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      It is the seed that carries the tree’s greatness.



      Seeds are how the lives of most plants begin. Through the seed the tree finds expression. The journey to a tree’s full potentialities probably starts from its seed.



      At the core of Africa’s philosophy lies this concept of Africanism – the idea that something is archetypal of Africa or Africans, especially when ‘Africanness’ is introduced into a non-African space. For instance, Africanism inadvertently preaches about the exceptional languages, food, dressing, and mannerisms of the African people.



      Also, an Africanism could be any cultural (material or nonmaterial) or linguistic property of African origin surviving in the Americas or in the African diaspora.



      In Africa, our belief systems may have been questioned, however, some of the viewpoints we hold dear have made their way to global platforms.



      The transatlantic slave trade was the main avenue for the transmission of African culture to the Americas, launching a perpetual link between Africa and America as Africans sold into slavery transported with them, and transplanted, their culture to America.



      Africanisms survived in North America by a process of cultural transfer, cultural fusion, and cultural alterations. Africans, unlike European immigrants, were deprived of their freedom to transport their kinship structures, courts, guilds, cult groups, markets, and military, but Africans, defying the odds, made substantial contributions in agriculture, aesthetics, dance, folklore, food culture, and language regardless.



      African cultural retentions were found at several levels of the plantation labour force. Some of the earliest groups to have a major impact on American culture were the first Africans—Mandes and Wolofs from Senegambia—arriving in colonial South Carolina. Between 1650 and 1700, the dominant group of Africans imported to South Carolina were Senegambian in origin, and they were the first Africans to have elements from their language and culture retained within the developing language and culture of America.



      David Dalby has identified early linguistic retention among this group and traced many Americanisms to the Wolof people including bogus, boogie-woogie, bug (in-sect), dig (to understand), guy, honky, jam, jamboree, jitter-(bug), jive, John, juke(box), fuzz (police), hippie, mumbojumbo, OK, phony, rooty-toot(y), and rap, to name just a few.



      African culture also subsisted in the form of folklore. Brer Rabbit, Brer Wolf, Brer Bear, and Sis’ Nanny Goat were part of the heritage the Wolof shared with other West African peoples such as the Hausa, Fula (Fulani), and Mandinka. The rabbit stories are also found in parts of Nigeria, Angola, and East Africa. Other animal fables that stayed prevalent in North America include the Tortoise stories found among the Yoruba, Igbo, and Edo-Bini peoples of Nigeria, and the Spider (Anansi) tales, found throughout much of West Africa, including Ghana, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. The latter have reappeared in the United States in the form of Aunt Nancy stories, which found their way into American culture through Joel Chandler Harris’s Uncle Remus stories, as well as through more authentic African-American sources.



      Many African servants were intermediaries in the acculturation process. The acculturation process was mutual as well as reciprocal. While the servants were drawing from the European heritage, the Europeans were also drawing ideas that would form part of the European heritage from their African servants.



      Africans assimilated white culture and the Europeans adopted some aspects of African customs and practices, including African methods of rice cultivation, African cuisine (which had a profound impact on what became southern cooking), open grazing of cattle, and the use of herbal medicines to cure diseases. For example, Africans are credited with introducing organic treatments for smallpox to America, as well as antidotes for snakebites and other poisons.



      How about cuisine? African cooks introduced deep-fat frying, a cooking technique that originated in Africa. Most southern stews (gumbos) and nut stews are African in origin. Gumbo (kingombo), a soup made of okra pods, shrimp, and powdered sassafras leaves, was known to most southerners by the 1780s. Other southern favorites are jambalaya (bantu tshimbolebole) and callaloo, a thick soup similar to gumbo.



      Some important crops brought directly from Africa during the transatlantic slave trade were gathered for Africans on board slave ships, including okra, tania, blackeyed peas, and kidney beans. Other crops introduced into North America from Africa are coffee, peanuts, millet, sorghum, guinea melon, watermelon, yams, and sesame seeds.



      Another African dish that was recreated by the descendants of Africans in North America is fufu, a traditional African meal eaten from Senegambia to Angola. In South Carolina, it is called “turn meal and flour.”



      As early as 1739 American naturalist Marc Catesby noted that slaves made a mush from cornmeal called pone bread. He also noted that slaves used Indian corn hominy and made grits (similar to the African dish eba.) Other African dishes that became part of southern cuisine are hop-n-johns (rice and black-eyed peas cooked together) and jollof rice (red rice). The first rice seeds were imported to South Carolina directly from Madagascar in 1685.



      Africans supplied the labour and the technical expertise, and Africans off the coast of Senegal trained Europeans in its cultivation which explains why the methods of rice cultivation used in West Africa and South Carolina were identical.



      Africa also contributed to American cattle raising. Fulanis accustomed to cattle raising in the Futa Jallon in Senegambia oversaw the rapid expansion of the British-American cattle herds in the middle of the eighteenth century. They were responsible for introducing open grazing patterns, now practiced throughout the American cattle industry. This practice is used worldwide in cattle culture today. Open grazing made practical use of an abundance of land and a limited labour force.



      Much of the early language associated with cowboy culture had a strong African flavour. The word bronco (probably of Efik/Ibibio and Spanish origins) was used centuries ago to denote Spanish and African slaves who worked with cattle and horses.



      These are only some of the ways in which African culture contributed to what was to become American culture. Americans share a dual cultural experience—one side European and the other African.



      Let us now come back to the roots, the roots that hold the tree that sprang out of the fruits from where the seed is borne – Africa.



      Africanism and the African orientation curbs crime, vices, immorality, and sundry vices in the continent.



      The idea of community policing syncs with the African culture.  The Africans manned their surroundings and facilitated justice. This idea is still quite useful today as Law enforcement agents in Africa thrive in communities where the natives are vigilant and gallant.



      Immorality may now have some western religious undertone, however the African culture from North Africa to west African frowns at the moral failures in the areas of dressing, speech mannerisms, sexual perversions, etc.



      Conscientious respect for elders is predominantly an African behavior. Respect for diversity, and even eagerness to learn about new cultures are traced to the early Africans.



      Despite the diversity and vast richness in Africa, Africans have found a way to live together. This is not without any issues. However, the idea that Africans can live by their convictions within their territory, and beyond, lends a voice to the argument for Pan-Africanism as many believe that regional unity can lead to better bargaining with global powers.





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