Tuesday, 16 December 2008
BY Suntou Touray
In a recent posting at the Gambia L, I made a comment that, in the near future, a piece concerning our individual respective tribal competences will be written. The remark seems to raise eyebrows simply it will discuss aspects of our cultures or tribes that no one has attempted before. The writers who felt it unnecessary for me to embark on such a mission did that with deep care and concern. The vital point to note here for all is that, The key word is 'TRIBAL COMPETENCES'. This doesn't mean, what one tribe is competent at another is incompetent with.
Student of management can surely remember reading about the differences in management styles across ranges of racial or national boundaries. The Japanese for instance are known to be very loyal and committed to one job and one firm, whilst the American managers are quick to sack or fire their staff. The British are known to be very pompous managers whilst the Germans believe in Hard work and proven track records.
Some companies go across tribal lines to hire a person with different competence in turning over a failing company, Honda is a good example. A Japanese manager was replaced with an Irish-American if my memory serve me right. This is all due to different cultural and management styles. Sadly, Blacks and women managers are portrayed in a negative light due their management styles. Blacks and women they say tend to be 'too bossy' and 'power hungry' managers.
How did the the social scientist came to that conclusion? This is through studying different companies with particular types of managers. Yet we in the twenty first century fear what 'the minds' of others conceive.
I am well aware of prejudice and bigotry and seriously as a Muslim, that is the last thing that comes to my mind.
The 'social construct' of each individual is different. Even two Mandingos from different region in one country will have different social construct. A Baddibunka mandingo for instance may culturally value money differently to a Kobomka mandingo. Similarly a Senegalise Wolof may see marriage differently to a Gambian Wolof. Is writing or talking about this peculiarities sensitive? Yes, because our society is very rigid and sensitive. In India for example, they give jobs according to cast system. This is to avoid alienating the lower cast members. In Britain, the equal opportunity acts makes it possible for companies to employ people regardless of their race or colour. The interesting thing is, we have to start breaking certain moles respectfully and with care.
There is nothing call the TRUTH. Your truth is not my truth,. Even God gave us the opportunity to either worship or him not to worship him. Yet, we are told that our creation into tribes and races is not for us to ridicule each other but for us to be amaze by the power of God's creative abilities.
The dilemma in a tribal society is so great that anthropological exercise is made very difficult. This is why i only concentrate writing about Mandingo subjects. Surely no one will accuse me of being an anti-Mandingo. The fear is that some will start seeing me only in a Mandingocentrict dimension. Should that deter me from enjoying my hubby which is reproduce what i learn as a child? hell no.
Being connected to both FULBE and Mandingo, i can equally write about certain interesting fula custom, but that may land me into unpredictable waters. People relate and disconnect from people base on petty comments. It is hopeful that our world view broaden and become less sensitive to educational endeavours. I will put together what i know to be our tribal competences, i shall not mention a single tribe, it is up to people to guess what best describe their perception and feelings. I may got it all wrong, yet my conscience is clear. We are what we are due to many transformation and experiences, some positive other negative. I wish to comment about unifying paradigms. The axioms of successes and progress in a multi-tribal society. Feel me!