27 August 2014

Gambia: Globalization and Culture


Ramifications of globalisation in all aspects of human life across the world are visible, especially on our rich traditional and cultural norms and values. Our lives and ways of living are no longer what they used to be centuries ago, when people hardly travel beyond their immediate surroundings or settlements, contrary to the current trend as exhibited in mass migration both internal and external.

Globalisation has made the world a tiny global village. We don't have to go that far to see the economic theories relating to globalisation and its impact on our lives either individually or collectively. Our lives have now been inundated with the introduction of different products and services; ranging from computers, sophisticated laptops, micro phones, mobile phones, wireless internet connections and so on, all of which help in the rapid transformation of our lives.

However, we must acknowledge that everything on this planet has its own merits and demerits and globalisation is not an exception to this reality. In as much as we speak about its importance, we must also not lose sight of its side effects, especially where our traditional and cultural norms and values are concerned.

Prominent developments such as the advent of science and technology in the 21st century, the introduction of some major economic policies by the world's most powerful financial institutions; such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank (WB); as well as the September 11th 2001 terror attack on the US, the reactions of the US to the said inhumane action among other global issues greatly affected international relations and the ordinary business of life.

We must appreciate and acknowledge the speed and scope that globalisation has gone beyond the imagination of an ordinary person, because it cuts across all sectors of life including our cultural norms and values. Its impact is felt and affects virtually everything we do and say in this world. What life used to be in our traditional settings has now been greatly shaped and directed by acculturation through the influences of globalisation.

Rapid industrialisation accompanied by rapid migrations at local, national, sub-regional, regional and global levels are evidences of globalisation, where in people could travel thousands of miles within minutes and hours contrary to when people used to travel on either foot or other primitive tools to far distant places.

The world of tourism stands out as a typical example about the effects of globalisation, to which our little Gambia is not an exception. The Gambia like other African countries has rich traditional cultural values, but with the world coming together as one big village, with such a speed and scope, things are no longer what they used to be as far as promotion, protection and preservation of our cherished cultures are concerned.

We have seen and felt the effects of tourism on our education, skills, and labour force, brain drains among others. The unprecedented attitudinal change in our youths towards national development, which contrasted the way and manner an ideal Gambian or African child is brought up and prepared to take his or her rightful place in societal development and welfare of the family, community and nation at large. The short skirts, high shoes and other unusual forms of dresses exposing our bodies to the hazards of our immediate environment among others attest to this fact.

The only way out as others will call it, is 'thinking out of the box', for Africa to build on its development sectors to cope with the spirit of globalisation. We must build on our educational systems, health, agriculture, and infrastructure among others. The youths must be ready and willing to embrace change and make effective and efficient use of latest scientific equipment at their disposal, while at the same time striving to promote our culture at all times. We cannot ignore the importance of science and technology brought to our doorsteps by globalisation, all what is expected of us is the total change of attitude accompanied by a deep sense of self-awareness.

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