My Grandmother

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Date Submitted: 09/25/2012 06:31 PM

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What My Grandmother Taught Me About Communication: Perspectives From African Cultural Values by Alfred Opubor

What are the roots of African patrimony? And how are they relevant to communication, culture and social change? In this essay, Professor Alfred Opubor, of the West African News Media and Development Centre, in Cotonou, Benin, provides useful insights about African cultural values.


In this essay, the author examines the roots of African patrimony and its relevance in developing and implementing an Afrocentric theory of communication, culture and social change.


Dans cet essai, l'auteur se penche sur les racines du patriomoine africain, et le rôle important que jouerait ce dernier dans la mise au point et l'application d'une théorie afro centriste de communication, de culture et de changements sociaux.

Introduction: The African imperative

Since the human being is the communication animal, all human societies are endowed with a legacy of communication theory and practice.  And because communication is the social mechanism for building society, all communication is rule-governed, providing the basis for expectations and predictions of what others will say and do.  The rules of communication-in-society also provide a basis for evaluation of what is correct or right or good, i.e., for making ethical and moral judgments about communication practice and communication acts.

The underlying basis for such judgments, i.e. the underlying theory is often dormant, unexpressed, and yet very much active in regulating the behaviour of individuals and groups.  Cultures outside Africa have developed, codified and articulated these underlying ideas, based on the experience of their societies over the centuries, and are, therefore, able now to propose them as organized bodies of thought, through appropriate meta-languages.  In matters of communication, Africans have a fundamental right, and a responsibility, to make the wisdom of their ancestors...