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Six Elements of a Good Legal System


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Nationalism raged in Africa as an outcome of white rule and colonization of the native African’s land of which Zambia is not an exception. Africans were in pursuit of uniting all of Africa with black solidarity and eventually self- governing rule. Those who sought that were called Pan-Africanists and started their revolt with protests and by reminding Africans with liberating sparks of freedom in slogans and ideas such as “Africa for the Africans”.PanAfricanist believed that Africa had a glorious past and that Africans had deeply influenced Western civilization. All of this talk and liberating actions prided Africans to join in their own movement, but was of course met by struggles and challenges.Therefore, this academic essay aims at discussing the impact of nationalism towards Zambian culture. In order to achieve this, the essay will begin by giving brief explanation on Zambian culture as well as Nationalism and thereafter stretch negative and positive impact of nationalism on this culture.
Zambia’s contemporary culture is a blend of values, norms, material and spiritual traditions of more than 73 ethnically diverse people. It is believed that most of the tribes of Zambia moved into the area in a series of migratory waves a few centuries ago. They grew in numbers and many travelled in search of establishing new kingdoms, farming land and pastures. Culture comes in many forms and shapes that are constantly evolving. One way of thinking about culture is as “an iceberg sticking out of the ocean. At the tip of the iceberg, visible above sea level, are relatively obvious forms of culture, such as music, dance, food, clothing, language, skin color, celebrations and art. These forms are more easily recognized and understood by someone outside the culture. They produce few misunderstandings between people in and outside the culture (Hanley,1999). Right beneath the sea level are less obvious forms of culture, such as religion, history, rituals related to birth and death, social class, concepts of beauty, patterns of superior and subordinate relationships, rites of passage, body language and use of leisure time. These forms may become apparent to the outsider who asks the right questions, listens carefully and pays close attention to non-verbal cues. If misunderstood, negative feelings between people in and outside the culture could result. Even deeper in the ocean are forms of culture that require extensive inquiry and observation for the outsider to understand, such as the meaning of community, concept of space and time, logic, notions of leadership, patterns of decision-making, beliefs about health, help-seeking behavior, notions of individualism versus collectivism, attitudes toward the elderly and approaches to problem-solving. These manifestations of culture are typically learned through modeling, usually at an early age. When the norms are violated, they could seriously harm relationships and cause adverse consequences for the people involved(Hanley,1999).
Arising from the above connotation, Culture can be defined as a set of socially transmitted and learned behavior patterns, beliefs, institutions and all other products of human work and thought that characterize the functioning of a particular population, profession, organization or community or the pattern of human activity and the symbols, which give significance to this activity. It is represented through the art, literature, costumes, customs and traditions of a community. Different cultures exist in different parts of the world. The natural environment greatly affects the lifestyle of the people of that region, thus shaping their culture. The diversity in the cultures around the world is also a result of the mindsets of people inhabiting different regions of the world (Kwame, 1997).
.Culture is a bond that ties the people of a region or community together or the common bond, which brings the people of a community together. The customs and traditions that people of a community follow, the festivals they celebrate, the kind of clothing they wear, food they eat, and most importantly, the cultural values they adhere to, bind them together. A culture not only defines but also determines what we eat and drinks, when to sleep, when to laugh. The cultural values of a community give it an identity of its own. A community gains a character and a personality of its own, because of the culture of its people. Culture is shared by the members of a community as well as learned and passed from the older generations to the newer ones. For an effective transfer of culture from one generation to another, it has to be translated into symbols because language, art and religion serve as the symbolic means of transfer of cultural values between generations (Hofstede,1997). Culture is seen as a system of social control, wherein people shape their standards and behavior. The cultural values form the founding principles of one's life. They influence one's principles and philosophies of life. They influence one's way of living and thus impact social life. The importance of culture lies in the fact that it is a link between people and their value systems. Culture shapes personality. No child can develop human qualities in the absence of cultural environment. Culture prepares man for group life. It is culture that provides opportunities for the development of personality and sets limits on its growth thereby keeping social relationship intact. Culture’s importance is not only for men but also for the group. Culture prepares man for group life. Group life would have been poor, nasty, and short if there had been no cultural regulations. Group solidarity rests on the foundation of culture. Culture also creates new needs and drives, for example, thirst for knowledge and arranges for their satisfaction. It satisfies the moral and religious interests of the members of the group (Stephen, 1996).
During the colonial period, the process of industrialization and urbanization saw ethnically different people brought together by economic interests. This as well as the very definite influence of western standards generated a new culture without conscious effort of politically determined guidelines. The colonial powers introduced efficient system of administration in the country; it gave Zambia a more structured political system and organized government. Westerners also introduced political concepts like constitution and democracy. However, structured political system wasn’t the only thing that the Western powers had introduced to the Zambian society. They also brought in the idea of nationalism (Abraham, 1991).
Nationalism is a belief, creed or political ideology that involves an individual identifying with, or becoming attached to, one's nation. This involves national identity, by contrast with the related construct of patriotism, which involves the social conditioning and personal behaviors that support a state's decisions and actions. Nationalism is also defined as loyalty and devotion to a nation especially a sense of national consciousness exalting one nation above all others and placing primary emphasis on promotion of its culture and interests as opposed to those of other nations or supranational groups. In Zambia, nationalist movements often arose in opposition to colonialism because of Nationalism. However, this is not thorough, Nationalism takes different perspectives such as psychological, sociological as well as political perspective (Abraham,1991).
From a psychological perspective, nationalism (national attachment) is distinct from other types of attachment, for example, attachment to a religion or a romantic partner. The desire for interpersonal attachment, or the need to belong, is one of the most fundamental human motivations. Like any attachment, nationalism can become dysfunctional if excessively applied. From a political or sociological perspective, there are two main perspectives on the origins and basis of nationalism. One is the primordialist perspective that describes nationalism as a reflection of the ancient and perceived evolutionary tendency of humans to organize into distinct groupings based on an affinity of birth. The other is the modernist perspective that describes nationalism as a recent phenomenon that requires the structural conditions of modern society in order to exist (Williams, 1993).
The political development of nationalism and the push for popular sovereignty culminated with the ethnic/national revolutions of Zambia, for instance the struggle for our Independence came as a result of Nationalism. Since that time, nationalism has become one of the most significant political and social forces in history, perhaps most notably as a major influence or postulate of the struggle for independence.()says that both the primordialist and modernist conceptions of nationalism involve an acceptance of three levels of common interest of individuals or groups in national identity(Williams,1993).
The first is that at an inter-group level, humans respond to competition or conflict by organizing into groups to either attack other groups or defend their group from hostile groups. The second is the intragroup level; individuals gain advantage through cooperation with others in securing collective goods that are not accessible through individual effort alone. The third is the individual level, where self-interested concerns over personal fitness by individuals either consciously or subconsciously motivate the creation of group formation as a means of security. Leadership groups' or elites' behavior that involves efforts to advance their own fitness when they are involved in the mobilization of an ethnic or national group is crucial in the development of the culture of that group (Williams,1993).
Nationalism offers dynamic forces, cultural and economic creativity. It results in democratic ideals .It increases loyal of the people towards their government, it provides stability to the state Nationalism checks then influence of imperialism or neocolonialism, people are prepared to sacrifice in order to maintain their independence because if you are not economically independent then you cannot be politically independent. It creates love for the country, when people begin to love their country, it will be progressive because people will sacrifice and work extremely hard to develop their country. Nationalism preserves national culture. It creates the feeling of pride among the citizens. Nationalism creates the spirit of national rivalry, every nation tries to prosper and be better than others. Nationalism encourages art and culture
Nationalism encourages the spirit of patriotism in the mind of the people and helps them to become independent, through nationalism social unity is achieved. It leads to economic prosperity. Nationalism also enables the country to face economic and political crisis effectively. It leads to political unity and stability, people give up their selfish interest and work for national interest Nationalism breeds legitimate pride and self-respect in the country, it creates a healthy spirit of competition among the nations of the world (Henry,1987).
It recognizes the birth-right of every set of people living in a certain country to have an independent existence. As Burn puts it, "There is some special quality in every group which must be preserved in the interests of whole humanity. This quality can only be preserved if each group of people has an opportunity for characteristic development of its own laws and institutions". Not only each nation gains in its individuality, but also humanity as a whole adds to collective wealth. It has offered an opportunity to every set of people to contribute their distinctive share to the world civilization and literature. It has created a healthy spirit of national rivalry and as such it has resulted in growth of culture and better standard of living. Nations advance politically by contact, competition and an antagonism. Just as destruction of individuality may destroy genius, so the attempt to make all groups of men exactly alike under the control of a common govern­ment, will destroy their special character (Henry, 1987).
The states that are unified by national sentiment are always stable and their laws are always better obeyed than states that are only held together by subjection to a common authority. Moreover, it is only in national states, that the democracy can function properly and people willingly submit to the will of the majority. In the words of Burgess, "the national state solves the problem of the relation of sovereignty to liberty, so that while it is the most powerful political organization that the world has ever produced, it is still the freest”. The spirit of nationalism inculcated a desire among the subject people to free themselves from the domination of the foreign rule. It was only under the influence of this spirit that India and other Afro-Asian countries liberated themselves from the exploitation of Foreign imperi¬alism (Abraham, 1991).
Nationalism played a progressive role in its early stages but in the imperialist stage of capitalism it has assumed a very ugly role. The industrial powers of the world have changed nationalism into an unholy doctrine of hatred and lust for power. It has often degenerated into jingoism. Nationalism contains within itself the possible source of its own destruction unless carefully guarded against exaggeration. It be­comes exclusive. Extreme nationalism breeds hatred for the nations and is responsible for World Wars (Fersh, 1987).
The economic effects that the colonialism had on Africa were very crucial in shaping the Zambian culture to dat. When the colonialists came to African colonies, they brought their industrial technology with them. They developed profitable industries which paved the way for industrialization of many of the African countries throughout the continent. Many of the African markets in the current day are based on the industrial markets of the imperialism era. This might seem like a positive impact, but the imperialist took advantage of these colonies by exporting raw materials as cheap as possible and selling is with high price (Fersh,1987).
Nationalism was a great idea for Africa because it seemed like it was a step in the right direction. What this means is that they were looking to better the economy and the social aspect of society by having everybody follow the same idea because they were all kinds of different people. These people had different backgrounds, and different religious views, which meant they all had different beliefs. But bringing them together to follow the idea of nationalism would make the society better as a whole. Because of nationalism, the Zambian nation has gained worldwide respect for its ability to bring together the different people of its land with their different cultures, under one political culture of the “One Zambia, One Nation’. Fighting to gain independence was one thing and bringing together 72 tribal groupings together in unity was another thing. This could only be achieved through the existence of a common political consciousness that procreates the tendency of distinct identity of the people (Abraham, 1991).
In conclusion, Nationalism particularly for Zambia has played a very constructive part in unifying the people. The movement for self-rule brought with it the system of democracy. Nationalism developed concomitantly-‘fraternity’, no less than ‘liberty’ and ‘equality, was an integral part of the liberal platform and the principle of the ‘self-determination of the peoples’ was no more than a logical extension of the liberal doctrine of popular sovereignty. The triumph of nationalism has signified astonishing progress of the Zambian people. After having existed in different separate political entities, of the kinship, under the ruler ship of kings and chiefs, the people could make astonishing progress in various directions, for example social and economic development. Again nationalism has particularly proved to be a blessing in creating a powerful political consciousness as a result of which the oppressed people of Zambia were able to raise and overthrow the imperialistic alien nations. It is for this reason that pan Africans said that, the emancipation of the peoples of Africa of political subjugation and economic exploitation could not occur without the rise of nationalism. Nationalism has given a very sharp edge to the principle of national self-determination.

Abraham K.(1991),Politics of Black Nationalism from Harlem to Soweto. Trenton, Africa World Press Inc.
Fersh S.(1987),Learning about people’s cultures.Evanston,McDougal Littell and Company.
Hanley J.(1999).Beyond The Tip Of The Iceberg.Five states towards cultural competence:Reaching todays Youth;winter
Henry O.(1987),Church and Politics in East Africa.Nairobi:Uzima press limited.
Hofstede G.(1997).Culture and organization.New York:McGraw-Hill.
Jesse N.K and Anne N.W (1992).Moral and E thical Issues in African Christianity.Nairobi:Initiative Publishers.
Kwame G.(1997),Tradition and modernity:philosophical reflections on the African experience.(New York Oxford University press,1997) vii-xii
Stephen E.(1996).Nationalism,Ethnicity and Democracy.London and Heinemann:people, policies and institution.
Williams T(1993).Government and Politics in Africa.Indianopolis:Indiana University Press.

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