The Effect and Influence of Colonial Rule on Nigeria’s Culture and Tradition

The Effect and Influence of Colonial Rule on Nigeria’s Culture and Tradition

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Advantages and Disadvantages of Colonization/Colonial Rule

The colonial masters, majorly the Europeans invaded Nigeria in the early 19th century. They introduced many things and displaced the culture and traditions of Nigeria. There was an influx of culture and they dominated almost all areas of Nigerian’s lifestyle. There were change, development, modernization and all sorts of positive changes. Some barbaric traditions were thrown into pits, some were reviewed while some were replaced with new ones. Also, the coming of the Europeans also brought negative changes to the heritage of the country. Although some parts of the country were rigid and firm about their culture as they stood vehemently against change while some culture allowed the total influence of the colonial masters. Some of the areas that were influenced, both positively and negatively are discussed below( Read about culture and its characteristics here )

 

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  1. Religion

The religion that predominates Nigeria before the invasion of the foreigners was traditional religion. The colonial masters brought Christianity because many of them were missionaries from the Roman Catholic Church. Crusades were conducted and many Nigerians were converted. Shrines, worshipping house of the gods were burnt down. Through trade and contact with the Arabs, Islamic religion was also introduced to Nigerians. This new religion grew and was divided into many branches to the extent that only a few people still practice the indigenous religion in Nigeria today. All these are the effects of colonial rule in nigeria.( read about traditional medicine practitioners here)

 

  1. Traditions

Many traditions were stopped with colonialization. Traditions that involve the killing of people for rituals and sacrifices were abolished. For example, the killing of twins was put to stop by a Western Nurse named Mary Mitchell Slessor. On the other hand, some traditions that were important and those that curb immorality were destroyed. An example is the importance of virginity before marriage. This practice has gained less ground and no more founded in the culture. Modernization has destroyed some positive and good aspects of the Nigeria’s culture.( read about the tradition “Virginity” in Yoruba culture here)

 

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  1. Works of Arts

Many arts, artefacts, sculptures and old images were being carted away by the Europeans when they were leaving the country. During their rule, these works of arts were being bought, some were stolen while some were given away by the corrupt elders. The remaining works of arts are those that were left behind and they cannot be compared with the good ones that flew away with independence. The influx of the colonial masters led to a serious side effect of our artworks being transferred to museums in their country( read about importance of museum here )

 

  1. Dressing

This is one of the areas that were negatively influenced by colonial reign. The main motive and reason for wearing cloth is now a thing of the past. Before colonisation, the clothes wore do cover the nakedness and are with modesty. When the Europeans came, they introduced their dressing and sense of fashion. The new dress code has eaten deep down and has destroyed the initial moral standards of Nigeria. The traditional attire is hardly worn, clothes are now worn for the sense of fashion and not to cover the sensitive body parts. ( read about fashion among Nigerian women in the olden days here)

 

  1. Marriage

Marriage is one of the universal cultural behaviours. The type, forms and people’s view of marriage have been influenced both positively and negatively by the Europeans. On the positive side, polygamous marriage was reduced while monogamous marriage was encouraged. Family size has been reduced compared to that of the olden days. on the negative side, the divorce rate has been increased. Before the colonial rule, despite the large family size and the numerous number of wives, the head of the family was responsible and there is no or low divorce rate. Divorce was only allowed on special cases, grounds and occasions. But the story has changed with the coming of the Europeans, divorce is now seen as a normal procedure. Marriages hardly last for a decade before the couple call it quit.  Responsibility, marital dedication and the quote “for better, for worse” are now things of the past in many Nigerian’s marriages and family settings. ( read more on reasons why men cheat on their wife here)

 

Listed above are the effects and influence of colonial rule or colonization on Nigeria’s culture and traditions, we hope you enjoyed it

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