There are so many theories and definitions that have come up regarding culture, as you are reading this article, I believe you too have images of probably what will be in this article, well, I will define culture in 3 different contexts from which we shall draw examples that are commonly used.
Culture refers to the cumulative deposit of knowledge, experience, beliefs, values, attitudes, meanings, hierarchies, religion, notions of time, roles, spatial relations, concepts of the universe, and material objects and possessions acquired by a group of people in the course of generations through individual and group striving. These vary from geographical locations, schools, professions, beliefs, religions the list is endless.
For example; in one famous school in the western, the boys in that school believe they are not meant to rush “Omu Slecker Tapapa” literally translated “the Boys that go through St. Leo’s Kyegobe are not meant to rush”, huh. This grooms the boy’s attitude to look at life differently, wherever you will meet any of the old boys of the school, they will look that attitude. That is what they are; even with food, the will not line up until everyone else has served, then they will join the line. Isn’t that cool?!!
We are who were are because of the schools we have gone to or the communities we have stayed, our families and the people around. I always tell my friends that it’s so much easy to tell a lady that has been to a single sex school, these girls completely stand out. I am not advertising any school, but that is my research finding, unless you prove me wrong. The same applies for gentlemen/ boys who have gone through the seminary, you can’t fail to tell the difference, because that is what the environment in which they live in those various institutions, this plays a very big role in our daily life to the people we meet and interact with, the places we work, and places of worship we go to. Hence my cry to you stakeholders is to ensure all students adhere to them, with a very strong disciplinary committee for both students and staff.
Even for work places, all companies, schools, professions, have the code of conduct and values, this guides them to have a common ground of looking at issues at hand. An example will be the “Learned” or our lawyers, this group believes they are the only “learned fellows”, you will never find an unkempt lawyer, never.
2. Culture is symbolic communication. In this we are looking at the various attributes to the different tribes, religions, professions. Like most Ugandans will believe that certain jobs are meant for certain tribes, I will not specify, but people believe this. Its culture. You may roam all schools in Uganda looking for a gateman called “Kasibante” and never find one, this is not so true, everyone can do something given chance and proper guidance, whereas cows maybe looked at as a source of delicacy (Ghee, Yoghurt, Milk and Beef) some cultures communicate power by the numbers of cows in your kraal, even a man with no cows will not take a hand of anyone’s daughter, because you are not man enough, but I believe once you are born male, you are man enough, I don’t intend to oppose the culture, but I would put it that way.
Knowledge & attitudes, when you are assertive and aggressive,) people will just know you hail from the beautiful hill of Kabale, (you guessed right), soft spoken people will definitely be Batooro, tall, dark and handsome will be my norther brothers, however when it comes to attitudes, some cultures would not want to listen to an uncircumcised person talk, that is what they believe, you are not yet mature and brave enough to sit on the table of men, though I would think we should not dwell much on these however much they play a very important role in making us who we are, since some cultures have been only attributed to only negatives, yet actually it’s on the contrary.
The best would be appreciating the beauty of diversity, Different cultures have different ways of communication, like in language, dress code, and way of life, among others.
Values and motives. The meanings of the symbols are learned and deliberately perpetuated in a society through its institutions.
As I wind up with my 3rd and last definition of Culture, where I believe most of us are likely to fall; the mighty COPY CAT culture. When it comes to this – most of us score highly, copycat culture is a person who imitates another’s behavior, like dress, speech, etc which today we get from the various medias available for us like television, movies, video games, and other narrative media - copying someone else’s ideas is nothing new. We have hard musicians fight over copy rights, writers, advertisers among others, it’s not new. But we need to take caution, not everything out there is good for consumption, neither is it good to adopt too, why shouldn’t it be you to influence them, why you to change for them.
I remember the time I had change to stay in Europe, France specifically, my host told me, “You should appreciate the African culture, we (Europe) have so many things we believe but copy what is right, and ignore the rest”, so i wouldn’t want to differ from her, let us appreciate culture, our culture is our heritage.