So, what is Tribalism?
According to the Oxford Dictionary, tribalism is the behavior and attitudes that stem from strong loyalty to one’s own tribe or social group. In layman’s term, tribalism is literally being too loyal to your own tribe to the extent you would do anything to protect your tribe and you would not want to associate with other tribes.
Tribalism in Africa
Tribalism is a really really big deal in Africa because of all our traditions and rules. Africans really take their traditions very seriously and they can be overly loyal to their tribe, religion and whatever they believe in. Culture and tribe shaped Africa and that is why most of our old cultures and traditions are still very prominent today. Although it is sad to see discrimination caused by someone being from a different tribe, it is still something most Africans do till today.
A very good example of tribalism is seen in the movie, “The Wedding Party” which was filmed and produced in Nigeria. In this movie, Dozie and Dunni fell in love and they were so ready to get married, infact they had it in mind that they would get married. However, Dozie’s family were Igbo while Dunni’s family were Yoruba. Due to this tribe difference, Dozie’s mum was really against the marriage because she did not want to associate with the Yorubas. She was very unsupportive of the relationship because she wanted Dozie to marry an Igbo woman. This just shows that some people are so ready to stand by their tribe, even if that tribe is what stands in the way of happiness for some people.
It is actually very sad that you would be in love with someone or you would have a very deep connection with someone but because you love your tribe so much, you would throw away your happiness for it. A lot of people have even lost their soulmates, all in the name of “I cannot marry a Yoruba woman or I cannot marry an Igbo man”. I understand that we all have our preferences but if we think deeply enough, we would see that those preferences were shaped by tribalism.
Also, tribalism has caused major fights in Africa. There are about 3000 tribes in Africa. Yearly, there are news of tribal clashes everywhere. Even daily, there is a country in Africa where people are being killed and destroyed because of the tribe they were born into. A lot of people have lost their lives, families and belongings because of tribalism.
There are a lot of disagreements in politics too because someone is from one tribe and they do not want a member of that tribe to be in control of power. There are several stereotypes attached to different tribes by people of other tribes. For example, a stereotype attached to Igbo people by other tribes is that Igbo people would do anything to get money. A stereotype attached to Yoruba people is that they are very deceitful. All these stereoypes stem from prejudice by people of other tribes.
What can we do to start getting rid of Tribalism little by little?
To be honest, I think that everybody still needs to learn how to be very accepting of others. Apart from tribalism, there are racism and fanaticism, which are also caused by being too loyal to something or having very strong beliefs about something to the extent that you would literally hate on people who do not support that thing. We are in the 21st century and it really should not matter if somebody shares the same beliefs as you or not and that should not be a reason to like them or not. You might not agree with someone else’s beliefs but that does not mean that you should be wicked to them or even hate on them. Nobody chooses the tribe that they were born into, they were simply just born into that tribe. You should really not be hating on people for things that they have no control over.
Have you had any experiences with Tribalism? What are your thoughts on Tribalism? Feel free to leave a comment below!