Tanzanians respect other cultures, none is superior

IN any human settlement there are cultures to be observed, maintained and passed to the coming generations, because they form part and parcel of the people as a way of life.

In any geographical location like Tanzania, culture plays an essential role in the life of its citizens and society. It acts as a means of accumulation, storage and transmission of human experience. It is the culture that shapes people into who they are as they gain knowledge, learn the language, symbols, values, norms, customs and traditions. The list may be long.

If in doubt, any student of culture will tell you that no culture is superior to others. In this view, all cultures have their benefits to the people in the geographical location, where they are and hence, no one should automatically assume that the indigenous culture of Tanzanians should be watered down in the name of imposing unfounded human rights.

As Tanzanians, we should not allow our culture to be looked down and be coerced by ethnocentric world, just because our lifestyle and economy have not advanced to the technological, industrialisation and accumulation of wealth level, unnecessarily used as a yardstick to measure superiority and civilisation of human development.

Any culture that is ungodly and never thought of in our history should not be accepted this time, simply because we want assistance/funds to purchase drugs for our hospitals, or finance projects, which are meant for the communities.

In fact, foreign aid has played a critical role in stimulating economic growth through supplementing domestic sources of finance such as savings and thus increasing the amount of investment and capital stock in low-income African countries like Tanzania, but they should not be brought with strings attached to them.

One of the best ways to understand other people’s cultures is to first examine your own and never use it as a yardstick to judge others. We should not reach a level, where we take our background for granted without realising that our customs and beliefs have played a great role in shaping us as Tanzanians.

If you think of your own way of life as the default and everyone else’s as a strange variation, it’s hard to approach those differences with respect.

For example, when you meet people from a different culture, ask them about their lives. But be polite about it and remember that they don’t owe you an answer with what they like and dislike. Tanzanians respect other people’s culture and expect others to also reciprocate by not trying to impose any trait in the name of exercising ‘human rights’.

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