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Ravages of Tribalism

By Salika Rashid

Tribalism, which is an antithesis to nationalism, is consciousness or loyalty of people towards its tribe. It can be differentiated from nationalism, as it focuses on the bigger picture of the nation. The pattern and behaviour of an individual are often contoured by the tribe; it is according to its dictums the person constructs his/her identity, and the retention of this identity within the larger the group is tribalistic. What is palpable is the debate that how tribalism is detrimental for the democratic States. Not to deny the fact that tribalism becomes the cause of chasms within the nation or country but the advantage in "cultural enrichment pattern" can't be ignored. Even though tribalism has persisted in various continents but its grip in Africa has remained intense.

According to many critics, the root cause of tribalism was designed by the colonial masters who governed through divide and rule policy thus the discord and disunity became their legacy. It is still penetrating intensely, hollowing the entire political, social and economic system of Africa. The inter and intra-rift has dwindled the progress and development in the African subcontinent. Furthermore, people have engrained this so profoundly that the tribal names are enquired before the greeting. The conscious treatment with "the other" gives rise to the prejudicial and stereotypical mind-set. This acts as an impediment in comprehending the other as human and ultimately wounds the very cause of humanity, compassion and tolerance.