Cultural Effects Of Colonialism In Africa

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Hanafi 1 The effects of colonialism gradually led to the integration of the European and African cultures, which eventually gave birth to numerous subcultures in Africa. Back in 1892, for example, German colonists started arriving in Namibia. By 1904, they decided that they’d be in charge of it, and declared the area “German South-West Africa”. After the Heroro genocide, which killed almost 75% of the population, the Herero people began dressing in a fashion similar to their oppressors, and have continued to do so this day (Emily). According to David Muggleton, fashion is, in other words, a cultural construction. Its very existence, form, and direction are dependent on the complex interplay of quite specific economic, political, and ideological…show more content…
Cloth dress was slowly introduced during colonial times and adopted in different way. For some tribes of the indigenous people, leather is still a medium of textile today but for others tribes, including the Herero Victorians, the cloth dress has followed European dress. In Figure 2, we can see that the Himba tribe still dresses rather traditionally, with most of the body exposed. This is a vast contrast to the Herero Victorians who have adopted an European style of dressing which is modest. This was because, after the genocide took place, many women converted to Christiany and were forced to cover up to fit in with their modest Victorian attitudes. The shift from leather to cloth and have taken about one hundred years. “Several factors may have been critical: proximity to mission settlements, degree of participation in regional trade, local leadership, and relative economic autonomy (Hildi). The 19th century Europeans who belived in covering the body more fully, encouraged women to wear long dresses with a fitted bodice and sleeves. The dress of the Herero people is remarkable for its lack of change. Key Herero families adopted cloth dress in the mid-nineteenth century, and adult Herero women have sewn and worn full-length cloth dresses and head dresses ever since (Hildi). The fact that 21st…show more content…
While this clothing constrains women, symbolising as it does the burdens of female adulthood, the long dress also marks women as social person who literally embody perhaps the most potent forms of socially recognised power. The dress also celebrates a perceived capacity to create lasting relationships for which women as a social group are highly valued. The long dress highlights female procreative powers and the positive association of women with cattle. These clothes mark the passage of women into motherhood and marriage and maturation of their commitment to the many new relationships which follow. “These outfits are regarded as proper dress for traditional married women. By wearing the long dress, a newly-married woman shows her in-laws that she is willing to take up the responsibilities of a Herero home and will raise her children to respect their heritage and their father’s family.” (Mwalimushi). In short, dress is found to mark women's transition to marriage and motherhood and eloquently to symbolise the responsibilities of adulthood and women's acquiescence to them. “The dress celebrates women as engenderers of highly‐valued, immutable social relationships. In it, women represent Herero society, ‘traditionalism’, and history within a wider, plural socio‐political world
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