Thursday, July 6, 2017

Mud huts are pretty in every continent except Africa


Tulum, Mexico (Google image)
There is one thing I can't quite get my head around, and it's the constant shaming of African mud houses/huts. When browsing through travel brochures and booklets, it's easy to come across pages with holiday resorts in places like Asia and South America where tiny huts with straw roofs are considered beautiful and exotic.

They have been painfully glamorised in comparison to the shaming of African mud huts, and it rarely crosses people's minds to view these sights, the huts in some Asian countries or South America, as backwards or "less advanced" when comparing them to the Western world. Instead, they are places people dream of visiting -- clear blue water surrounding these magnificent sights.


When the same types of huts are depicted in Africa, on the other hand, it's a different story. They are viewed as backwards, unkempt and less advanced, and I wonder why. Because the way they are structured should be a thing of fascination rather than shame and embarrassment. 
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Made to feel ashamed about my culture and background: 

While I was growing up, images of mud houses in African countries were often used to depict poverty and hunger and were never praised for being "exotic", they were never something
people "ooed" and "awed" about, or places people were in a hurry to visit. Not like the resorts in Thailand and Hawaii, or Mexico, where people flock to so easily.

Google images
 Rather than feeling proud of the amazing functions of mud houses in Africa -- such as keeping out heat during warmer months and retaining heat during colder months - and many other benefits that come with these huts), I was made to be terribly ashamed of them.

I would often find myself arguing with people that there are places in Africa that look just like Europe, almost as if I was telling them that anything other than something that resembled the Western world was not good enough, or was less valuable.

It's just a terrible shame that most Africans are unable to see the beauty in a lot of the sights and monuments their individual countries have to offer, in a desperate attempt to fit into a certain standard that has been set up by the West. Some countries in Africa have even gone as far as tearing down old sights that should have been preserved as a reminder of their history.

I decided, not long ago, that I was tired of feeling ashamed about things I have absolutely no reason to feel ashamed about. Mud huts are beautiful, and the idea behind their existence is brilliant. The same goes for any other cultural gems that Africans have been made to feel ashamed about.

Embrace your culture and everything it contains, and know that it is unique and exists for a reason.