I grew up in America and received an American education. I have an American wife and children and I love the life I have built for myself in America. My dilemma is that I am, by birth, beholden to become the chief of an African tribe upon the death of my father who was chief of the tribe. My loyalties are torn between my life in America and my responsibility to a tribe I have never known in a land I don’t understand, and in a role of leadership which I have never experienced.
I must also consider my wife and children; I must make a decision either to shirk my responsibility to the tribe or to take my family to a very strange, possibly dangerous land and upset our lives completely. Because it seems to me that the cultural and technological changes that are impacting Africa in the twenty-first century are complicated and profound, I feel a strong sense that I should serve the tribe. It would be very difficult to give up my life in America because the life described n Africa in the film sounds demanding and very alien to the social customs of America.
However, it seems that refusing to provide wisdom and knowledge and leadership to the tribe due to fear of change or personal selfishness would be morally wrong. Because I have had a good education in America, I will be able to help the African tribe in many ways. There’s no reason why I shouldn’t be able to conduct travels to America and do business on behalf of the tribe in America or work to provide opportunities for those in the African tribe who seek it to become educated in America.
In some ways, the responsibility to the tribe is not only to facilitate a transition into the twenty-first century but to uphold the promise of my father who, as chief, promised the tribe that I would serve upon his death. Taking my family to Ghana will be a very difficult and very troublesome action which is a sort of sacrifice that will be necessary in order for me to do what is morally and practically the right thing to do. It would be wrong to turn my back on the tribe, but it is potentially dangerous and destructive to uproot my family and take them to a foreign land.
On the other hand, the opportunity may well prove to be a good one for both myself nad my family. The land may show us mysteries and cultural differences which will make us better people, and maybe even happier people. There may be issues other than those of service to the tribe. After-all, I will be chief and me and my family will be held in high esteem by the tribe; we will be important and influential and we may find that our new roles are right for us after-all. Going to Africa will also allow me and my family a chance to find out about my ancestry and the history of the tribe.
It could be that certain tribal traditions and tribal wisdoms will prove important for Westerners to understand and that my role as a “bridge” will work both ways: I may impart wisdom about modern ideas and technologies to the tribe but I may be able to use traditional tribal ideas and cultural wisdoms to elucidate problems which face the “modern” world. The final factor which weighs in my decision is the fact that the tribe has already pronounced me chief and accepted me as chief.
In this sense, the tribe is also my “family’ they are simply family members which I have not yet become attached to and involved with, but it is important for me to make a self-sacrifice on behalf of the tribe. I would choose to become Chief of the tribe in order to provide a cultural ‘bridge” from the African traditions to the modern changes which are going to impact the tribe, whether they want them or not and whether or not they are prepared. I feel a sense of responsibility to my father’s reputation and to the tribe, as well as to myself and my family.
Courtney from Study Moose
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