AFRICAN VALUES TRADITIONAL AND MODERN IN AMA ATA AIDOO’S Changes AND ASARE KONADU’S A WOMAN IN HER PRIME
In ethics, value denotes something degree of importance, with the aim of determining what action or life is best to do or live, or at least attempt to describe the value of different actions. It may be described as treating actions themselves as abstract objects, putting value to them. It deals with right conduct and good life, in the sense that a highly, or at least relatively highly, valuable action may be regarded as ethically good Adjective sense, and an action of low, or at least relatively low, value may be regarded as bad. Wikipedia
Values are important and lasting beliefs or ideals shared by the members of a culture about what are good and desirable. Values have major influences on peoples behaviours and attitudes and serve as broad guidelines in all situations. BusinessDictionary.com
Tradition can be defined as pertinent, lasting beliefs, culture and rituals among a society, passed down from one generation to another imbued with the concrete or abstract qualities or injunctions that are regarded as supernatural from God, gods, goddesses, heroes, legends, humans, animals and plants. They include symbolic representations and activities in events, festivals and rituals comparable with the sacred activities of the Asaa Traditional Festival of Nkpologue Ezugu 6.
Traditional Values are those physical or abstract qualities possessed by particular elements, events, rituals or phenomena held in highesteem, respect and obedience by individuals. Such values govern and regulate the physical and psychological behavior of individuals living in a particular culture or a geographical area.
Africans as we know are a resilient people, and over time they have developed value systems and ways of coping with life and maintain their communities and to survive great hardships either in the African continent or in the Diaspora. The traditional life of the clan in most tribes of Africa has, as its core value, protection of the family and perpetuation of the tribe. In his traditional life the African holds certain things to be of great value. It is these values which give him a distinct cultural personality and enable him to make some contributions to world knowledge, history, philosophy and civilization. It is not my task in this study to articulate all the cultural values of the African, but only the dominant ones.
One of the foremost traditional values of the African is having a large family. Children are of supreme value to the African. His primary purpose for marriage is children and to have as many of them as possible. This is the reason why polygamy or the union of one man with several women still holds great attraction for him, and also why the birth rate in Africa is among the highest in the world. The fact is that the African still counts his blessings by the number of children he has, whether they are educated or not, rich or poor, healthy or sick, wellfed or hungry. The African smiles at the sight of his numerous children and is unmoved at the turmoil at his gate as he has a lot of arrows in his quivers.Seo Ogbonmwan, 2008.
1.2. BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
The word Tradition itself derives from the Latin tradere or traderer literally meaning to transmit, to hand over, to give for safekeeping.
A tradition is a belief, principle or way of behaviour of a particular people, passed down within a group or society with symbolic meaning or important significance that originated in the past. Common examples include holidays or impractical but socially meaningful clothes Like Lawyer wigs or Military officer spurs but the idea has also been applied to social norms such as anthropology and biology, have adapted the term Tradition, defining it more precisely than its conventional use in order to facilitate scholarly discourse.
The concept of tradition, as the notion of holding on to a previous time, is also found in political and philosophical discourse. For example, the political concept of traditionalism is based around it, as are strands of many world religions including traditional Catholicism. Wikipedia
Modernity typically refers to a posttraditional, postmedieval historical period, one marked by the move from Feudalism Or Agrarianism toward Capitalism, Industrialization, Secularization, Nationalization, the nationstate and its constituent institutions and forms of surveillance Barker 2005,444.
Charles Pierre Baudelaire is credited with coining the term Modernity Modernite to designate the fleeting, ephemeral experience of life in an urban metropolis, and the responsibility art has to capture that experience.
Conceptually, modernity relates to the modern era and to modernism, but forms a distinct concept.
Whereas the Enlightenment ca. 16501800 invokes a specific movement in Western philosophy, modernity tends to refer only to the social relations associated with the rise of Capitalism. Modernity may also refer to tendencies in intellectual culture, particularly the movements intertwined with Secularization and post Industrial life, such as Marxism, existentialism and the formal establishment of social science.
1.3 THE AIM AND OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY
The aim of this research is to rejuvenate or rekindle interest in African traditional and modern values in the works of Asare Konadu and Ama Ata Aidoo, namely: A Woman In Her Prime and Changes, in a bid to entrench core African values that appear to be waning.
1.4 SCOPE AND LIMITATION OF STUDY
This study is as well as limited to the novels of Asare Konadu and Ama Ata Aidoo, namely:
A Woman in Her Prime and Changes
Other sources used include: textbooks, journals, essays, internet facilities, and personal contributions based on observations, studies, and private interviews.
1.5 THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
This work is salient in the sense that it explores African values in traditional and modern sense, which are still the foundation of existence till today.
This work, will in addition, serve as a means of enlightenment to the present generation and the future.
1.6 RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
The methodology adopted in this research is purely literary, analytical, comparative, as well as contrastive as a means of highlighting typical African traditional values in comparison with what present day modern values appear to be some of which are acceptable, since society is dynamic. Occasionally one comes across the so called modern values that are aberrations, copied from foreign sources that run counter to African values.