11.07.2019 in Book Review

When Culture Collides Essay

The author generally addresses how the African culture has been eroded through migration to the west. He looks on how parents bring up their children in the west neglecting the concept of educating their children on issues related to their culture.

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The purpose for writing the book.

In the book, when culture collides by, Dr. Cosmas Uchenna Nwokeafor, the author is interested in speaking on how the African culture is affected when Africans move to the West. He focuses more on the way Africans in the west bring up their children without teaching them their African culture. The author is more concerned with this phenomenon because it is the root cause of loss culture among the African communities which have settled in the west. He points out that, the emerging new generations are taught their culture by their parents, peer groups, schools, religious institutions, government agencies, media and the entire community in general. Therefore, it is the lack of these conditions in the west that contribute to the erosion of culture among the immigrants since their children are forced to adapt to the western culture. To alleviate this, the author advises that it is important for Africans living in the west to ensure that their children visits their motherland once in a while in order to learn their roots and culture more so when they are in secondary schools whereby they can study through high school in their motherland.

In the first chapter in this book, the author starts by justifying the relevance of culture in a given community. He points out that culture plays a key role in determining the way people in a given community are going to behave and plays a role in determining the way this people are going to interact with others who belong to a different cultural community. The learning of culture as it has been pointed out in this review earlier involves a collective responsibility of many groups in a community. This learning process has been identified as the major determinant of the way people speak, the way they dress, their lifestyle, the foods they eat, their beliefs, artifacts and behaviours due to the way they share some similarities among themselves which are present in the environments where they are brought up. Apart from this, anthropologists point out that, culture to greater extent determine the contents in the messages that people pass from one person to another when they are conversing in their daily activities.

The author also finds it important for Africans to maintain their culture as it has the potential of helping them to deal with issues that may arise concerning their lives. He describes African culture as a key element in the formation of a strong foundation where each African is firmly held which further guides them in understanding their surroundings. In a nut shell, the author says that, African culture is responsible for protecting its people from unknown situations by providing a framework that acts as a point of reference for various engagements and activities in life.

In this book, the main focus is on the way children are brought up in a different cultural background other than that found in their native cultural community and the author mainly refers to those children who are brought up in the west. He points out that the more these children continue to extend their stay in those western nations the more they are negatively influenced by the cultural values that are used by the people in the west which subsequently affect the way they engage with others. In regard to this, the author advices that cultural education is very essential in the process of bringing up the young African children and parents should consider it when they are planning on how to provide education to their children.  The author appreciates achievements that the African youths have achieved as far as education is concerned which has enabled them to get well paying jobs but he adds that, familiarity with their culture would help them greatly when solving emerging issues in their profession which are related to their culture as it will make them think critically. Therefore, the author finds it logical for parents to send their children to their motherland in order to learn their culture as it is in their native land and further more to connect with their roots and appreciate the true value of their ancestral home.

The author takes a position on the relationship between the developments of a child and the influence of the environment on these developments and proposes that the environment in which a child is brought up greatly determines how that child turns out to be. The role of the environment therefore is to form the character of a child as it develops. In connection to this, optimistic version of cultural determinism has a different opinion on human nature and it has proposed that the human nature is infinitely malleable which provides people with the opportunity to decide on the ways they are going to lead their lives. The pessimistic also have their point of view as far as human nature is concerned. They propose that people are what they are conditioned to be and they have no control over that. The author is for the opinion that, parents who are bring up their children in the western nations should take the responsibility of teaching and encouraging their children the purpose of learning their culture and inform them on the differences between their culture and the western culture. Failure of the parents to do this will definitely lead to culture collision which has so far been experienced in most African communities in the west. The author advices that parents should welcome changes that are brought by these collisions, but warns of letting their culture drain away.

The author also looks into the concept of marriage and broadly describes its purpose in the society as far as the process of bring up children is concerned. He describes marriage as a life journey, an odyssey that presents many surprises that are both encouraging and others discouraging. He points out that, people have different reasons for getting into a marriage which range from social and economic stability, formation of a family for the continuation of a generation and for legitimizing their sexual relationship. In an African context he describes it as an obligation between two opposite genders who have declared their love for each other. The author appreciates how marriages that have been conducted under African fundamentals have thrived although there are instances of minor challenges that are quickly resolved. He therefore advices parents raising their children in the west to enlighten their children on issues related to traditional marriages  as early as possible in the course of their growth. The way the westerners view the marriage institution is totally different from the African view and the author warns that, when culture collides, children growing in the west will be forced to adapt to how the west view marriage which to some extent is not well defined. The author also adds that, the way the married couples conduct themselves in the eyes of their children greatly determines the future behaviour of their children and advices that parents should avoid engaging themselves in acts that will adversely affect their children.

The author also talks of how children growing in the west make mistakes when choosing their marriage partners which in most cases is against their parents will but he is quick to point out that it’s the fault of their parents by failing to educate them on cultural issues that are related to traditional marriage. The blame here is not only directed to the parents alone but also to other people living abroad for failing to unite together and coming up with ways of safeguarding their cultural values and also the lack of cultural education regarding marriage. This kind of irresponsibility has been pointed by the author as the major cause of divorces among the married couples who have gone the western way.

From the content of the first chapter to the last, it is evident that the audiences that were been targeted by the author are the parents who are raising their children in the west. The book has to a greater extent elaborated on the repercussions of culture collusion. From the introduction chapter, the numerous importance of culture has been well elaborated and the author justifies beyond reasonable doubt that culture indeed is of great importance to any community. Therefore, this piece of work is of great importance in enlightening those parents who are bringing up their children in the west on the adverse of effects of ignoring the concept of educating the children on the importance of their roots and cultural values. For this reason, the book is of great value as far as the maintenance of cultural heritage is concerned.

The idea of holding onto one’s culture is a good thing as already discussed in this review. One would strongly agree with the author on this issue since any one who abandons his/her culture is of no much difference from a slave. As it has been pointed out in the text, an individual’s culture defines an individual wholly in all aspects of life and plays a key role in identifying that person with his/her people, something which is irreplaceable even when a person adapts another way of life. This point therefore justifies the relevance of this book to any African community that values its culture and way of life and is ready to protect it at any cost.


It is estimated that, about two million Africans have migrated to America. Going by this statistics, it therefore implies that African culture is at risk of getting eroded further since the population that is moving to America will continue to increase and more children are likely to be born by this Africans living in America. Failure to put the appropriate measures in place, the children who will be raised there will never get to learn their culture a situation that will have adverse effects in their lives in future. It should therefore become the responsibility of every African raising his/her children in the west to come up with measures that will see their children learn their cultural values in order to appreciate them and be in a position of applying them in solving real life problems that are related to their culture.


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