Today, it is much faster and cheaper to buy the things we need instead of making them. As a result, traditional craft-making processes around the world, including Africa, are disappearing.
I think the fast pace of development in many “third-world” nations makes the discard of traditional craft, art, architecture, and culture in general all the more apparent and shocking. While it is inevitable that this discard will happen, I think it’s very important that the attempt is made to preserve traditions of the past — otherwise you are left with nothing but a faceless, insipid tableau of “modernity”!! and who wants that.
I can’t help but think that all these crafts are the spice of life. No one really needs them. But they make life a little more interesting. I’ve had a hand-knit sweater my friends made me for years. Obviously buying a jacket would be easier, but it’s great to have a special piece of clothes too. It’s all about finding a balance between mass production and keeping a few special pieces to go with them.
The following entry is from students in Mr. Rooney’s World Cultures class at Saint Basil Academy, who researched this Imagine Africa theme as part of the course.
Even though the modern methods of mass production are more economically credible, there is value in protecting traditional craft techniques. Yes, mass production does benefit African people economically, but it also takes away from the rich African culture and individuality of the creation. The traditional methods express the people, their personality and culture. It shows how much love in pride they have in themselves, their country, and history. Modern methods do produce a greater amount faster, but lack in originality and authenticity. Without this, new generations and people of other cultures would not get the opportunity to witness the beautifully rich culture. This is why there is value in protecting traditional craft techniques.
Based on the research we have been doing, we have learned that there is value in protecting traditional craft techniques in the face of modern methods of mass productions. One reason is because it is part of African culture and they should be able to pass their culture down to future generations. Another reason is because many people want to continue their culture in order to be like their ancestors. Finally, there is value because without their crafts we would not know as many things about their lives as we do now.
The following entry is from students in Mr.Rooney’s World Cultures class at Saint Basil Academy, who researched this Imagine Africa theme as part of the course.
Yes, there is value in protecting traditional craft techniques. In a modern society, it is important to know where you come from and about your past. If these techniques are not passed down through children, they can be lost forever. This would be tragic because when these small businesses are destroyed in the face of mass production, an essential piece of African culture is destroyed with it. If what you make defines you, it should be unique. Without these techniques we will lose quality. That is why they need to be protected.