Western culture outfoxed, outmanoeuvred African traditions

Lest we forget, western colonialism brought in its train a perpetual and interminable clash between many long entrenched and revered African practices and western civilisation.

The two diametrically opposed worlds were clearly incompatible on many fronts. More often than not, in this encounter, western culture outfoxed and outmanoeuvred African traditions. It is ironic, however, that in a school classroom arena ,western education could not stand on its own feet without the support of one of the ancient African ways of instilling discipline - corporal punishment. Corporal punishment and western education were to become strange bedfellows for over half a century.

The use of the cane must be seen in the cultural context. It is anchored and rooted in the archaic and discredited saying that ‘spare the rod and spoil the child’. In our African traditions, it was assumed, children could not develop a sense of right and wrong without the use of external motivation.


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