Cultural Syncretism in both Africa and America
The term “cultural syncretism” refers to the different attributes brought together from different cultural diversities to provide either an explanatory meaning or a negative concept in that matter (Levinskaya, 1993). It has been noted with great precision that African descents in America constitute a large percentage of the entire population. African-Americans as they would like to be called penetrated into the United States at a time when slave trade was considered the economic mainstay of the country as a whole. According to an article by the National Park Service (2004), census conducted in 1830 by the Government of the United States indicated that out of the overall 12.8 million people living in the United States, 2.3 were Africans.
In Africa, culture is so diverse that different communities pursue different modes of living. For instance, in the western part of Africa the people participated solely in matters pertaining to religion and so this cultural practice brought about the syncretisation of western religion, that is, Christianity during the slave trade era. The Arabs who were also greatly involved in the trade brought with them Islam and thus converted most slaves into Muslims. The black slaves were sold into America; they continued engaging or rather participating in this way of culture as their counterparts embraced Christianity. It is therefore affirmative to stipulate that religion amongst black slaves who contributed to the difference in legacies of the outcomes in both these regions (Eileen, 1997).
In there specific kind of living, religion in Africa and America has been in one way or another integrated to come up with a solemn mode of religion. For instance, Christianity and Islam have somehow been combined to form a religion whose aspect constitutes elements of both Christianity and Islam. In modern America, religion not only plays a central role in harmonising people but also acts as a platform over which human beings in the society relate to each other as members of a given religion (Christians or Islam) they are expected to act in a manner considered reasonable in the society as a whole.
Sports and supplication ceremonies also formed part and parcel of the African culture or rather the mode of living. Sporting events like wrestling were performed in order to bring members of the society together. As black slaves were sold to America, they continued to engage in activities of the same nature (Eileen, 1997). Had cultural syncretism not occurred in America, there would be no basis for sports like wrestling that has continued to attract a substantial amount of audiences all over the world. Africans enjoyed so much great harvest and as a way of giving thanks to their rain gods, they performed rituals which have continued to be used in rather advanced forms in present America.
Unlike the United States, in Africa, communities were led by hereditary kings who were given the task of ruling the entire tribe or rather community in matters which needed directions. It is, therefore, true to indicate that both Africans and Americans had already been subjected to embrace leaders and their ways of leading. The presence of leaders in communities of both continents is a clear indication that there was a dire need of the members of the society to have a figure upon which the differences could be resolved in case when such matters arose (Price, 1996).
In my opinion, the peaceful and conducive environment upon which America has established its economy and political stability is attributed to the need that was already present in the people since time immemorial. A country with a great diversity in its political as well as social composition is a clear indication of the democracy that prevails within members of the society. This democracy could not have been in existence in modern American culture had there not been any form of cultural syncretism.
A recreation activity like dancing also forms a part of African culture and was considered sacred hence special attention was given to this form of art for the sake of pleasing the gods. Dancing tradition in Africans was a part of their day-to-day life, and dances such as cakewalk and get downs got their way into the modern America. Most remarkably, hip-hop genre in the United States found its roots in African dancing styles. In the American entertainment industry, dancers with special African dancing skills are prioritized by choreographers from all over the world (Eileen, 1997). In my personal view, dancing industry in the United States today could have been outdated and flat were it not for the creativity and passion brought into it by the African slaves.
The last cultural factor that is considered to have contributed to the difference in outcomes is art. Africans had a special way of presenting their arts so that the meanings could easily be indentified and comprehended. This art took the forms of small drums and vessels made out of ceramics as well as iron figures. Immediately after the American civil war, art forms brought about by Americans of African descent started to penetrate into the already established American museums and galleries. It is stipulated that through the end of the 20th century, African American arts played a major role in the modern art culture of the entire United States of America (Price, 1996).
All in all, the cultures of the African slaves that were later made American citizens played a pivotal role in the outcomes that is still being experienced today. Cultural syncretism has proved to be effected by an enormous number of cultural factors hence the positive integration of the American modern culture. In my personal opinion, America is vast and rich in modern culture because it has continued to accept the inclusion of very many cultural factors from Africans without discrimination.