De-tribalized! This is, to my surprise, a great word for Nigerians. I have never in life seen the word associated with any eminent or honourable person elsewhere in the world. Even the computer rejects the word. It marks it red. It is not in its word list, which means it does not exist. I don’t just know from where Nigerians got that word. It is only here that this word (which does not exist) is honourable and used freely. People say they are de-tribalized. People are said to be de-tribalized, and they gloat over it, feeling great. And you wonder what they mean.
The issue is the word, TRIBE. The English, in their language dictionary say of the word, tribe: “some times offensive”. That’s how they start defining it. And they add, (”in developing countries “).That means they have no tribe in their clime. They want us to believe that at no time were they a developing country. They just came into the world and became developed? Such crap! Just to put us down. At this, you need to see how I rejoice when they are defeated in international competitions. Their defeat by Italy and their not qualifying for the next round in the World Cup were particularly sweet. They are too unfair to us and don’t deserve my support in anything. They don’t deserve yours either as a Nigerian.
Furthermore, they say the tribe is “a group of people of same race, and with the same customs, language, religion, etc, living in a particular area and often led by a chief”. Imagine. In their context and meaning, having made tribe a dirty word for only the African, “tribes live in remote areas, like the Amazonian rain-forest”. When you talk of remoteness in the locating of a place, you wonder from where to where? Which location in this world is remote and which is near? Is this a sensible explanation of what the word means? In another language’s dictionary I checked, tribe is just a language group. That’s all. Nothing unbecoming or shameful was added to it. You can see the bias and selfishness of the British in relating to other races, particularly to us. That’s why I am amazed at those of our people who adopt their methods, terms and meanings uncritically in these days and age of reality, scholarship and awareness.
The explanation of tribe went on to say the word is “usually disappointing”. You see? Indeed the British have a grouse with the word tribe and those it is used for. It is a word of mass destruction for us. From it tribalism was derived to mean “behaviours and attributes that are based on being loyal to a tribe – the state of being organized in a tribe”. If not to a tribe in Africa, where else would we Africans be loyal to? They want your loyalty at the British Commonwealth. To be loyal elsewhere of course is unbecoming. It has to be at their Commonwealth or their ‘united’ conglomerate nations, where loyalty is not voluntary but forced, and where they are fully in control. Are you getting the point why one has to be de-tribalized, a word that doesn’t even exist?
Well, a person who is de-tribalized or feels so has bought this stupid British bias. He has eaten the colonial poison. He is going to die without identity, without culture, without a personality and without a nation. No, you can really not be de-tribalized. It is a pretence that is unsustainable.
However, the tribe is the authentic nation –unit from Creation, from God. It was the mission of the evil colonizer to destroy it and plant his hegemony. The tribe is the same as the nation everywhere in the world, except here where they rule. The strongest and the most developed and important nations are built on the tribe. Why do they negate and falsify this truth of all times? In the English word book the nation means “a country considered as a group of people WITH THE SAME LANGUAGE, culture and history; people who live in a particular area, under one government”. In this case, the rule of a tribal chief cannot be a government, because it was not set up by them! Contradictions! Double meanings! Deception! The British are very good at these in pursuit of selfish interest, in oppression of those they want to plunder and exploit (colonize).
Let’s take up at the same time a relative word, ETHNIC which is meant for us and therefore regarded in a derogatory way by the selfsame British. It means “connected with or belonging to a nation, race or tribe that shares a cultural tradition”. The other derivative word, ETHNICITY is practically a compound sin that is intolerable in post colonial lands. When you are labelled ethnocentric, you are supposed to be hanged. But these are attributes that separate the local from the universal. They propel the modern world and progressive societies. Nobody becomes a universal man without anchoring on and identification with his roots, the local, the ethnic and the tribal. That’s where people like Shakespeare, Gandhi, Mandela, Socrates and Miriam Makeba sprouted from.
Few examples suffice. Martin Luther King Jr. Was he de-tribalized and he laid down his life in defense of his oppressed black tribe in America? Was he ethnocentric? Was he a nationalist? Was Nelson Mandela any of these things? Is Bishop Desmond Tutu de-tribalized and he faught Apartheid to a standstill? What is the de-tribalized Nigerian saying? He is saying: I won’t defend any tradition. I won’t defend any culture. I have no cause I want to fight for. I don’t belong anywhere – nation, tribe or ethnic group. If I really get what the de-tribalized Nigerian means, to be de-tribalized is to be a merchant of escapism – one who is neither here nor there. The aim is to join the nebulous mainstream where there would be partying all the time. No serious thing to engage in for one’s tribe. No risks to take for one’s tribe. The mainstream has no definition, no character and no description. The tribe represents originality. It is where community, nationalism and growth should naturally start. One should be tribalized, rather than de-tribalized.