Various ethnic groups around the world had their unique cultural practices that they identified with. This particular community had unique cultural practices that defined every activity they undertook. Historically this community’s environment was symbolized by natural forests with several indigenous trees that grew naturally on the land.
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The community highly respected nature so much that felling trees was a rare activity. For this reason, the environmental resources were used sustainably for the benefit of the present and future generations. This practice kept the land fertile, as there were no incidences of soil erosion or negative farming practices to interfere with food production. Therefore, there was variety of foods available for the populace.
Politically, this community had a council of elders who were the rulers. The Council of elders acted as the Supreme Court. It was the duty of the community members to respect the council of elders as any disrespect was a sign of failure to respect God and one would face serious consequences. The community believed that these leaders were chosen and sent by God to guard their community. They acted as agents of God in this particular community.
One of the main economic activity of this community was fishing and this was done according to the instructions of the council of elders. The council of elders did this to ensure that fishing was regulated for continuous production and to avoid the extinction. No member of the community would go fishing without the authority from the council of elders.
Fish harvesting was communal. After harvest, fish would be divided among the community members and those that lived near to one another would even cook and eat together. This way, there was plenty of food even for the orphans and the disabled. Farming was also done in this community. The most common crops that were grown by this community were sorghum and cassava.
There were no forms of discrimination in this community, as most of the things were communally owned. Any member of the community caught showing some form of discrimination or selfishness would receive a very severe punishment from the council of elders. This wrong doer would be put in a sack of half-full of wet sisal products and beaten thoroughly.
This punishment was tough and scared anyone with an intent of portraying discriminations or selfishness in this community. The community members therefore, viewed one another as members of one family. The community had also a uniform code of dressing that was strictly adhered to by all members of the community.
Their dressings were mainly made out of the animals’ skin. After killing of an animal like a cow, the skin would be carefully removed and dried with salt and when dry it would ready for use as a cloth. Men would use the skin to cover only there lower parts. For women, it was optional.
A woman would choose to either cover the whole body or do as men, leaving their upper parts uncovered. Women would carry their errands with naked breasts and no man would dare harass them. Virginity was highly valued and cases of irresponsible behavior were harshly handled.
A man found with an unmarried woman or another man’s wife would be forced to walk naked for a long distance along with a group of both men and women. The men would give him several strips and women would follow behind singing mocking songs to the culprit.
This punishment was humiliating and to avoid such incidences, members of the community strictly adhered to the set norms and regulations. In this community, there were specific roles for men, women, and children.
The woman was expected to take give birth to as many children as the husband wanted, take good care of the husband and children and perform other household chores. On the other hand, it was the duty of a man to provide for the family. Young girls would help their mother in household chores while young boys would be charged with the responsibility of grazing the animals after school.
This particular community believed in the existence of a supreme power. Their God was commonly regarded as Nyasaye. They believed that God was always watching over them and they could not hide anything from Him. They also believed that God speaks and whatever instructions issued by the council of elders were perceived to be from God. They extensively believed that whatever they did was meant to please their God.
This belief helped them honor their cultural beliefs and respect nature so much. The community had some special places of worship and for offering sacrifices to God. These sacrificial places were strictly used by the religious leaders who were supposed to be members of the council of elders. These religious leaders were authorized to officiate any sacred or offering to God. Some traditional songs were preserved as appropriate for specific functions and activities in this community.
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In a situation where the community disobeyed God, there were songs that were specifically meant to appease Him to pardon them for sins. This community observed several rituals. Some of the rituals included circumcision for both boys and girls at the age of fifteen years.
This was done to mark the rite of passage from childhood to adulthood. There were specialists for circumcision ceremonies. Circumcision was a community affair and none was allowed to miss out. To grace the occasion, there were good songs majorly sang by young women in the community.
Culture after Influence by Technology
The culture of this community has faced serious changes by the coming of a new technology. On one hand, the technology may be viewed to have a positive impact on the culture while on the other hand it has influenced the culture negatively in this particular community. The hope and future of this community’s culture has completely been affected. With internet services offered by the new technology, members of the community are now very informed as they can access all the necessary information online.
Politically, this change has greatly affected the organization of this community. In this community, the coming of this new change has altered the organization of the council of elders where it has provoked many to move away from the cultural barriers to see the outside world.
Many officials in the political structure have also been forced to go for further studies in order to cope with the changes taking place in this community. The council of elders has now lost meaning in this community and although present, it does not have much of importance in the society. Technology has made many people informed, leading to the rise of politicians in the race of fighting for power.
The community leadership has taken a new course. Political leaders are now in control of this community. Community leaders unlike before are not respected. Members can now air their views and opinions regarding issues in this community. In case of introduction of rules that do not please them, the community members have an option to oppose the implementation of the rule.
Fishing activity is no longer communal with the emergency of capitalism in this community. There are no restrictions to fishing as now one can fish anywhere and at any time. After fishing, the harvest is carried home for either consumption or commercial purposes strictly for the benefit of the fishermen and their own families.
The roles for men and women have completely changed. Both men and women can now go fishing with no restrictions. A woman can now provide for the family, a duty that was a preserve for men. The women in this community can now discuss issues over such things as the number of children to give birth to comfortably with their husbands. Young boys and girls can now perform any duty assigned to them. However, children spend much of their time in school or playing computer games.
Dressing code has extremely changed in this community. People are now more informed and no longer dress in animal skins. Animal skins are considered outdated and cannot be used as clothes any more. There are attires for men and for women as well. Men may opt to wear suits to cover their whole bodies or any other complete clothing. Women have to cover their nakedness fully to avoid rape cases that have now become rampant in this particular community.
Virginity is no longer valued. Instead, a virgin boy or girl is perceived as very naïve and not exposed. Immorality has become the order of the day in this community. Immorality is very high with several incidences of even married men and women cheating on one another. Cases of older men raping and impregnating young girls are very common in this community. Little or no punishment is taken on these culprits.
The environment of this community has really changed. Economic activities have been diversified with people encroaching into the forests for agricultural purposes. People in this community have lost the respect for nature. Indigenous trees have been extensively harvested for commercial purposes and natural forests have disappeared. Lumbering and charcoal burning have taken the best part of this community.
The important tree species have become extinct in this community. The sacred places have also been turned into fertile grounds for all immoral activities and for commercial purposes. Very few individuals if any in this community have the fear of God. All the sacred offering that was done to God no longer exists. All the ritual activities have lost meaning.
The community has stopped circumcising their young girls and for the boys, the activity is not a community affair like before. Boys who are ready for circumcision are taken to hospital for the process. Education has also affected various cultural practices in this community. Learners in this community go to school with the hope of getting white-collar jobs. Generally, the new technology has adversely affected peoples’ way of life in this particular community.