When we observe most answers to cultural questions in the African context, we often find ourselves defaulting to artifacts, traditions, languages, and ethnic mores. However, that is only a fraction of what makes culture. Culture is the summation of a full range of human potentials and specific qualities with which an individual identifies and connects as a member of its society. That complex-whole includes a hierarchy of knowledge, common sense, beliefs, arts, laws, morals, approaches, customs, traditions, and any other capabilities and habits acquired by a person as a member of such society.
Being attuned to one's culture allows the individual to tap into its natural and instinctive resources. They are predisposed to convey the cultural values that constitute what can describe as a cultural strength.
Culture is an integrated pattern of human knowledge, beliefs, and behaviors that symbolically depict the capacity and values of group to adapt to the conditions of its environment and or thrive over the challenges of time. Therefore, each group has its own unique culture. Since there are many groups, there are many cultures.
Cultural elements include our language, cuisine, couture, and ways and means of observation, conservation, and interpretation. Culture is our human identity because it defines who we indeed are. The term "cultural diversity" expresses the variety of cultural differences, showcasing each in its unique way, and highlights cultural synergy's strengths in society. The term is also a driving force for development, not only in respect of economic growth but also as a means of enjoying a more fulfilling personal experience, whether intellectually, emotionally, morally, or spiritually. Foundation for Cultural Diversity has been collaborating with various organizations to celebrate "Cultural Diversity Day" in various ways since UNESCO (United Nations Education, Scientific, and Culture Organization) proclaimed every May 21 the "World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development" at the Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity back in November 2001.
We surmise that cultural homogeneity is on its way to extinction and that the recognition of cultural diversity has become the new global tradition. However, cultural diversity is just the first step and incomplete without harmony or congruence between people of different cultures. Cultural harmony shows the possibility of how one culture relates to another and how a person relates to society. It also provides a vision of how people of diverse cultural backgrounds can relate to one another in the community without compromising their cultures' integrity and still live and work peacefully and desirably together within a society, a community, or a household.
"Diversity Day" provides us with an opportunity to deepen our sophisticated understanding of the principles that make us who we are. When we share our heritage and customs in a respectful, cohesive, and constructive way, we take one step closer towards a more equal and fair society.
Many Indigenous cultures were threatened with extinction. The effort to promote cultural sustainability, especially with children, provides the opportunity to learn from and preserve much of the existing and revivable world cultural values. Today, the paradigms are shifting towards a more open and inclusive society. Children are at the forefront of these changes. Art and creativity are now used to teach and entertain. The Ndebele dolls are from the Ndebele tribe in Southern Africa. One of the smallest tribes of the region, the Ndebele people, pronounced In-de-bey-lay, are noted for their extraordinarily beautifully painted homes of brilliant colors that stand out like jewels in the drab countryside. Their clothing is similarly colorful. The beadwork on these Ndebele dolls is as detailed as the clothing of the women themselves. This program teaches kids to use the Ndebele cultural techniques to create things relevant to them. Folklore is shared or a cultural poem recited. This TV Show requires the preparation and procurement of art materials and recycled water bottles. Children are introduced to the concept of oral history, and some parts of the story could require animation.
We remember the highly intelligent, revolutionary, fearless pioneers, leaders, and Human Freedom activists who paved the way for improved humanity by making a significant difference with their craft. People like Thomas Joseph Adhiambo Mboya, Amilcar Lopes da Costa Cabral, Patrice Lumumba, Thomas Sankara, Stephen Biko, Anwar Sadat, Yitzhak Rabin, Tafawa Balewa, Walter Rodney, John Lennon, JFK, Abe Lincoln Bruce Lee, Bob Marley, Michael Jackson, Mahatma Gandhi, and so many more around the world.
Assassinations carried out in Africa can be found here:
THE CULTURAL CHARTER FOR AFRICA
CULTURAL CHARTER FOR AFRICA
We, Heads of State and Government of the Organization of African Unity meeting
in its Thirteenth Ordinary Session, in Port Louis, Mauritius, from 2nd to 5th July, 1976,
by the Organization of African Unity Charter,
by Resolution CM/Res.371 (XXIII) adopted by the Twenty-third Ordinary Session of the
Council of Ministers and by the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the
OAU (June 1974, Mogadiscio),
by the Declaration of principles of international cultural co-operation adopted by the
General Conference of UNESCO at its fourteenth session in 1966,
by the Pan-African Cultural Manifesto of Algiers (1969), and by the Inter-governmental
Conference on cultural policies in Africa organized by UNESCO in Accra in 1975 in cooperation
with the Organization of African Unity;
that any human society is necessarily governed by rules and principles based on
traditions, languages, ways of life and thought in other words on a set of cultural values
which reflect its distinctive character and personality;
that all cultures emanate from the people, and that any African cultural policy should of
necessity enable the people to expand for increased responsibility in the development of
its cultural heritage;
AWARE OF THE FACT
that any people has the inalienable right to organize its cultural life in full harmony with
its political, economic, social, philosophical and spiritual ideas;
that all the cultures of the world are equally entitled to respect just as all individuals are
equal as regards free access to culture;
that, under colonial domination, the African countries found themselves in the same
political, economic, social and cultural situation;
that cultural domination led to the depersonalization of part of the African peoples,
falsified their history, systematically disparaged and combated African val ues, and tried
to replace progressively and officially, their languages by that of the colonizer,
that colonization has encouraged the formation of an elite which is too often alienated
from its culture and susceptible to assimilation and that a serious gap has been opened
between the said elite and the African popular masses;
that the unity of Africa is founded first and foremost on its History,
that the affirmation of cultural identity denotes a concern common to all peoples of
that African cultural diversity, the expression of a single identity, is a factor making for
equilibrium and development in the service of national integration;
that it is imperative to edify educational systems which embody the African values of
civilization, so as to ensure the rooting of youth in African culture and mobilize the social
forces in the context of permanent education;
that it is imperative to resolutely ensure the promotion of African languages, mainstay,
and media of cultural heritage in its most authentic and essentially popular form,
that it is imperative to carry out a systematic inventory of the cultural heritage, in
particular in the spheres of Traditions, History and Arts;
by a common determination to strengthen understanding among our peoples and cooperation
among our States in order to meet the aspirations of our peoples to see
brotherhood and solidarity reinforced and integrated within a greater cultural unity which
transcends ethnic and national divergencies;
that culture constitutes for our peoples the surest means of overcoming our technological
backwardness and the most efficient force of our victorious resistance to imperialist
that African culture is meaningless unless it plays a full part in the political and social
liberation struggle, and in the rehabilitation and unification efforts and that there is no
limit to the cultural development of a people;
that a common resolve provides the basis for promoting the harmonious cultural
development of our States;
AGREE to establish the Cultural Charter for Africa as set out below.
AIMS, OBJECTIVES AND PRINCIPLES
The aims and objectives of this Charter are as follows:-
(a) to liberate the African peoples from socio-cultural conditions which impede
their development in order to recreate and maintain the sense and will for
progress, the sense and will for development;
(b) the rehabilitation, restoration, preservation and promotion of the African
(c) the assertion of the dignity of the African and of the popular foundations of
(d) the combating and elimination of all forms of alienation and cultural
suppression and oppression everywhere in Africa, especially in countries still
under colonial and racist domination including apartheid;
(e) the encouragement of cultural co-operation among the States with a view to
the strengthening of African unity;
(f) the encouragement of international cultural co-operation for a better
understanding among peoples within which Africa will make its original and
appropriate contribution to human culture;
(g) promotion in each country of popular knowledge of science and technology;
a necessary condition for the control of nature;
(h) development of all dynamic values in the African cultural heritage and
rejection of any element which is an impediment to progress.
In order to fulfill the objectives set out in Article 2, the African States solemnly
subscribe to the following principles:-
(a) access of all citizens to education and to culture;
(b) respect for the freedom to create and the liberation of the creative genius of
(c) respect for national authenticities and specificities in the field of culture;
(d) selective integration of science and modern technology into the cultural life
of the African peoples;
(e) exchange and dissemination of cultural experience between African
countries, in the field of cultural decolonization in all its forms.
CULTURAL DIVERSITY AND NATIONAL IDENTITY
The African States recognize the need to take account of national identities, cultural
diversity being a factor making for balance within the nation and a source of mutual
enrichment for various communities.
The African States recognize that African cultural diversity is the expression of the
same identity; a factor of unity and an effective weapon for genuine liberty, effective
responsibility and full sovereignty of the people.
The assertion of national identity must not be at the cost of impoverishing or
subjecting various cultures within the State.
NATIONAL CULTURAL DEVELOPMENT
Chapter I – Basic principles governing a National Cultural Policy
Each African State recognizes that it is the working people who make history and
establish the foundations and conditions for the advancement of culture. As culture has an
innovating and beneficial influence on the means of production and on man, each African
(a) to work out a national cultural policy for each State. This policy should be
designed as a codification of social practices and concerted activities whose
aim is to satisfy cultural needs through the optimal utilization of all the
available material and human resources;
(b) to integrate the cultural development plan in the overall program for
economic and social development;
(c) that individual States shall be free to establish their priorities and select the
methods they consider best suited for attaining their cultural development
objectives and to that end individual States regard the following priorities and
methods as guidelines;
(a) the transcription, teaching and development of national languages with a
view to using them for the dissemination and the development of science and
(b) the recording, conservation, use and dissemination of information on oral
(c) the adaptation of educational curricula to development needs and to the
National and African Cultural and Social realities;
(d) the promotion of cultural activities, encouragement to artists and assistance to
creativity in the people;
(e) the protection of creative artists and cultural assets;
(f) the development of research and the establishment of permanent research
centres in the field of culture;
(g) research, on the basis of modern science, in the field of local African
medicine and pharmacopeia.
2. METHODS AND MEANS
(a) the introduction of African Culture into all national educational systems;
(b) the introduction and intensification of the teaching in national languages in
order to accelerate the economic, social, political and cultural development in
(c) the establishment of appropriate institutions for the development,
preservation and dissemination of culture;
(d) the training of competent staff, at all levels;
(e) the concrete and effective establishment of links between the school and the
national realities as well as the life of the people, a link which should be
apparent in the school curricula and structure;
(f) the sensitization and exhortation of all citizens to ensure their willing
participation in the field of culture;
(g) the provision of a budget corresponding to the needs of culture and of
research in the humanities, natural sciences and technology;
(h) the financing of cultural programmes essentially out of national resources in
order to implement certain cultural projects;
(i) the organization of competitions offering prizes;
(j) the organizational of national and pan-African cultural festivals, in the spirit
of this Charter.
Chapter II – The Democratization of Culture
The African States recognize that the driving force of Africa is based more on
development of the collective personality than on individual advancement and profit, and
that culture cannot be considered as the privilege of an elite.
The African States agree to undertake the following:-
(a) create conditions which will enable their peoples to participate to the full in
the development and implementation of cultural policies;
(b) defend and develop the peoples’ culture;
(c) implement a cultural policy providing for the advancement of creative artists;
(d) to, whenever necessary, abolish the caste system and rehabilitate the
functions of artist and craftsman (griots and craftsmen).
Chapter III – The Need for Active Participation by Youth in National Cultural Life
Continuous cultural development in Africa rests with its young people. Therefore
the African States should create conditions for the active and enlightened participation of
young people in African cultural life.
The African States shall endeavour to raise continually the cultural awareness of
young people through the introduction of African cultural values into education and
through the organization of national and Pan-African festivals, conferences, seminars and
training and refresher courses.
The cultural policies of the various States shall ensure that young African people
also have the means of familiarizing themselves with the whole of African and other
civilizations in order to prepare them for fruitful inter-cultural relations.
TRAINING AND LIFE-LONG EDUCATION
Chapter V – Training
Professional training is as important both for cultural development as for economic
and social development. Consequently, the African States should devote themselves to
creating conditions favouring large scale participation of culture by the African working
class and peasant at the actual work-sites.
To achieve the aim laid down in the preceding Article, States should adopt a training
policy for specialists at all levels and in all fields.
Professional training for creative artists should be improved, renewed and adapted
to modern methods, without breaking the umbilical cord linking it with the traditional
sources of African art. Hence, specialist training should be provided in national, regional
and sub-regional training centres.
Chapter V – Life-long Education
African governments will have to pay special attention to the growing importance of
life-long education in modern societies.
African governments should take steps to organize continuous training in a rational
way and to establish an appropriate system of education which satisfied the specific needs
of their people.
THE USE OF AFRICAN LANGUAGES
The African States recognize the imperative need to develop African languages
which will ensure their cultural advancement and accelerate their economic and social
development and to this end will endeavour to formulate a national policy in regard to
The African States should prepare and implement the reforms necessary for the
introduction of African languages into education. To this end each state may choose one
or more languages.
The introduction of African languages at all levels of education should have to go
hand-in-hand with literacy work among the people at large.
USE OF MASS MEDIA
The African States should recognize that there can be no cultural policy without
corresponding policies on information and communication.
The African States should encourage the use of the information and communication media
for their cultural development.
(a) The African Governments should ensure the total decolonization of the mass
media and increase the production of radio and television broadcasts,
cinematographic films which reflect the political, economic and social
realities of the people in order to enable the masses to have greater access to
and participation in the cultural riches.
(b) African Governments should create publishing and distribution institutions
for books, school manuals, records and instruments of the press in Africa to
combat market speculators and make them into instruments of popular
(c) African Governments should establish joint co-operation in order to break the
monopoly of non-African countries in this field.
THE ROLE OF GOVERNMENTS IN CULTURAL DEVELOPMENT
Chapter VI – Assistance to Artistic Creation
African states should be active in promoting national cultural development through
a policy of effective assistance both as regards collective methods of creation and in favour
of individual artists.
Such assistance may take various forms:
(a) Organization of competitions offering prizes and mobile exhibitions of works
of art and artistic visits;
(b) Fiscal assistance through a policy in which African cultural assets are
exempted wholly or partly from tax;
(c) Supporting artists, writers and research workers by providing financial
assistance and scholarships for training or refresher courses;
(d) The creation of National Fund for the promotion of culture and the Arts.
Chapter VII – The Protection of African Works
African States should prepare inter-African convention on copyright so as to
guarantee the protection of African Works. They should also intensify their efforts to
modify existing international conventions to meet African interests.
African governments should enact national and inter-African laws and regulations
guaranteeing the protection of copyright, set up national copyright offices and encourage
the establishment of authors’ associations responsible for protecting the moral and material
interests of those who produce work that gives s piritual and mental pleasure.
Chapter VII – Protection of the African Cultural Heritage
The African cultural heritage must be protected on the legal and practical planes in
the manner laid down in the international instruments in force and in conformity with the
best standards applicable in this field.
The African governments should have to adopt national laws and inter-African
regulations governing the protection of cultural property in times of peace and in the event
The African States should take steps to put an end to the despoliation of African
cultural property and ensure that cultural assets, in particular archives works of art and
archeological objects, which have been removed from Africa, are returned there. To this
end they should, in particular, support the efforts exerted by UNESCO and take all other
necessary steps to ensure the implementation of the United Nations General Assembly
resolution on the restitution of works of art removed from their country of origin.
The African States should take steps to ensure that the archives which have been
removed from Africa are returned to African governments in order that they may have
complete archives concerning the history of their country.
INTER-AFRICAN CULTURAL CO-OPERATION
The African States acknowledge that it is vital to establish inter-African cultural cooperation
as a contribution to the mutual understanding of national cultures and enrichment
of African cultures, thus to take the form of a two -way exchange, firstly, among all the
countries on the continent and, secondly, between Africa and the rest of the world through
specialized institutions like UNESCO.
To achieve the aims set out in the previous Article, the African States agree:
(a) to consolidate their co-operation by way of joint cultural activities and
periodical discussions of major issues;
(b) to develop the exchange of information, documentation and cultural material
- strengthening the Association of African Universities;
- university and specialist exchange, in order that scientific cultural
studies can develop in the research institutes;
- exchange and meetings between young people;
- the organization of joint cultural events such as festivals, symposia,
sports and art exhibitions;
- establishment of cultural research centres on national, regional and
- creation of an Inter-African Fund for the support and promotion of
cultural studies and programmes.
(c) to endeavour to ensure that African cultural values are deployed to maximum
effect in order to illustrate that all African States are members of one and the
(d) creation of Regional Specialized Institutions for the training of specialized
The African Cultural Council should function in close co-operation and consultation
with the OAU Commission on Education, Science, Health and Culture in the field of
Signature and Ratification
(a) This Charter shall be open for signature to all Member States of the
Organization of African Unity and shall be ratified by the signatory States in
accordance with their respective constitutional processes.
(b) The original instrument, done if possible in African languages and in English
and French, all texts being equally authentic, shall be deposited with the
Secretary General of the Organization of African Unity which shall transmit
copies thereof to all OAU Member States.
(c) Instruments of ratification shall be deposited with the OAU General
Secretariat which shall notify all signatories of such deposit.
Entry into force
This Charter shall come into force immediately upon receipt by the OAU General
Secretariat of the instruments of ratification and adhesion from two -thirds of the total
membership of the OAU.
Registration of the Charter
This Charter shall, after due ratification, be registered with the Secretariat of the
United Nations through the OAU General Secretariat in conformity with Article 102 of the
Charter of the United Nations.
Interpretation of the Charter
Any question which may arise concerning the interpretation of this Charter shall be
resolved by decision of Assembly of Heads of State and Governme nt of the OAU.
Adhesion and Accession
(a) Any OAU Member State may at any time notify the General Secretariat of
the OAU of its intention to adhere or accede to this Charter.
(b) The General Secretariat shall, on receipt of such notification, communicate a
copy of it to all the Member States. Adhesion and accession shall take effect
fourteen days after communication of the applicant’s notice, to all Member
States by the General Secretariat of the OAU.
Royal Institute of Global African Culture Welcome to Osu Mantse palace
African Views technical, scientific, and cultural research, analysis, reports, and public engagement on Cultural Sustainability