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19.01.2010 General News

Professor urges Africans to know their identity

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Cape Coast, Oct. 19, GNA - A professor of Anthropology at the Federal University of Bahia in Brazil, Prof. Luis Nicolau Pares, has said it was important for Africans to know much about themselves and assist each other to appreciate the importance of their origin, religion and ethnic backgrounds.

This would serve as a springboard towards the re-union of all Africans and those in the Diaspora.

He said in Brazil "mina" refers to the slaves living along the coast and that irrespective of their destination, a slave once transported from the Elmina Castle is identified as a member of the Mina Nation.

Prof. Pares said this when he delivered a lecture on the topic "African nations and ethnic identity in the mina coast and Brazil; An Atlantic comparative perspective."

He traced the origin of some African ethnic groups who are now living in Brazil and the Americas and drew similarities in their mode of worship and way of life and said it could serve as a community bonding.

Prof. Pares said the worship of deities with different names within the same temple in Brazil, commonly referred to as "Candomble", a Bantu language meaning reunion, is common among African slaves and it had been adopted by some whites in Brazil and beyond.

He said "condomble," which has become an icon of identity of "Africaness" in Brazil dates back to the 18 century, serving as one of the unifying dynamics of language, kingship and religious links.

Prof. Pares said with this development "condomble" had the potential of bonding communities in the present day Brazil as people with different ethnic and religious backgrounds come together to worship their different deities.

He said the idea that the similarity in the Atlantic perimeter had brought common languages, religion and beliefs to the entire African continent and elsewhere could also help unite people from the continent and in the Diaspora.

The Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cape Coast (UCC) Prof. Naana Jane Opoku-Agyemang underscored the importance of preserving "our language and culture" to the overall development of the nation and urged all to take African studies seriously to enlighten people on their identity.

She expressed disappointment that while those in the Diaspora are striving to get to the source of their religion and culture, Africans are themselves trying to suppress and destroy the source and described the lecture as a great challenge to all Africans not to ignore the promptings.

The Vice-Chancellor said the lecture is part of the University's lecture series that seeks to ensure collaboration between UCC and other universities to foster friendship, research and exchange of programmes.


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