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Opinions of Sunday, 20 May 2018

Columnist: Chris-Vincent

The Royal Wedding: There’s still priceless value in culture and heritage

Yesterday, the BBC mentioned that about two billion people from all the continents of the world watched the royal wedding between Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. Social Media was on fire as almost every finger had something to type about the wedding.

In Ghana, a small West African country, certain local TV stations even carried it LIVE and others assembled commentators to discuss the royal wedding as if it was happening at their backyard.

It’s not just a royal wedding by name: it’s so because of the Monarchy—an institution the English themselves have a love and hate relationship with.

On one hand, the Monarchy is said to be obsolete and houses a family that gallivants around the world in opulence as a result of inherited privileges. On the other, the preservation of culture, identity, and heritage, and even contemporary tourism that the Monarchy fetches the UK is a global envy.

And yesterday, the royal wedding once again confirmed that the English Monarchy still has priceless value and it remains a strong pillar when it comes to the preservation of identity and the showcase of culture.

From the British Rolla Royce cars that were used to the Gothic St George’s Chapel decorated with ancient banners and symbols, the royal wedding was uniquely beautiful—for the fact that it captures the preserved identity and culture of the people of England.

The escorted horse-carriage ride of the newlywed through the streets of Windsor to a building of many centuries old, the Windsor Castle, with people waving hands and flags was spectacular. This was not just any ride, it is a cultural convention—which has existed for many years, intentionally preserved.

We watched in awe, excited over a magnificently coordinated wedding by a many centuries old institution, the Monarchy, that has made robust efforts to maintain the heritage of its people even in the face of modern opposition to its existence by some of its own people and global developments.

In contemporary Africa, we absolutely detest our culture and identity and blindly adopt that of others—after all, ours is inferior, we believe. Our traditional weddings are not enough, so we have two-fold weddings—ours on the low and the imported white wedding as the main.

We disgust and find our culture tasteless, irrelevant and lacking any intrinsic modern value. Our ancient buildings are left to rot and our cultural institutions such as “Chieftaincy” has no real roles or positions in our confused struggle to showcase who we are.

Our identity is porous: we even think our traditional religions and practices are demonic. They may not be true in their claims, but completely destroying the fact that they form core parts of our identity is pitiful.

In Ghana, we do not make carefully intended efforts to preserve and showcase our culture and heritage, and yet we find beauty and even social media orgasm when the English serve theirs to us.

We will one day look back as Africans and in spite of history claiming that we had the richest culture, we would be left with modernism---nothing to show for where we’ve been, where we came from and what our people stood for.

We do not even want our children to speak our native languages. That’s how far we’ve come as a people.