Assimilation an Identity Crisis Essay

Identity was a very important thing in the eyes of the colonized peoples for various reasons. They viewed identity as the one thing that separates them from everyone else making them feel a sense of pride in being different. Without a specific identity the colonized peoples would cease to be themselves and would become an empty shell void of culture. Many people felt that identity was important because without it they did not know who they were or what they stood for. For example, in the Zulu nation virginity testing was banned and this led to a movement to have the ban removed.

In an article for the New York Times, Sharon Lavaliere writes, “In Pittsburghers and in Durban, hundreds of bare-breasted women and girls in traditional Zulu short skirts and beaded necklaces marched in opposition to the ban. ” (Lavaliere) The Zulu women here are fighting the ban places on an ancient tradition where women were checked for their virginity as a coming of age ceremony where virginity and purity were celebrated. Zulu leaders felt as though this tradition gave them a link between their present and their past.

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King Sleuthing says, in the same article by Lavaliere, ‘the sets are an umbilical cord between modern Zulus and their ancestors. ” (Lavaliere) To the Zulus this process was one factor that identified them back to their ancestors and it was one way to define them. The Zulus can now separate themselves from a majority, keeping them from being that empty shell that described before, giving them a clearer sense of who they were and that they stood for purity. All of those things came from their tradition of virginity testing which distinctly identified them as QUILLS.

During early colonization there, was a complete disruption of the African ay of life by the modern way of life introduced and later forced upon the Africans by the Europeans. The original way of life that the Africans lived was disrupted by different factors. One way that life was disrupted was through the suppression of African customs. Europeans were able to do this by switching the type of economy that was there by introducing money in the colonized countries. In “The Fate of the Indebted” by Indians Kamala the author shows this condition when he writes, “Then the tax came.

It was ass a year… We did so. Then those who took more than one wife were taxed 1 So for ACH additional wife. ” (Kamala) Here the European colonists have taken over the land of the Indebted and now they have introduced taxes changing the economy of the Indebted from subsistence farming to agriculture where they grew crops to make money to pay taxes and survive. This will dramatically change the life of the Africans because they had to answer the question of what happens when there are not enough crops sold to meet the tax requirement.

To answer this need of money, men would begin to leave the village to start living in towns grabbing jobs in places such as mines. Charlotte Make is able to capture this process perfectly in her report entitled “Social Conditions Among Bantu Women and Girls. ” Make writes, “Men leave their homes, and go into big towns like Johannesburg, where they get a glimpse of a life such as they had never dreamed existed. At the end of their term of employment they receive wages… (Make) Here is shown that the men of the villages began to leave the village and move into towns originally with the intent to get jobs to pay taxes and support their families back in the village. This worked for some families, but the majority of the families ended up thou a father figure in the household because he would end up caught up in the glamour of living in a city, would forget about his family and begin to change to attempt to live the way the Europeans did.

This destroyed the families that existed in the villages and crushed the indigenous way of life because women trying to find their husbands would also begin to move into the city. Therefore, instead of living in small compact villages people began to live in larger cities and towns where they had to work in order to survive very different from the subsistence farming they grew up on. Secondly, this taxation changed the life of the Indebted because it changed the way people thought about specific things.

Through the additional tax on multiple wives, many Indebted people could not afford to be polygamists, which was prevalent in their culture forcing them to become European like because they would begin to follow a different standard of rules on their own customs. Leading the Africans to choose between what they grew up believing in and what was being taught to them during the beginning of colonization, which was that their customs were wrong and evil. Kamala sakes mention of this when he says, “There are five *schools in our district. Quite a number of people are Christians… N our religion we believe that when anybody dies the spirit remains and we often make offering to the spirits to keep them good-tempered. But now the making of offerings is dying out rapidly, for every member of the family should be present, but the children are Christians and refuse to come, so the spirit worship is dying out. ” What Kamala is describing is the destruction of African culture through the education of the children. That the children go to school they learn that their radiation are wrong because the schools in the surrounding areas of the villages are mostly Christian.

A Christian education, which would tell them that their traditions are wrong and evil so the children would refuse to continue a tradition that they believed, was evil in fear of losing their salvation. However, the children who could not go to school would continue to believe what their ancestors taught them. This forced colonies into a struggle between those who assimilated to European life and those who held onto traditional values that would translate into an ultimate struggle between modernity and traditionalism.

As stated above, assimilation begins when the colonized youth starts going to the Christian schools in the colonies what the children would learn in these schools would begin to change the way the colonized people thought about themselves. The second generation of colonized youth began to become less and less similar to their ancestors because traditions were not being passed down from their parents because the parents based on their personal beliefs would select which traditions to continue. The parents would decide this based upon their new Christian faith and their European logic gained at their boarding schools.