more important than a national one. These are Negroes of French influence. In order that these assimilated men should search for the roots of African culture, their poetry, like that of Sédar Senghor, Birago and David Diop, recalls the world of ancestral spirits, masks, shrines, sacrifices and smoking blood, naked feet dancing, and so on.
But it is only the élite who have been assimilated and who assert this importance of being Negro-négritude. The masses are naturally unaffected, and there is the same basic continuity in their lives that we see in most of black Africa. Again, the symbols of African culture recalled by négritude-inspired poetry are really the outward visible features; their essence or substance eludes the poet and French rhetoric does not make the search for it easier.
One only begins to understand the humiliation that the assimilated African feels, and his revulsion and anger against the European way of life, when one sees the extent to which the centre culturel français has entrenched itself as an institution in the former French colonies, resisting any non- French influence. Africans here are still very much dependent on institutions of higher education in France, and the African students there do not take négritude seriously. Dakar University is still as French as ever, while the universities in Ghana, Nigeria and East Africa are now independent of London.
It may not be amiss to quote an excerpt from a talk I gave at a conference in Dakar on African literature in April 1963:
Who is so stupid as to deny the historical fact of négritude as both a protest and a positive assertion of African cultural values? All this is valid. What I do not accept is the way in which too much of the poetry inspired by it romanticizes Africa-as a symbol of innocence, purity and artless primitiveness. I feel insulted when some people imply that Africa is not also a violent continent. I am a violent person, and proud of it because it is often a healthy human state of mind; some day I'm going to plunder, rape, set things on fire; I'm going to cut someone's throat; I'm going to subvert a government; I'm going to organize a coup d'état; yes, I'm going to oppress my own people; I'm going to hunt down the rich fat black men who bully the small, weak black men and destroy them; I'm going to become a capitalist, and woe to all who cross my path or who want to be my servants or chauffeurs and so on; I'm going to lead a breakaway church- there is money in it; I'm going to attack the black bourgeoisie while I cultivate a garden, rear dogs and parrots; listen to jazz and classics, read "culture" and so on. Yes, I'm also going to organize a strike. Don't you know that sometimes I kill to the rhythm of drums and cut the sinews of a baby to cure it of paralysis? . . .
This is only a dramatization of what Africa can do and is doing. The image of Africa consists of all these and others. And négritude poetry pretends that they do not constitute the image and leaves them out. So we are told only half-often even a falsified half-of the story of Africa. Sheer romanticism that fails to see the large landscape of the personality of the African makes bad poetry. Facile protest also makes bad poetry. The omission of these elements of a continent in turmoil reflects a defective poetic vision. The greatest poetry of Léopold Sédar Senghor is that which portrays in himself the meeting point of Europe and Africa. This is the most realistic and honest and most meaningful symbol of Africa-an ambivalent continent searching for equilibrium. This synthesis of Europe and Africa does not necessarily reject the Negro-ness of the African. An image of Africa that only glorifies our ancestors and celebrates our "purity" and "innocence" is an image of a continent lying in state.
Camara Laye's "Le Regard du Roi," Ferdinand Oyono's "Le Vieux Nègre et la Medaille" and Mongo Beti's "Le Pauvre Christ de Bomba" are not bullied by négritude. They are concerned in portraying the black-white encounter, and they do this, notwithstanding, with a devastating poetic sense of irony unmatched by any that one sees in the English novel by Africans. Nor does the fascinating work of the Congolese poet, Tchikaya U'Tamsi, require négritude to attain the power it has.
Négritude, while a valuable slogan politically, can, because its apostles have set it up as a principle of art, amount to self-enslavement- "autocolonization," to quote a French writer speaking of African politics and economics. We should not allow ourselves to be bullied at gunpoint into producing literature that is supposed to contain a négritude theme and style. For now we are told, also, that there is un style négro-africain and that therefore we have to sloganize and write to a march. We are also told that négritude is less a matter of theme than style.
I say, then, that négritude can go on as a socio-political slogan, but that it has no right to set itself up as a standard of literary performance; there I refuse to go along. I refuse to be put in a Negro file-for sociologists to come and examine me. And yet I am no less committed to the African revolution. Art unifies even while it distinguishes men; and I regard it as an insult to the African for anyone to suggest-as the apostles of négritude often do-that because we write independently on different themes in divers modes and styles all over Africa, we are therefore ripe victims of Balkanization.
Let négritude make the theme of literature if people want to use it. But we must remember that literature springs from an individual's experience in the context of the culture and assumptions of the group. In its effort to take in the whole man, literature also tries to see far ahead, to project a prophetic vision, such as a writer is capable of, based on contemporary experience. It must at least set in motion vibrations in us that will continue even after we have read it, prompting us to continue inquiring into its meaning. And literature and art are too big for négritude; this had better be left as a historical phase.
If African culture is worth anything at all, it should not require myths to prop it up. These thoughts are not new at all. I have come to them after physical and mental agony. And this is of course not my monopoly either. It is the price Africa has to pay. And if you thought that the end of colonialism was the end of the agony, then it is time to wake up.
A Pan-African view of culture cannot be a substitute for the practical involvement, at different levels, of communities in national culture. It can and must reinforce national cultures. Ghana is perhaps the only African country where the government takes direct responsibility for organizing culture for everybody who cares for it. Through its Institute of Art and Culture the government channels money to regional cultural centers, and traditional music and theatre inspired by traditional forms thrive for the enjoyment of all. The school of music and drama attached to the Institute of African Studies at the University of Ghana engages in research into oral literature, indigenous music and drama; students are surrounded with these forms even while they learn Western techniques. Somewhere they must find a point of integration. It is also admirable that Ghanaians should, through direct government responsibility, keep reminding themselves that culture is not something to dress up for, for the élite, but to be lived by the maximum number of people; this the government makes possible.
In the larger and the poorer countries, there is ample scope for private cultural institutions. In Nigeria, for instance, there are writers' and artists' clubs called Mbari-one each at Ibadan, Oshogbo and Enugu. They promote music, theatre, art and creative writing with an African basis. The University of Ibadan's school of drama has gone into the creation of indigenous theatre on a big scale. The school is also helping a popular Yoruba singing troupe in its programs, most impressive of which has been the recent adaptation of Amos Tutuola's "Palmwine Drinkard" for the stage, performed in Yoruba with music and dance.
There is a center in Nairobi similar to the Mbari and serving a similar function. It has the added role of harmonizing and reconciling tribal idioms and modes in music and dance toward the establishing of a national culture in Kenya. The Tanganyika Government has a Ministry of National Culture and Youth. Unlike Ghana, this ministry organizes mostly national festivals and individual talent is not yet provided for. South Africa's Union Artists, with its Music and Drama Association, promotes musical shows such as the recent King Kong and Sponono, which have also been taken overseas. Individual music troupes are also being assisted by the Union. Here again, the accent is on African themes adapted to modern forms.
These institutions clearly point to the fact that there are groups of people who are concerned to strike a course that will lead them to a definition of the national culture within which they operate, who are concerned to bridge the gap between urban and rural cultures as a way of restoring equilibrium in fast-changing times. And it is perhaps the Western elements of these cultures that will yet be the unifying force as a common medium. The alternative to these national institutions, if we lose a sense of proportion, is for us to arrange huge Pan-African get-togethers simply to glory in our corporate blackness, rail against some ill-defined neo- colonialism, talk culture in English and French, go back home and watch our traditional dances as something outside of ourselves, like tourists, without any inclination to live our cultures. One can foresee that our cultures are going to be exposed to more European influences and absorb more. There are other conditioning factors in our cultural development: the seemingly inevitable drive toward one-party states; toward African socialism with the family as the vital unit and pivot of what President Nyerere calls ujama-neighborliness; the establishment of departments of African studies in our universities. One thing is certain, if nothing else is: it is that the African wants to determine his cultural organization himself. And in many areas he wants to decolonize his mind.