International Journal of

Arts , Humanities & Social Science

ISSN 2693-2547 (Print) , ISSN 2693-2555 (Online)
From Cultural Differences in Africa to Cultural Divides: The Search for an African Ethics of Managing Cultural Diversity



Contemporary African states are faced with the task of governing the many separate ethnic groups within their borders. This ethnic diversity has for the most part been transformed into divides, polarizing African states into the ‘we’ and the ‘they,’ our side and their side, the insiders and the outsiders. These divides have occasioned a litany of violent and callous intrastate conflicts in most African states, resulting to millions of deaths, millions displaced, millions maimed, and to an endless awful suffering on the civilian populations. This paper diagnoses how and why cultural differences are transformed into cultural divides and attempts a search for an African ethics that can be used to foster trust and the virtues that a cultural diversity society requires. I argue in this paper that the virtues of cultural diversity must be built on deeply rooted African traditions if they are to guarantee sustainable peace. The deeply rooted African traditions in an African eco-bio-communitarian ethics can provide an avenue for fostering the management of cultural diversity in African states. I am offering an empirical analysis of the eco-bio-communitarian ethics within the Nso’ outlook, in the North West Region of Cameroon to show the virtues required to foster the management of diversity and forestall cultural divides entrenched in African states. I use Cameroon to exemplify cultural divides in Africa because Cameroon is often defined as African in miniature. I argue that an imported approach to the management of diversity in Africa could be too tight or loose like the Biblical Saul’s armour on David that did not fit on David properly. Hence, deeply rooted traditions in an African eco-bio-communitarian ethics can provide an avenue for fostering a political atmosphere within which cultural diversity can flourish.