The Process of Development

Keywords: culture, process, development


This essay, will be speaking about advantages and negatives of culture in the process of development. As it will be showed, culture can both be a catlystic agent just as possible a stumbling block for development process. Whether we like or not, we must recognize that culture takes on an indespensable role in the manner people respond to diferent development guidelines. Thus regarding to Spackman, in what he called "Postmodern appraoch", an economical policy that leads to sustainable development opt to consider a psychological angle also called development with a concentrate on personal needs and progress; secondly, it will consider a spiritual dimension considering that this craze constitutes the deepest root of human existence. Such plan he added provides "legs" rather than "clutches". This plan is also referred to as People Centered Development (PCD) in a nutshell. (Speckman2007:24-25). The purpose of this article however is not to discuss which insurance plan is the best but the advantages and disadvantages of culture on development process and, with regard to this paper, I've decided to starting my discusion on five important elements. They are: Sexism and Patriarchy; the impact of Lobola (dowry) on Development; African knowledge of knoweledge, the understanding of Culture visavis of different deseases mainly HIV and Products and finally, culture and environmnet.

What is culture?

According to the Oxford Dictionary (1999), Culture is thought as "arts and other manifestations of real human itellectual achievement regarded as collectively. the custums organizations and achievemtnet of a specific nation people, or group. "(Oxford Dictionry, 348:1999). For an Africans the topic regarding the impact of culture and development progress is crucial because on one hand, we are wanting to keep our culture of which we are pleased with but on the other side, as a head, we could compelled to guide people toward a lasting development. (Speckman2007:44).

Christianity as a culture: From this is provided above, one may also suggest that culture is not only what our ancestrors left to us which were transmited to us through oral traditional. After our grand parents acquired converteed to Christianity they somehow adopted a fresh culture that we inherit. In other expression, I wsh to claim that Christianity itself and just how we adopt it contitute "culture" which deserve a particular attention while discussing the isue of the impact of Culture and Development. For example, some Zulus will say I don't practice ancestros worship because I am a Religious. To be able words, therefore I don't practie that ethnic practice because I've adopted a different one. Thus this issue: "christianity and Deveopment".

What is development? : Acording Oxford Dictionary, (1999) simply one maysimply say that Development is "a given state of progress or improvement. " (We will dispute that s mant African scholars such as Kalenkole and Mbiti have argued Africans are extremely religius people yet continued to be poor. " (Oxford Dictionary, 1999:392).

What is the connection between Culture and Development?

Historically speaking, Schech and Haggis(2002) claim that the roots of the idea of development in the sense of promoting cultural progress lay in the same set in the nineteeth century as which can be from the origins of the idea of culture. They added, "Indeed culture and development sometimes imply almost a similar thing until discourses of development planning and cultural specificity diverged in the ealry years of today's century. " (Schech and Haggis, 2002:5). Thus in Africa, specifically in South Africa, given the area ocupied by culture, you can claim that if we are projecting for a sustainable development, it is essential to scrutinize both the strenghts and the weaknesses that cuture can result in and, when possible make an effort to challenge critically some of our cultural tactics and feels that appear to be as an obstruction to Development. But at all time, we first have to be conscious that people cannot impliment effective development guidelines while disregarding the existence of culture. Larry Yost nd Hugh Tracy were right in their eighth rule of Community Development Work when arguing the value of involving the local management 'since the best responsability for carrying on development rests with the neighborhood citizen' (Yost and Tracy: 1997;21).

Beside that, either one can be an economist or traditionalist; we all heartily and sincerely endorse the striving for monetary development. In other words, Economic development expresses one of the fundamental hopes and aspiration. In addition, in its record published in 1996, the UNDP (United Nations Development Program), identified individuals development as" the endeconomic progress a means. " (Human being Development Article 1996). (http://hdr. undp. org/en/reports/global/hdr1996/).

Disadvantages of Culture:

Speaking about the drawbacks of culture on development, one may argue that sometime people for their ignorance or insufficient knowledge can refuse even what's indispensable because of their survival on the basis of their ethnical beliefes. Thus, as it's been argued by Spackamn, people need to be empowered as toward decision making. And, in my view, any theologian and any informed person who cares about the Development of Africa should think critically about the impact of "culture. Regarding to Spackman, culture can have positive impact on development just as it could have negative repercussion on development. Thus, this example often plunge us into a issue because on one hand we are wanting to keep our culture which we are pleased with but on the other hands, as leaders, our company is compelled to lead people toward a sustainable development. (Speckman2007:40-44),

Impact of Sexism ad patrirchy on development

As discussed earlier, this paragph will be discussing sexism in Africa and its own impact on development. I am going to demonstrate how sexism and patriarchy have added all along a long time to the oppression of women and, therefore this situation has also lead to the oppression of men and the impoverishing of Africa.

Definition of Sexism: According to Cambridge Dictionary, Sexism is the belief that the people( in this case women) of one love-making are less clever, able skilled, less accepted/respected by God than the members of the other intimacy. Especially that women are less than men are. (Cambridge Dictionary2005:1166).

Mercy Amba Oduyoye argues that Women's status in most societies is far lower than that of men. In her view, this example is due to cultural stereotype given under features and tasks. (Oduyoye, 2007:22). Beside that, even what sort of Bible has been often interpreted has greatly contributed to women oppression.

In most African society, at the death of parents generally in most only male children will inherit rather than a woman. Thus in African society and all over the World, there's a tendency to look at a guy more valuble when compared to a girl. when there is certainly lack of income in the familly, often it isthe female who must interrupt her studies and only the boy. Secondly, though a female is said to be a partner, in most decision making, either within the modern culture or within the familly pretty much, she does not have much to add if not nothing. In other term she is merely there as an auxilliary to her man. Once divorced, a female loses esteem and detects herself despised if she will not quickly remarry. The whole education has been around preparation for marriage, so failing here is a total failing. No girl is destined to remain sole if so she has done something amiss. (Oduyoye, 2007:22). Apart from sexism within the culture, we also discover that even just how Bible has been interpreted will not encourage women's emancipation. To utilize Nyangweso words, 'Relationship is endocentric. That is a widespread experience that cries for reexamination. '(Nyangweso2007:61). From your Hebrew Testament to the New Testament, the position occupied by women is often portayed to be lower compared to that of men. Thus, Oduyoye argues that "gender stratification has distorted the grade of human relations and it continues to deny the parity between people to accept feminine and male as comparative expression to be. " (Nyangweso2007:62).

How then do sexism and patriarchy impact adversely on African's development?

By oppressing women, some men feel that they will monopolize the power and order will be set up. However, a careful observer will agree with me that by oppressing women, men are doubly oppressed. First, men are deprived from the closest source of support. As when female and man have identical usage of education and make their economic decision together, this may boost their overall economy. In the previous decades we observed that in some part of Africa like Senegal, women were not allowed to be present at school and this in my own view was oppressive toward a guy as he has by himself to provide not limited to himself but his partner and children whereas a woman well educated will get access to better job and financial resources. Which will solve not only her financial problem but will have the ability to raise the home income. (Oduyoye, 2007:22). By doing so the person is secured from working doubly. And more interesting, a man will have peace of mind understanding that after his fatality his wife and children will never be mistreated by the others of his family. Women's contribution had not been really respected in terms of Development. That is why pne may ague that sexism constitute a stubling stop as women are believed as passive real estate agents in the process of the development whereas, if they were to be valued, their input should have boosted our Development. I dare to state that taking as mention of our modern time where women and men appear to ocupy the same position and deliver the same service. Thus tooday we've Nurses, Doctors, Enginneer, Political parties Market leaders such as DA in South Africa and so on. In one expression, one may say that African Development will not progress untill all those who are oppressed by sexism and partiacrhy are free. Thus the UNDP's affirmation (Unitied Nations development Program), 'Gender equality and women's empowerment are central to reaching for inclusive, democratic, violence-free and sustainable development in Africa" and for that reason a condition to attaining the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)'. www. undp. org/porvety

The impact of our religious and social values on development.

Land and devolpment: Culture has an enormous effect on land development. Werner Sombart argued that 'any economic system is nothing but a manifestation of the prevailing culture. And, a culture is out there because of a certain spirit. ' (12). Thus in section I wish to discuss some of both positive and negative impacts of Culture on Agriculture and environmnet in general given its role in Development. Talking about African culture and development, it's important to understand that knoweledge as an essential element of technology increases some pertinent questions in Arfrican culture. Its ethnical construction boosts questions like: What value is placed on different kinds of knowledge? (And by whom)Who has access to, or access to exploit knowledge? As a result, individual aren't free to take part in research considering that only a certain group of folks has access to that field. Often, it is available that our Culture imposes some methods that don't encourage development. For istance, in some areas where the tradition is still highly witnessed, we find that we now have some places which can be reserved firmly for ancestors worship as well as some restrictions to cultivate some products. This is often a challenge when the federal government want to develop a such area either in conditions infrustructrure, highways or practice an Agriculture that may benefit many. Often, when the Government insists and go against the will of the citizen of this area, it is available that the project is never successful given that as the ABCD methods expresses a true development project, needs to be initiated by people and with people. (Course notes)

Impact of Lobola on development: Beside the problem of land, another relevant issue in our modern time which comes from culture to be discussed is the problem of Lobola and weding ceremonies. Today, in South Africa and in other places in Africa, the issue of Lobola present a stumblig stop to development for different individuals. Originally, Lobola was designed to express a connection between the two families. According to 1 of my Southern African friends, lobola was 'like" a surprise of appreciation to the best familly. Howerever, as time goes on, this practice has improved its goal and has trend to become business whereas life does not always allow it. Therefore, most couple ends up in debts. Talking about development, this practice does indeed hinder economically the new couple from obtaining other goals such as education of quality of both their children and themselves because they cannot afford it. In the foreseeable future, this situation affect both familly and the country as we can only just produce a service of quality if we've rceived an education of good quality. Furthermore, any carefull observor, will argue with me that the inexpensive situation doe forget about allow to feast for an extended period. Thus to enforce the new few into endless celebrations and ceremonies just in the name of culture is irrespective from what is thought as Ecological Development as Based on the United Nations World Commission on Environment and Development, "development is sustainable if it complies with the needs of the Present without compromising the ability of future decades to meet their own needs. ". Here the point I am aiming to make is that there are many cultural techniques that may seem to be to be fastidious whereas they don't encourage savings. (http://hdr. undp. org/en/reports/global/hdr1996/)

Deseases, Culture and Development: Today, no country on earth is unacquainted of HIV and Helps. Based on the report generated by the UNDP in 2007, South Africa was experiencing the most severe AIDS in the earth. 5. 7 millions of People coping with HIV and almost 1, 000 Assists' fatalities occuring every day. In its efort to deal with this deasease, South African Goverment together with Who (World Health Corporation) spent an incredible number of Rand to be able to support individuals who are infected and damaged by HIV and Assists.

(http://www. avert. org/aidssouthafrica. htm) One of the explanations why this desease continue steadily to multiply extremely beyond major is our behavior due to your cultural beliefs and practices. A number of the practices to consider here are levirate mariage and poligamy. Levirage mariage implies that when the daddy of the house dies, his sibling must replace him. And, often this happen despite the wish of the partner of the desease. As a result, this practice perpuates the spread of HIV in case one of the new couple is already infected. Aside from levirate mariage, polygamy which is accepted in most African Culture like Zulu culture for occasion is another obstacle. Furthermore, beside levirate mariage and Polygamy, just how our traditions conceives and handles deaseses such as HIV and Products and many more such as Swine Flu, Cholera etc often end in disastrous effect. On 30th of November 2006 for case, the SACC adressed its concern in regards to a traditional healer who stated to have healed 500 HIV-positive people who have the utilization of herbs which acording to the invistigation done it was just a way of getting people to attract their attention to traditional medications. ( http://www. mg. co. za/article/2006-11-29-church-council-outraged-over-aidscure-claim) Beside that, some common healer do often suggest method which somewhat than leading to the treatment encourage the get spread around of HIV. This, being because they have another knowledge of the condition. Some assume that by sleeping with a virging female they would get rid of the desease, others claim that the use of Condoms is not relative to our culture. I recall in my own culture that there surely is an odd say "ntawurya umunwa wugaye "meaning "no man can eat the oral cavity shut" implying a man could never have gender and stop the semens from stepping into the female private part. Others should go even further by arguing that condoms are Western's assert used to propagate the desease among Black People in other to exterminate them. As a result, these believes have been the reason for death of several talented and lively young people essential for the introduction of Africa. Thus while motivating our young era to expect the continuity of your Culture, we should be keen to think critically about certain tactics that hinder the introduction of our people. Beside that, each African should endeavour to reduce the price tag on supporting people living with HIV and AIDSas it offers huge repercussion on countrywide economy.

Impact of HIV on Development

South African Authorities spends millions of rand every month to fight the desease and especially in the support of men and women living with HIVand AIDS by providing ERVs and other medications including the syndication of free condoms. These large amount of money which are being used to aid people living whith HIV and Products constitute a huge lost as there should be used to aid many other projects such as Education, technological research, the fight against Women oppression and criminal offenses, and various studies that might help to kep our Environmnent from degradation and many other projects which in return will donate to the Development process. By criticizing the investment in the fight against HIV and Supports, I am not arguing it worthless project. I do believe that People who are infected and damaged by HIV and Assists remain people who are worthy of dignity and support. This being because to begin with, they remain real human like others and, most of them are indispensable for our Development. However, the idea I am endeavoring to make is usually that the support of people living with HIV and Supports is very costy. Therefore, whenever we can we ought to be happy to divorce ourself from any practice that prefer the growing of HIV and Supports this circumstance certain cultural pratices and believs mentioned previously.

Impact of Christianity on Development.

Speaking about the chapel as one aspect that has molded our culture (cfr intro), While talking about Development and Culture, it might look easy to criticize what had been passed on to us by our forefathers. Among the reasons is because; these cultural techniques appear to be too old. Some of them aren't even in practice today. They are just part of our history though we state them to participate our culture. And; often we just refer to them when it suits us as a way to defend our manhood, political argument etc for illustration. However, if we will have to engage critically, I believe we have to speak more in what is apparently a burning issue. Thus in my view, it is vital while talking about culture and development not to leave besides Christianity. This being as discussed before, just how we practice Christianity can constitute a culture. Though it is universally known that Chrisitianity is a faith, I wish to ague that Christian life is itself a culture. Thus, being an can engage critically with his/her culture, we should also be vivid to discus a few of the impacts of Christianity on Development.

Positive impact of Christianity on Development: Among the positive impacts of Christianity for all of us as African is the fact that they have free us from diferent ancestoral techniques which don't encourage development. That is for istance the total dependency on spiritual firms and forgeting that we will be the custodians of the planet earth. Beside that, Christianity will encourage hard working. Thus looking unto Jesus, Paul (He who does not work shouldn't eat). And, today, some churches have kind to preach the prosperity Gospel. This sort of Gospel has the right areas of development in a sense that it can encourage people to know that it is their father's will that they could prosper (verse). A lot of people argue that one of the key reason why Europ is more developed than africa is because we as African put the spiritual realm first and undermine our potential to create. This is often explained by the actual fact that in Europ, during the modern period, Europe develop significantly especially in terms of technology and market.

Negative impact of Christianity on Development

Though you can say that Christianity enclose numberous positive aspects for development, one has also to be aware of the negative influences that Christianity can revert on Development and often because of the way, we interpret the scriptures. Often, cathedral leaders do coach that people have to reside a poor life. We must look on things above. We should not keep our tresearues on the planet here roast and can eat them. Thus, a missinterpretaion of such verses has leaded a few of believers to be happy with their porvety and therefore impede them from seing any need for development. Beside that, another negative facet of Christian teachings is its impassibility visavis to problems with respect to development and politic. Scholars in nowadays came to the conclusion that such attitude reveals ignorance considering that the cathedral operates within the modern culture and whaterver strikes the contemporary society also hits the church (Simangaliso. . . . ). It really is therfore good time that the church starts to engage with not only spiritual issues but also sociable issue.


In Final result, this article has reviewed the impact of Culture on Development. I have demonstrated how some facets of culture such as partiacrchy, sexims and Chrsitainity do impact both positively but most basically negatively on Development improvement. Most extensively; I have discussed how culture in Africa has hindered the development process. I came to the understanding that there is no culture which is widespread and there is no culture which is eternal. Consequently, each cultural practice should be grasped from its historical and socialogical context and applied in contemplation with the existing political, sociable and monetary situation.


  • Ife, J. (2002), Community Development, (2nd release), Pearson, Sydney Australia NIV Bible
  • Nyangweso. , M 2007, FemaleCircumcision, Maryknoll, New York :Orbis
  • Oduyoye, Mercy Amba, 1986. Hearing and Knowing: Theological Reflections on Christianity in Africa, Maryknoll:Orbis. 2001
  • Simangaliso, R, 2005, Theology and Education, the role of the Chapel in education for social transformation: A Methodist contribution, Cecil Renaud Library Pietermaritzburg, South Africa
  • Speckman MT, 2007, A Biblical Eye-sight for Africa's development ?, Cluster Publication
  • http://www. mg. co. za/article/2006-11-29-church-council-outraged-over-aidscure-claim
  • http://www. avert. org/aidssouthafrica. htm
  • www. undp. org/porvety
  • http://hdr. undp. org/en/records/global/hdr1996/
  • Schech, S and Haggis, J. (ed)(2002) Development: A Cultural Studies Audience, Publisher Blackwell
  • Yost, L and Tracy, H(ed). (1997) (school notes)
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