With the advent of social media, marginalized and vulnerable groups all over the world found a major and veritable channel of rediscovering their voices. From dispossessed aboriginals and indigenous peoples, to LGBTQ groups to gender identity groups to racial identity groups to other persons discriminated based in age, physical disability, language, immigration status or religious beliefs, all these persons have found the social media as a formidable tool of fighting back and taking their place in a world that continues to lay claim to equality of all human beings.
One of the groups that is also using the social media for this come back, are the adherents of Traditional African Spirituality. Hitherto demonized and driven under the carpet by the more popular Abrahamic religions like Christianity and Islam, the resurgence of African Spirituality is giving not a few people both concern and excitement. Not a few persons have expressed both with me.
Remnants of the decimated African traditional worshippers, scattered in diverse locations, appear to have discovered themselves on social media and are coalescing to make a bold statement. Younger Africans are increasingly questioning the validity of foreign theology over indigenous worship and it is raising a lot of brows.
While those concerned fear that this resurgence will take root and threaten the market they are already controlling and dominating, those excited are hoping that this new light will chart a new course for the Renaissance of our continent. But one thing that appears certain is that there is a new generation that is not ashamed of expressing their desire to return to their African roots to search for GOD and social media is helping them discover their kind.
Social media has given its users, particularly the marginalized and vulnerable groups in society, the right to be heard and the platform for making themselves heard. It has merged technology with social communication to generate or co-create importance and ensuring that cultural diversity is protected from becoming largely unitary and also help to promote equality and justice to all.
When groups or individuals are pushed to the edge of society and are not afforded active voice or place in community, as it is done to African Traditional Worshippers, it affects society by making it a less equal, a less stable, and a less enjoyable place to live in. By effectively excluding some people from society, we are all deprived of the work, talent, thoughts and culture that they could share with the rest of us. But listening to marginalized voices allows for the single story to develop into the full story. Not only does it decrease social exclusion but allows for constructive ideas for improving organizational processes and functions.
Consequently, more and more people need to start paying attention to what they say about these marginalized groups and begin to address them and their concerns with respect. Critics of these groups need to start avoiding generalizations and stereotyping. They should be willing to accept correction and become intolerant of their intolerance. They should also seek out marginalized voices, hear from them and help educate their own hostile communities. By so doing, our world will not only regain it’s wholesomeness, we would have helped to fulfill God’s desire to see that everything HE created, was good.
Citizen Agba Jalingo.