Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Valentines for the African?

“Africa, there is no valentine’s day. It came with the whites. It is not part of us.”

Valentines day is right around the corner! And there are many of us who are excited about it, no? Well, in a discussion about Africa and Valentine's Day, someone-a brother from Zimbabwe, expressed the view that Valentine's Day was unnecessary, non-existent, for us, as Africans. We were only mimicking the activities of our previous "masters."
What do you think about this?
We are waiting for your comments!


  1. well so what if it came with the white people. no idea is orginal anyway. we should learn to assimilate new culture with grace, and should do away with this conservativeness. it has not gotten us far. has it now?

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  3. I think to some extent we ARE mimicking the activities of our previous "masters", however I don't think the event is completely unnecessary. I think Africans were already expressing their love in their own ways (maybe not that profoundly or in the "movie" kind of way), but then Valentine's Day just came around to help us bring it out more. I think we've actually put a little bit of our own touch to it, but I do feel we could do so much more. I mean, in Ghana we give Ghanaian chocolate (Kingsbite...lol) and sometimes presents are a bit more Ghanaian like locally made cloth and jewellery and stuff like that. In my opinion, it would be better if we made the holiday more African instead of simply accepting it as it is celebrated in the Western world...like playing all those "white" love songs (e.g. 'When A Man Loves a Woman'...it was played just two days ago in the d-hall) and doing all those cliche' things like going to restaurants and having dinner out and drinking champagne and what not. LOL...but I hope you get the point. :) But even those ways of celebrating are for the well-to-do and more affluent in society. I highly doubt that other Ghanaians who are in lower class society celebrate Valentine's Day that much. That could possibly be a reason why the day might be unnecessary, but I still don't think it is. After all, it doesn't kill anyone...I think the only problem is that we just need to celebrate it in more original and African ways.

  4. Is there any "festival" for celebrating love that is purely African? If so, what happened to it...and i agree with Michael, its great!!

  5. Sometimes...when we, Africans, talk about our African culture and beliefs and the need to keep them alive...I begin to wonder; what exactly does that mean?
    Here is Valentine’s Day! Wow! Everybody is so elated and just can't wait for that awesome day.
    Then I begin to wonder again; Is Valentines an African thing? Did our forefathers know or celebrate anything called Valentines? IF "NOT" THEN WHAT CULTURE OR BELIEFS AS AFRICANS ARE WE KEEPING ALIVE?
    Valentine’s Day celebration is a Western culture! If we allow it to get in our way...Doesn't this mean then, THAT WE ARE LETTING OTHER CULTURE GET IN OUR WAYS AND LETTING GO OF OUR OWN CULTURE AND BELIEFS?
    I, as PROUDLY AFRICAN, do not consider Valentine’s Day as anything special than just another ordinary day like our forefathers did.
    Besides, I don't lose anything in the end because I have important celebrations like TRADITIONAL CEREMONIES to think of!!! Lol!

  6. Ok, just to respond to what Ezekiel said: I remember the time Annette came to talk to the Pan-African Club, and she said something like Africa should try and assimilate other cultures, because it helps the continent to develop, or something like that (remember her talking about the way she dresses, and how she spoke another language with her significant other?...stuff like that.)
    Already, our music and our styles of dressing (as well as other things) have evolved and been influenced by other cultures, and in SOME aspects it hasn't been that bad! If we are assimilating other cultures, then it should be done in such a way that we benefit from it and it goes towards the development of the African people and their cultures.
    We can't really stop change that much, so if our culture evolves a little bit here and there, we should really try and make the most out of it. BUT (a BIG 'but') we really should try and hold onto the things that originally defined our cultures and what made African people "African".
    If Valentine's Day gives people a better avenue to appreciate the people they love, then so be it...but that's why I added that if we are going to celebrate it at all, then we could at least try to put African elements into it.

    BTW, I don't see Valentine's Day as anything special, either. :D

  7. Ezekiel, I agree with you but are you sure that people in Africa never celebrated Valentines Day? I am very sure they did but they did not necessarily call it Valentine Day, probably they did. I remember reading a book about some people who fell in love in Africa from two different classes and everytime they met they gave each other presents. This showed me that love was there just like what Mr Valentine found and today we celebrate Valentines Day not because of the Europeans who came to tell us about that but because it reminds us that still in Africa we celebrate love.

  8. Considering that the celebration of Valentine's Day has Catholic roots, I think this issue borders more on religion (that is if we take the true essence of the holiday) than on race, and raises the bigger question of whether we should embrace the western religion or we should stay true to our African roots- our African Traditional Religion... but then again, it's really about the love, white or black, they both match with either pink or red.;D

  9. I believe that the celebration of love should not be restricted to any one race alone. What harm has celebrating Valentines Day in Africa done? In Ghana i can say confidently that it has contributed a lot to the chocolate industry!

  10. please ignore this comment.....test due to some technical difficulties