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Use the listening scripts at the back of the book for more reading (and vocabulary practice): pp.148-150 (Units 3 and 4).



The effects of Globalization on culture in Africa in the Eyes of an African Woman

Economic growth without social and cultural justice cannot be our idea of development. It is imperative that development is measured in terms of the quality of human life, which can be reflected in, for example, better education, health and life expectancy for every single member of society. This is only possible if men and women are equally empowered, in theory and in practice. And the North has a crucial role to play in this process. Anything that falls short of restoring peoples' dignity, sense of identity, continuity and security should never be accepted. Africa needs to learn to respect the dissenting voice of its own people.


1 January 1998

by Fridah Muyale-Manenji


I wirte this article as an African woman involved in the African struggle, and as a mother and wife who believes in justice. Culture is such a broad term and when it comes to my mind, I think of values and norms people have which make them live in a particular way. A way of living in a particular community. In other words, the sum total of all things that refer to religion, roots of people, symbols, language, songs, stories, celebrations and all expressions of our way of life. It encompasses food production, technology, architecture, kinship, the way we relate to each other, political and economic systems and all the social relationships these entail.

Culture is dynamic...
Each culture has its own personality. The fact that we are all human does not mean that we are all the same. To ignore this would be destroying God's own beautiful rainbow made from the many colours of cultural diversity. Culture is learned. This is the most common attribute. It is not genetically transmitted. Rather, it takes place by a process of absorption from the social environment or through deliberate instruction. No culture is possible without a language. It is bound up with language. This is an important prerequisite and therefore to kill a language is to kill a culture.

Culture is never static. It is dynamic. It changes exactly the same way as human beings change. Culture is a continuous process of change but in spite of the change, culture continues giving a community a sense of identity, dignity, continuity, security and binds society together.


The effect globalization has had on culture is immense and diverse. It has affected people's cultural behaviours in different ways. People have had to change their living ways.


The demands of globalization
To this end, it is demanded that all countries must pursue a common set of economic policies. In particular, they must permit the free and indiscriminate operation of transnational corporations in their economies: open their economies freely to imports and concentrate on exporting what they are supposed to be good at. Countries have deregulated foreign investment, liberalised their imports, removed currency controls, and so on. The results have been to further undermine the internal, national productive capacity, social security and democratic integrity of these countries. So that is basically how globalization has impacted on Africa.

In Africa, women have mostly been involved in farming, in employment as civil servants, and in industry. They have also been involved in small-scale entrepreneurships. Globalisation negatively affected farmers. The result - food security in Africa is highly threatened.


Children no longer sit around the fireplace in the evening to listen to stories that promote the values of respect, integrity, peace, love and unity, even in the rural areas where this sort of environment would fit best. People - men, women and children - are all engrossed the struggle for survival - the struggle to fill the tummy at least for the day.

But the amazing issue is that of ignorance. Even the rich and well-to-do have no clue about the system that has invaded the African continent. The sale of a shirt made outside an African country is more certain than a locally manufactured one. People prefer "imported” products. Ladies who wear perfume from Paris and shoes from Italy tend to receive more respect than those wearing a locally manufactured brand. Children in rich families are too busy involved in video games, international schools that offer English and other "international" languages, television and movies whose content is 90% from outside the country.

The youth prefer the western beats to the local artists and hair styles, shoes and clothing keep to the trends on the western fashion scene.


Those who are slow are left behind. In Malawi, whereas before rice was produced in Malawi and sold in most Southern African countries, rice is now brought in from Asia and sold at much cheaper prices than the locally produced one. The production of the local one is therefore forced to stop.

In many countries, it has always been the responsibility of the man to go out and fend and provide for his family. This has changed. Men and women both leave home in search of the available labour. This has hence affected the household responsibilities. In cases where the man goes to work, the woman is forced to become involved in supplementary activities such as sewing or selling vegetables to complement her husband's salary. In these countries, women have suffered from the impact of globalization.

Many girls have dropped out of school because their families cannot afford to pay all the school fees. In Africa, there is a limit to your capacity to enjoy your rights if you have not gone to school. It means that you may not get a job and therefore your economic rights (which are basic human rights) are affected. The first challenge facing women today is education. Education must empower women with knowledge of their rights and how to seek redress should such rights be violated.

In conclusion, the North must revise its conception of development. Economic growth without social and cultural justice cannot be our idea of development. It is imperative that development is measured in terms of the quality of human life, which can be reflected in, for example, better education, health and life expectancy for every single member of society.


Extracts from



1. Your company sold 250 machines to Alba Company for BD 1 million. The invoice No.  8765/B4 is now two weeks overdue. You provided them a BH5,000 discount if they payment is made within 5 working days. Write them a letter reminding them of the importance of making the payment within the next 3 working days or you will take legal action against them to recover the amount.


2. You are a manger of a contruction company. You signed a contract with a company to build their premises at stages. They were supposed to pay an installment worht of 25% of the total charge at the end of each stage. Now after you finished the third stage, no money was paid to your company. The contruction has stopped for two months so far and you do not intend to continue unless you are paid your installment. Write a letter to the company for whom you are building and urge them to pay their third installment within seven working days, otherwise you would termintate your contract with them and not complete the contstuction and would take this matter to the court.




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