Sunday, February 18, 2007
Postmodern African Male
Kofi Fosu Forson
Head of a Gorilla is a mask, figuratively, worn by the African in the postmodern world.
The African has come from the post colonialist world, from Nkrumah to Annan. Conscientiously, he is no longer fetching water with a pail. Given the plight of third world countries governed by policies that makes the rich richer and the poor poorer, the African will be confronted with certainties pertaining to the overall perception of Africa as a troubled continent.
In the Western World, the African is a fashion designer, novelist, fashion model and a host of professionals in the world of business, medicine and journalism. How does this translate to the establishing of the African in the postmodern world when people still think of Africa as only war torn, diseased and poor?
Therefore what is the language that links the African to the postmodern, ridding himself of torture and turbulence? Language not in the native tongue but as in philosophy will imbibe all that is culture, education and universal love, bringing together the African with the international means of self-involvement, political awareness and overall intelligence.
By what means is the African postmodern? Wole Soyinka has won the Noble Peace Prize for literature. Kofi Annan has followed suit as a recipient for the Nobel Peace Prize.
These the children of Nkrumah have established what was then and is now the reckoning of the African as an individual capable of channeling his ideas within international borders through art and politics.
As a postmodern individual, the common strain the African will find himself accepting is the duel between art and politics, business and medicine. It is accepted that the child of African parents is almost always forced into business and medicine. What art and politics become is an awareness of a different means of expression. That language as a profound idea helps define the African as a thinker, a philosopher of sorts, capable of uniting the minds of a people, broadened by the ability to manifest, from the civil gentleman to a pioneer.
How does the African manifest to postmodernist status? The postmodern is a means of articulation through a philosophical language. This form of language allows for interpretation, evaluation, conceptualization or any thought process that gives weight to the idea and not the “thing” that which is being analyzed.
Given the diversity of culture in the Western World, the African is prone to certain philosophies. At times there’s confusion. Identity singularly becomes a problem. It’s not a matter of race but philosophy. It starts with a generalized form of education. Once lifestyle and a continuance in accepting new philosophies are applied, the African is forced to become something other than who he is.
It’s then important for the African to form a foundation. This is governed by an understanding of heritage and identity pertaining to place of birth or relevance to parentage.
The African, given a place of birth and inclusion of a foreign identity, never loses the connection with his culture of origin if he continues to fuel the basics. This includes the vernacular which defines his people and respect for the origin of his lineage. Africans are defined by their spirit. It’s very recognizable, rooted in a combination of freedom, victory and an incessant sorrowful peace.
The African male as postmodernist, given his influence due to education and an introduction to foreign philosophies and culture, is still able to maintain his roots in his country of origin. Despite the influx of different ideas that permeate the psyche, the African male clues in on his innate conscience.
He’s at once American but in truth, he’s African. This is an example of a person who identifies with many cultures but one form of existence is truly internalized and defines them wholesomely.
Cabeza de Gorila is a mask the African Male wears, figuratively, to distinguish him as black in a world of European and white American influences.