Using the Culture Orientation Model, Produce a Survey of Cultural Patterns for East Africa”

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Table of Contents

Using the Culture Orientation Model, Produce a Survey of Cultural Patterns for East Africa. 2

1.1 Introduction. 2

1.2 A Survey of Cultural Patterns for East Africa. 3

1.3 The Concept of Culture. 4

1.4 Characteristics of Culture. 5

2.1 Culture Orientation Models. 6

2.2 Geert Hofstede Culture Orientation Model 7

2.2.1 Individualism-Collectivism.. 7

2.2.2 Masculinity Versus Femininity. 7

2.2.3 Power Distance. 8

2.2.4 Time Orientation. 8

2.2.5 Uncertainty Avoidance. 9

2.3 Kluckhonn-Strodtback Culture Orientation Model 9

2.3.1 Relationship to the Environment 10

2.3.2 Time Orientation. 10

2.3.3 Nature of People. 10

2.3.4 Activity Orientation. 10

2.3.5 Focus of Responsibility. 11

2.3.6 Conception of Space. 11

3.3 Survey of Various East African Cultures. 11

3.3.1 The Maasai Culture. 12

3.3.2 The Swahili Culture. 13

3.3.3 The Baganda Culture. 15

3.3.4 Modern East African Culture. 16

5.1 The Main East African Cultural Norms and Values. 17

5.1.1 Social Values. 18

5.1.2 Moral Values. 18

5.1.3 Religious values. 18

5.1.4 Political Values. 19

5.1.5 Aesthetic Values. 19

5.1.6 Economic Values. 20

References. 21

Using the Culture Orientation Model, Produce a Survey of Cultural Patterns for East Africa

1.1 Introduction

Today, the World has become a global village. Barriers to trade have been broken and people interact freely in their daily operations. Technology has revolutionized the way people do business and information flow between continents and countries is strong.  However, due globalization and advancement of new technology, culture has been affected and as a result increased homogenization of culture across the globe and this is evident in many regions including within the East African region.  According to Inglehart and Baker (2000), culture refers to a set of common beliefs, ideas and values held by people in an organization, community or in a region. This is because culture is expressed in different forms including music, dance, and religion, artefacts, clothing and language (Hofstede, 2011).  Every country and region has a culture to which its nationals subscribe too. Globalization has resulted in death by distance thereby eliminating national barriers and people currently learn new cultures in different regions. The reality of today’s global organizations and leaders must recognize cultural diversity since cultural differences are evident in religion, values and attitude, social norms and education.

Based on the above background, the primary objective of this paper is to adopt different culture orientation models and provide a survey of cultural patterns for East Africa. The paper will consider the Geert Hofstede and the Kluckhonn-Strodtback cultural orientation models.

1.2 A Survey of Cultural Patterns for East Africa

According to Inglehart (1997), culture is what makes a group of people distinctively unique from other human societies in family and humanity. It entails a totality of traits and characters which are peculiar to a people such that they become marked out from other peoples and societies. Specifically, the peculiar traits extend to include language, music, dressing, religion, works and arts among others. The unique traits also extend to include the people’s social norms, beliefs, taboos and values (the beliefs held about what is right, wrong, or important to life) (Hofstede, 2011).  The broader study of culture is termed anthropology which entails philosophy and axiology. This study presents a survey of cultural patterns for East Africa using the culture orientation model. Using the cultural models, the essay generates and maps the cultures that identify the national cultural groupings for the countries making the East Africa. It examines the distinctive cultural characteristics of these groupings by underscoring the socioeconomic, political and demographic factors that give rise to the national differences on cultural value dimensions based on the factors that are influenced by culture. Since cultural orientations influence attitudes and behavior, an examination of the effects of the prevailing cultures are explored to bring out the differences between the cultures based on political activism and conventional morality thus the direct impact on major social variables. The essay first examines the concept and meaning of culture to help us understand the issues that will be presented in this paper before exploring the cultural orientation model thereafter conduct a survey of the cultural patterns of East Africa.

1.3 The Concept of Culture

The concept of culture was first coined and defined by Edward B. Taylor in his work Primitive Culture (1871). In his explanation, he viewed culture as a complex whole that includes knowledge, customs, belief, art, law and morals as well as other capabilities and habits acquired by human as a member of the society. The concept of culture captures a wide range of human phenomena, norms, beliefs, achievement, feelings, manners and many more thus being the patterned way of life shared by a particular group of people with a single descent or origin. Bello (1991) attempted to capture the exhaustive nature of culture by stating that culture is the “totality of the way of life evolved by a people in their attempts to meet the challenge of living in their environment, thus developing an order and meaning to their social, economic, political, religious and aesthetic norms making them distinguished from their neighbours” (p. 189). This agrees with Aziza’s (2001) explanation that holds that culture distinguishes a group of people from others and the shared traits are passed from one generation to the next and is acquired through socialization process.

Fafunwa (1974) explains how culture is passed from one generation to the next by stating that as a child grows within a given culture heritage, he imbibes it through observation and by mimicking as he watches and witnesses events, actions, procedures and behavior. This implies that all human grows within a particular society and is thus most likely to be infused with the culture around knowingly or unknowingly through interaction.  Accordingly, Etuk (2002) explains that culture is an entire way of life that embodies what people think about themselves and the universe in which they live, implying how a group of people organizes their lives to ensure their survival. This definition emphasizes that culture is a way of life of a people, implying that culture cannot exist without a peoples and people cannot exist without a culture; even the so-called ‘primitive’ people have their own history, philosophy and religion thus having a culture (Spear, 2000).

1.4 Characteristics of Culture

Culture is dynamic- Culture must be adaptive in order to meet the needs of the ever-changing environment. Factors that contribute to change in culture include technology, population shift and acculturation (Hofstede, 2011).   Culture is shared and this is because the belief must be shared by a group of people to qualify as cultural characteristic. It is also true that culture is learned and this means that culture is passed down from generation to generation through learning. This occurs through socialization (Spear, 2000).

Culture is also purposeful and this means that culture exists to offer direction and guidance in the different phases of life. It should also be noted that culture provides identity. Culture provides people with identity through subscription to common values and beliefs which are unique to a community or nation. Culture is also seen in dress and appearance and this represents the outward adornment and body decorations. Culture is also engrained in communication and language and this can be verbal or nonverbal. Languages differ in the various countries. Interpretation however varies in nonverbal communication (Hofstede, 2011).  Culture is also associated with time and time consciousness. This means that time varies in different continents with Western Countries classifying the periods into winter, summer and spring. In African countries, the seasons are based on rainfall intervals expected within a year. Another aspect is time consciousness. Some cultures place a lot of emphasis on keeping time while others believe in developing meaningful relationships (Spear, 2000).

2.1 Culture Orientation Models

There are two main culture orientation models that explain the values associated with culture. These are the Geert Hofstede and the Kluckhonn-Strodtback cultural orientation models. According to these models, it is true that the differences in cultures can only be explained using the concept of cultural orientations which offer a framework that helps describe and explain the cultural differences (Spear, 2000). The concept of cultural orientations was coined by a social psychologist, Geert Hofstede through studies of diverse cultures across the world. Cultural orientation is the specific inclination of thinking, feeling or acting in a way that is determined by culture (Hofstede, 2011).   It is the factor that forms the foundational differences between cultures that include interpersonal relationships, self-identity, conflict resolution methods and communication. Cultural orientations are not clearly cut out and as such, no person belongs to only one cultural orientation but lies within a continuum of diverse cultural orientations.

By observing patterns of thinking, behaving and feelings of people across different cultures, Hofstede (1980) developed four dimensions of cultural orientations to compare country cultural values and later developed five dimensional theories to do the comparison (Hofstede, 2001). Hofstede’s (1980; 2001) theories have been extensively applied in the field of business and management. Inglehart (1977; 1990) on the other hand developed his theory of materialism-postmaterialism that was refined to two dimensions to address the issue of political science and sociology (Inglehart & Baker, 2000). This paper employs Hofstede’s (2005), dimensions of cultural orientations by considering three main cultural orientations that are applicable to most communities and to ours study. These cultural orientations include individualism-collectivism, time orientation and power distance orientation (Hofstede, 2011). 

2.2 Geert Hofstede Culture Orientation Model

These cultural orientations include individualism-collectivism, Masculinity V Femininity, time orientation and power distance orientation and Uncertainty Avoidance (Hofstede, 2011). 

2.2.1 Individualism-Collectivism

The individual-collectivism dimension of cultural orientation defines how people define themselves and their relationships with other people. This is based on the fact that people live in diverse societies where interests of groups or individuals are dominant. Therefore, societies can either be collectivist or individualist but the pivotal unit remains to be the individual. This is because life decisions that include career and marriage are made by individuals rather than the society. In such an instance, individual identify take precedence over group needs and rights. In this dimension of cultural orientation, personal freedom is paramount in all spheres of life and communication is more direct, personal and explicit (Hofstede, 2011).  Therefore, personal accountability is a critical aspect of societies with individualist cultures. On the other hand, in collectivist societies, an individual is intricately connected to the other members of the wider society thus; self is defined in relation to others. Therefore, the pivotal unit in such organizations is the group and group decisions are valued than individual decisions. Consultations are paramount before decisions are made by individuals and collective values prevail. Privacy and space are less important than relationships and, communications are intuitive and impressionistic and should nurture relationships while maintaining harmony. Importantly, interdependence is critical such that the children involve must involve their parents in making major life decisions.

2.2.2 Masculinity versus Femininity

This refers to how much a society sticks with values based on gender roles. Masculine Cultures focus on assertiveness, competitiveness and focus on a decent way of living e.g. in USA. Feminine Cultures emphasize on nurturing and interdependence. Roles are blurred in this scenario. This is evident in Sweden and Scandinavian Countries. East African region presents a masculine society where decent way of living and gender roles are well balanced.

2.2.3 Power Distance  

Hofsted (2005) explains that power distance implies the extent to which the less powerful members of an institution within the society expect and accept that power has been distributed unequally. It also entails the communication distance between the powerful and the less powerful members of the society and hence focuses on the relationship between the peoples of different statuses (Hofstede, 2011).  A society can thus show a low power distance (egalitarian) or a high power distance (hierarchical) culture. In the low power distance culture, individuals are viewed as equals and there exists emphasis on legitimate power obtained by democratic processes. In such systems, the subordinates and the superiors are interdependent. Upward flow of communication is equal to the downward flow of communication and obedience of adults by children is not as important thus elderly are not feared. Therefore, in a low power distance and individualistic setting, individuals will not simply follow orders but would require explanations.

In high power distance cultures, people are unequal and coercive power is emphasized. In these settings, the subordinates are dependent on the superiors and obedience of parents and those in power is highly valued. Communication restrictions exist and communication is one way; from the top bottom. The qualities of an individual are valued and aging is accepted and respected, thus children respect the elderly as wiser and more experienced.

2.2.4 Time Orientation

Time orientation refers to how cultures view and value time and influences the performance of tasks. Time can be viewed as monochromic or linear to imply that something must be saved, spent or squandered. Time can also be viewed as polychromic to imply that time flows around individuals hence is relaxed and circular. In some cultures, time is monochromic or linear to imply that it is future oriented and anticipated. Therefore, goals are set and the time is strictly scheduled such that it is limited ‘time is money’. Time is divided into precise assignments and tasks that must be performed within stipulated timeframes. A task that is not completed within the stipulated timeframe will be abandoned and the next task will be taken up. However, in other cultures, time is polychromic or circular; in such cultures people make reference to past events and occasions to justify their current and future deeds. A good example is the Aboriginal culture where everything is done in circle and the information passed through generations. In many cultures, time is available to live and thus no rush because it is a limitless resource. In most East African communities, if an individual is performing a given task and time is over, he will proceed to finish it first before moving to the next task.  

2.2.5 Uncertainty Avoidance

This relates to the degree of anxiety society members feel when in uncertain situations. High Uncertainty Avoidance countries tend to avoid ambiguous situations through establishment of rules to minimize risks e.g. in Belgium. Low uncertainty avoidance countries tend to be flexible and risk takers. Individuals are encouraged to discover their own truths e. in USA. East Africa region depict a high uncertainty avoidance region.

2.3 Kluckhonn-Strodtback Culture Orientation Model

This framework identified 6 basic cultural dimensions.

2.3.1 Relationship to the Environment

This refers to the extent the immediate environment has on the society. Middle Eastern Countries view the environment as being superior and controlled by a more superior being. Western Countries on the other hand believe they can control the environment. These differences tend to influence organizational practices especially those operating outside the borders of a country. East African culture believes in control of the environment.

2.3.2 Time Orientation

This refers to how time influences decisions, whether they are based on past, present or future. Asian Countries tend to be focused on the future rather than present. Western countries tend to be more focused on the present (short term orientation). Americans tend to be obsessed with time keeping while Japanese are more flexible in time keeping due to the value they place on relationships rather than contractual agreements. East African people focus on the present moment.

2.3.3 Nature of People

This refers to character of people in terms of being good or evil. This is particularly important in developing long term trust relationships in business dealings. The majority of East African people is non-evil and support moral values.

2.3.4 Activity Orientation

Cultures are different in terms of actions. Some cultures emphasize on accomplishments while others on living in the moment. Others emphasize on restraining one’s desires. This will help identify how people approach work and leisure, make decisions and allocate rewards.

2.3.5 Focus of Responsibility

This is defined by whether the society believes in individual or group responsibility. Those who believe in individual responsibility focus on caring to their needs. In group responsibility, individuals share roles and rewards. In hierarchical relationships, emphasis is on ranking and power. This dimension of culture has implications on job designs, decision making approaches, communication patterns, reward systems and selection practices in the organization influences (Habwe, 2009).  

2.3.6 Conception of Space

Some cultures advocate for openness while others advocate for privacy. This can be evidenced in office layouts e.g. in Norway, people value personal space thereby emphasis is placed on office partitioning. In Asian Countries, the culture advocates for group collaborations. Managers and their subordinate work in the same room without partitions. Other Cultures advocate for both privacy and public. The East African cultures value privacy.

3.3 Survey of Various East African Cultures

East Africa is eastern sub region of the African continent, formerly known as the British East Africa. It is also called the Eastern African and is made up of Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, South Sudan, Rwanda and Burundi, who are also the members of the East African Community (EAC). However, the tem East Africa has been commonly known to refer to Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania and it is in this context that our discussion ensues. The geography of East Africa is scenic having been shaped by plate tectonic forces with the Great Rift Valley and its scenic features of lakes and mountains. The climate is rather equatorial due to the combination of high altitudes and the low coast-lines but it is generally cool and dry influences (Habwe, 2009).  

The people of East Africa are mainly the Bantus and Nilotes (Highland, Plain and Lake Nilotes). The Bantu were among the first groups to arrive in Great Lakes region of East Africa and they are the ones who introduced agriculture to the region. The Nilotic communities later followed and intermarriages took place that gave rise to some smaller communities. The Bantus also intermingled with the coastal Arabs and this led to the emergence of the Swahili culture, a mix of the Bantus and the Islamic influences. By the late 14th and 15th centuries, Great Lakes kingdoms such as the Buganda in Uganda and Karagwe in Tanzania emerged.

3.3.1 The Maasai Culture

The Maasai is a tribe mainly found in the Northern Tanzania and Southern Kenya, a group of people speaking the Maa language (a Nilotic group). The Maasai are a unique group that can be easily noticed from its rich cultural embodiment, ranging from their characteristic bright red robes, spear in their hands and a calm nature. They exhibit norms and values that have been passed from parents to children from generations to date; for instance, for one to become a moran, he had to single handedly kill a lion. They have a unique dressing code for men and women at different age groups; this includes the type and colour of jewellery, style of shaving and the make-up (Jochmann, 2006).

The Maasai have a unique style of music and dance that entails ranting and jumping up and down. In their music, a leader, called oloranyani sings the melody as the others sing polyphonic harmony mad of vocals that provide the rhythm for the song. The Maasai have maintained their traditional semi-nomadic lifestyles despite numerous efforts by governments to encourage them to abandon such lifestyle influences (Habwe, 2009).   They exhibit a patriarchal lifestyle where the elderly make most decisions for the community. They have in place oral laws that govern their behavior and spells out the consequences of defaulting; they thus emphasize on the importance of moral values. They worship a Supreme Being (God) called Enkai, who has a dual nature, a benevolent God and a Vengeful God. They have a central human figure called the Laibon who plays important roles that include divination, healing and prophesying as well as political elevation in modern times. The traditional lifestyle of the Maasai revolves around cattle which denote a man’s wealth in addition to a large number of children.

The Maasai society is built around the age set and a number of roles, duties and responsibilities are given to people according to their age-sets. The practice of ear piercing and stretching is common and hoops are worn in the stretched ears. Likewise, the deciduous canine tooth buds are removed at early childhood to prevent diarrhea and vomiting in children. The Maasai live in communities called manyatta in structures made by women.

Generally, the Maasai culture takes collectivism cultural dimension as the Maasai communities do not only live in communities and in villages called manyatta, but their cultural practices are done with the interest of the community. Individual privacy is not a factor in the Maasai culture to date, the reason for the existence of age-sets that are led by adults through developmental stages into adulthood.  The Maasai is one tribe that has held to its cultural practices despite the influence of modern technology and Westernization. It takes into Hofstede’s polychromic time dimension because the cultural practices are followed to the latter and nothing can be changed. The cultural values of the group are hinged on the worship of a supreme being and the reverence of the Laibon who gives direction to the group regarding social, spiritual and political issues.

3.3.2 The Swahili Culture

All the five countries in the east African region speak Swahili although it is the national language for Tanzania and Kenya. Swahilis speaking also extends beyond East Africa into Democratic republic of Congo and Somalia as well as Mozambique. Swahili denotes a specific group of people and a specific culture. Swahili civilization developed along the East Africa coast from Mogadishu in Somalia to parts of Madagascar. The Swahili people have been found to engage in basic Islamic cultures and traditions. The Swahili culture has a Bantu core that has borrowed from Arab and Islamic influences (Habwe, 2009).  The Swahili have been unique not only in the use of the characteristic language but also in the use of coral stone for construction of buildings ascribed with importance such as the mosques. The individuals engage mainly in small scale farming and fishing as well as trade and the intermingling during trade. The Swahili have unique cuisines that have been adopted from both Indian and Arabic cultures. However, some of their foods have been altered specifically to meet the Islamic religious requirements (Pradines, 2003).

The Swahili uses arts and craft and puts value in such items as furniture and architecture, mainly scribbled in Arabic alphabetic words. The art and craft of the Swahili are largely influenced by Islamic religion such that they do not use images in their arts due to their Muslim heritage. Kanga is one of their unique arts (clothing) for their ladies that is highly valued and is decorated depending on the occasion. The taarab is a typical music genre unique to the Swahili culture and is made of both Arab and Indian melodies and orchestration but with the use of western musical instruments such as the guitar (Spear, 2000). 

The Swahili fits into the polychromic time dimension of Hofstede’s cultural orientation models. The group is made of individuals who not only do not worry about time but have stuck to their cultural practices and life without hurry. Despite being a group that emanated from mixing of Arabic, Indian and Bantu cultures, they have remained unique in their presentations, especially on giving high value to aesthetics that include clothing, art and music. They have held to the Islamic beliefs and their language has thrived through a dynamically changing environment.

3.3.3 The Baganda Culture

The Baganda are an ethnic group that occupies the central part of Uganda with a population of about 3 million individuals. They speak a Bantu language called Luganda, a language among the Niger-Congo family of languages. The group is currently taken up by modern religion of Christianity but they believe in spiritual forces such as the actions of witches that are known to cause diseases and misfortune. The members of the group wear charms to protect them from the evil powers. Like any other human, the Baganda passes through the childhood stages, youth and finally adult stage. Each group specific role, duties and responsibilities and respect for adults is paramount.

The Baganda place much emphasis on individual being sociable and this is observed on the elaborate greeting rituals. Women are expected to kneel down while greeting males and the general length of greetings is longer and frequent. However, with civilization, the lengths of greetings have become shorter in urban areas and women no longer kneel while greeting males in the major towns.

In family, the wife is inferior to the husband and the role of women is to cook. Both the wife and the children kneel before the father to show his authority. A traditional Buganda woman would wear a busuuti, a brightly coloured dress at all festivals and occasions; on the other hand, a man would wear a kanzu, a long white robe for all occasions (Fallers, 1964). Finally, the Baganda are among the best songwriters and artists in Uganda and this originated from the Kabaka’s palace.

The Baganda culture can be best explained using Hofstede’s power distance model, specifically; it is a typical high power distance culture. It is evident from their traditions that men are superior to females in all spheres. In high power distance cultures, coercive power is used and the subordinates are dependent on the superiors. In the Baganda culture, it has been noted that obedience to males is not only for children but also for wives and all females.

3.3.4 Modern East African Culture

The East African communities had specific and unique cultural practices and norms that have been largely changed by globalization. For instance, local cultures such as the Maasai, Swahili or the Baganda cultures placed importance on communalism and family ties. However, the merging culture seems to be driven by Hofstede’s monochromic time dimension where people are so busy to mind other’s businesses. In Major east African towns, especially Nairobi, everybody rushes to arrive early and save time and nobody cares about the other (Mazrui & Mazrui, 1993). The Economic value of the people which was hinged on cooperation is no longer valued. This is an important emerging culture in East African cities. Likewise, extended families are a burden and people have shifted to the care on only the nuclear family.

The native languages of the tribes are fast disappearing at the expense of English and other urban slang. Like in Kenya, the Sheng language is fact coming up to take after the eroding national languages (English and Swahili). This fast leads to the loss of social identity of the individual groups and cultures of East Africa. By adopting the western culture, the Africans are fast losing their unique foundations of morality that were hinged on the diverse cultures. The aesthetic value of the cultural art, music and dressing is disappearing, giving way to the Western culture among the adults and the hip-hop culture among the youth (Mazrui & Mazrui, 1993).

Hofstede’s (2005) power distance model is practicable in the modern East African societies. The political class has developed mechanisms to crease wider gaps between them and the poor electorate. The election cycles are marred with violence and disregard for human dignity and value (implying dilapidated moral generation). Despite pretence by the political class and leaders about caring for human rights, autocratic regimes have emerged with communication channels being one way and dictatorial.

5.1 The Main East African Cultural Norms and Values

The concept of culture places emphasis on the place of value in a culture and the East African context of culture uniquely lies on the values aspect of culture. Culture, being an embodiment of diverse values that are closely related to each other allows us to meaningfully talk about moral, religious, social, political, economic and aesthetic values of culture. Therefore, values embodies in culture can be broadly classified into social, moral, religious, political, economic and aesthetic. Many East African countries were socialized within indigenous contexts with traditional institutions of customary laws, inheritance rights, rituals and land tenure systems firmly embodied in the culture prior to the independence movements. However, due to power relations brought about by modern technology and the industrial culture, these socializations have been devaluated and erased to a larger extent. The indigenous culture encompasses what the people did and believed for generations and is made up of diverse societies such as the Islamic traditions (Mazrui & Mazrui, 1993). Most of the East African countries contains diverse societies which are currently giving way to modernization; for instance, the extended family system that was a characteristic of all social communities are gradually giving way to modern urban style nuclear families. The modern folk dichotomy is leading to a widening gap between the youth and the elders in most rural cultural settings; however, some values still remain unique and inherent of specific groups of people within the region.

5.1.1 Social Values

Social values are the beliefs and practices that are practiced by a society. Each society has its way of dictating practices and beliefs performed routinely or occasionally by its members. Such activities as festivals, dances, sports and dances are peculiar to different societies and are carried out because they are seen as necessary. Some social values are inseparable from religion, political and moral values; for instance, some festivals that are celebrated are found to contain some religious undertones, ending by prayers or sacrifices on specific days. It will be noticed that the social values are backed by customary laws (traditional carnivals deemed necessary for the survival of people) (Mazrui & Mazrui, 1993).

5.1.2 Moral Values

The East African values are embedded in strong moral considerations with a system of beliefs and customs that individuals are obliged to keep to avoid dire consequences. Acts of stealing, adultery and other immoral actions are strongly discouraged and the guilty members of the society are made to face the dire consequences. All the communities have ways of preventing, detecting and punishing culprits (Mazrui & Mazrui, 1993). Most communities have an array of proverbs and sayings that are taught to children at young age about the consequences of immoral actions; such art offers a major source of wisdom that reflects a valuable aspect of the east African heritage. There exist moral codes in all communities that forbid people from harming each other and even to strangers except when such a person is involved in immoral act.

5.1.3 Religious values

The East African societies has most if not all of their activities revolve round religion, implying that religion is not only practices by all communities but the existence of a Supreme Being is not a subject to doubt. The existence of bad and good spirits is universal and thus the moral sense of justice and truth and knowledge of good and evil. Diverse modes of worship, ranging from worship through diviners to direct prayers exists and this practically tend to restrain people from committing offences because of the fear of punishment from the Supreme Being.  

5.1.4 Political Values

The East African society has political institutions headed by respected individuals beginning with the family with a family head, then a village head, clan head then subsequent paramount rulers. This system was largely evident prior to the colonial rule but it is also still evident in some remote communities. The political arrangements have political leaders who are to be respected and thus disrespect to such leaders have dire consequences. In some communities, political leadership is hereditary while in others, such leadership is obtained through conquest and contest. The respect accorded to the political leaders in each political setting largely depend on the social moral and religious values of the society; this implies that the political values of a society is also inextricably linked with the other values.

5.1.5 Aesthetic Values

The East African concept of aesthetics is based on the fundamental traditional belief and system that led to the emergence of art. This is the human enterprise that leads to production of aesthetic objects; objects that are considered admirable. The East African aesthetic value is immensely rich specifically in the immense beauty of the Maasai girls and other maids beautified by the superb embroidery and jewellery. The sense of the aesthetic value of the east Africans are markedly unique to the specific tribes. This shows that the aesthetic value of the society largely influences an artist to produce aesthetic objects that are only acceptable within the society he lives in.

5.1.6 Economic Values

The unique economic value of the East Africans is marked by cooperation. A majority of the communities in East Africa are farmers and fishermen and these activities are mainly conducted in cooperation among many individuals. The type of farming done in communities emanate from communal holding of land (community land) entail collective working in the fields from tilling, planting, weeding, harvesting and even consumption. Labour force is provided mostly by the children and women, thus the larger their number the more economically empires an individual is.  Cooperation is evident also in other field such as during building of houses and helping each other during difficulties such as funerals. Therefore, it is clear that communities in East Africa have built their economic values around cooperation and hard work.

East Africa is a home to many tribes and cultures. However, most of the minor cultures have evolved and adopted modernism as well as the Western culture such that their uniqueness has been compromised due to modernization. However, three main traditional cultures have remained intact albeit minor intuitions of modernity. These are the Maasai culture, the Swahili culture and the Baganda culture, which are discussed herein before a post modern East African culture is described.  


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