“Tribalism”: A scar today; a wound tomorrow.

Conversation Zimbabwe

I have always found the word tribe to be problematic, if not deliberately condescending primarily because of how it is constantly used to describe African groupings with vast and clearly discernible identities. What I also find amusing, is the word’s conspicuous absence in any discourse where similar European groupings or identities are concerned. It is a word that irks me not least because of the uncivilised connotations it carries, but also because of the fact that it has become the de rigueur term for describing what I know and believe to be very distinct, proud and pronounced African ethnicities.

On one hand, Europeans (or any of their more “civilised” cousins) are not grouped into tribes. We are told that they are essentially ethnicities. They are cohesive groupings of civilised beings bound and woven together by a coagulation of culture, tradition and geographic location. While on the other hand, Africans are…

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