“Petrification” – excessive strong adherence to tradition……..being unAfrican

Fanon on Petrification

Douglas Ficek (in Living Fanon, p. 76), writing on Fanon and petrification, reminds one that, by “petrification”, Fanon meant an excessively strong adherence to tradition in the face of the coloniser’s culture, which brings about a kind of paralysis or “immobility” of the culture of the colonised, more especially so in rural areas. This socio-cultural “petrification” expresses itself as a commitment “to the old ways, to the superstitions and rituals that, however fantastic, offer outlets for their profound anger … they effectively distract themselves from the hard realities of colonialism and this ultimately benefits the colonisers, the architects of petrification”. (Ficek, p. 76)

The last sentence is odd but the meaning stays. POSTNOTE : I keep thinking of the last sentence “ultimately benefits the colonisers” in the present and as applied to Nigeria it benefits the neo-colonialists – it benefits patriarchy, in short those in power at whatever period in time – I think!

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