The recent concluded Nigeria and South Africa Cultural festival in Pretoria organized by Nigeria and South African Cultural Foundation owned by Prince Abayomi Johnson Odeniran and Thokozile J. Hlongwane 3 days Art and Cultural Carnival was success.

The cultural group from the different part of South Africa and Nigeria performed on stage at Community Town Hall 120 Karenpark Akasia Pretoria.

The organizers said that the purpose of this event is to bring the two nations together on one stage to showcase their talent and culture

The value of a thing, be it an object or a belief, is normally defined as its worth. Just as an object is seen to be of a high value that is treasured, our beliefs about what is right or wrong that are worth being held are equally treasured. A value can be seen as some point of view or conviction which we can live with, live by and can even die for. This is why it seems that values actually permeate every aspect of human life.

For instance, we can rightly speak of religious, political, social, aesthetic, moral, cultural and even personal values. We have observed elsewhere that there are many types and classifications of values. As people differ in their conception of reality, then the values of one individual may be different from those of another. Life seems to force people to make choices, or to rate things as better or worse as well as formulate some scale or standard of values. Depending on the way we perceive things we can praise and blame, declare actions right or wrong or even declare the scene or objects before us as either beautiful or ugly.

Each person, as we could see, has some sense of values and there is no society without some value system (Idang 2007: 4).

Whether we are aware of it or not, the society we live in has ways of daily forcing its values on us about what is good, right and acceptable. We go on in our daily lives trying to conform to acceptable ways of behavior and conduct. Persons who do not conform to their immediate society’s values are somehow called to order by the members of that society. If a man, for instance, did not think it wise to make honesty a personal value, and it is widely held by his immediate society that truth-telling is a non-negotiable virtue, it would not be long before such an individual gets into trouble with other members of his society. This shows that values occupy a central place in a people’s culture.

It forms the major bulwark that sustains a people’s culture, making it more down-to-earth and real. Elsewhere, we have seen African culture as “all the material and spiritual values of the African people in the course of history and characterizing the historical stage attained by Africa in her developments” (Idang 2009: 142). This simply means that there is a peculiar way of life, approach to issues, values and worldviews that are typically African.

Based on cultural considerations, some forms of behavior, actions, and conduct are approved while others are widely disapproved of. To show the extent of disapproval that followed the violation of values that should otherwise be held sacred, the penalty was sometimes very shameful, sometimes extreme. African culture, with particular reference to the Ibibio people in Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria, for instance, has zero tolerance for theft. The thief once caught in the act or convicted, would be stripped naked, his or her body rubbed with charcoal from head to toe and the object he or she stole would be given to him or her to carry around the village in broad daylight.


The sense of personal shame and the disgrace the thief has brought on himself or herself, family, relations and friends would be enough to discourage even the most daring thief. Antia (2005: 17) writes that “what a people hold to be true, right or proper with regard to those things explains much of the cultural traits by which they become identified”. What Antia calls “traits” here can as well be called values; and Etuk (2002: 22) writes that “no group of people can survive without a set of values which holds them together and guarantees their continued existence”.
The concern with values, whether moral or aesthetic, occupies a very wide area in the discipline of philosophy. To show the fundamental importance of values, it is regarded as a core area in philosophy, together with knowledge and reality. When we are dealing with actions that a people see as good or bad, right or wrong, praiseworthy or blame-worthy, we are dealing with the aspect of value theory that rightly falls under ethics or moral philosophy. But when we are dealing with an appraisal of beauty in the arts and crafts of a people, we are dealing with the aspect of value theory called aesthetics.

It does appear that while material culture can be studied and evaluated under the aesthetic aspect of value theory, non-material culture can equally be studied and evaluated under the ethical aspect of value theory. Just as ethics and aesthetics are twin sisters that form or constitute value theory, the non-material and material dimensions of a culture together constitute two related aspects that give a people their unique identity, hence the relationship that exists between ethics and aesthetics. Having seen the centrality of values to African culture and any culture for that matter, it can be stated that the values of the culture are what give it uniqueness and identity. Let us now look at African culture and values.


Having looked at the concept and meaning of culture and having established the place of values in a culture, we want to bring this down to the African context. A culture is an embodiment of different values with all of them closely related to each other. That is why one can meaningfully talk about social, moral, religious, political, aesthetic and even economic values of a culture. Let us now look at these values piece-meal, as this would give us an understanding how they manifest in an African culture and the importance being attached to them.

Social values can simply be seen as those beliefs and practices that are practiced by any particular society. The society has a way of dictating the beliefs and practices that are performed either routinely by its members or performed whenever the occasion demands. Hence, we have festivals, games, sports and dances that are peculiar to different societies. These activities are carried out by the society because they are seen to be necessary. Some social values, especially in African society, cannot exactly be separated from religious, moral, political values and so on. This is why we can see that in a traditional African society like in Ibibio land (Nigeria), festivals which were celebrated often had religious undertones – they ended with sacrifices that were offered to certain deities on special days in order to attract their goodwill on the members of the society.

Social values are backed by customary laws. They comprise of those traditional carnivals that a people see as necessary for their meaningful survival. Let us illustrate with an example: the new yam festival as practiced in Ibibio land has a way of encouraging hard work and checking famine. It was a thing of shame for any man to buy yams for his family within the first two to three weeks after the festival. Doing so would expose a man as being too lazy. These festivals really discipline the society because nobody is to do anything when it is not time. For instance, new yam could not be eaten until the new yam festival has been celebrated.


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Joshua Olusan
Joshua Olusan 172 posts

Publisher, Author and founder of The African portal, studies journalism at university of Pennsylvania, writer's , motivational speaker, human rights activist, TV presenter, programme Director, Photographer & Graphic Designer.

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