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Anthropology; the future of humanity

By Anne Achieng | October 5th 2016

As far as my memory can go, I remember when I was a little girl just joining form one,  I took 11 subjects including History, a more specific continuation of Social Studies which is taught in primary schools. In the introduction, Anthropology was mentioned as the study of human beings; nothing more, there was also some vague description of archaeology and some stuff of the sort. I forgot about the page and all pertaining Anthropology as soon as I closed the textbook page and completed my end of term exams.

During my four years of study in high school, the only careers that were mind boggling were professions such as Medicine and Surgery, Teaching, Journalism and some other common stuff. This was so because of the misconception of direct employment especially by government agencies.  The unfortunate truth is that the direct opposite is the reality; not even all journalists are employed. What were we looking for? Employment.  I grew up with the mindset of taking fewer risks, playing safe, with a clouded mind in a tiny little box of thought.

Against my will, I took Anthropology as an undergraduate degree. That is when I realized that there is quite a big gap in the society. It is when I developed a third eye from which I understand situations from different perspectives.  Anthropology equips one with the ability to understand humanity, human behavior and perhaps misbehavior that is when I knew there is a whole new world to explore right behind people's faces.

My fellow Kenyans, never say Anthropology is the study of insects before someone lest your ancestors wake up and give you a hot slap. It is crucial that more students get involved in this area of study because that is when we'll grow as Africans. How do you expect Africa to grow when western knowledge is imposed on us? Africa has a rich, I mean rich cultures, we have fertile soil, young brains, intelligent children what we really miss is Africans who can develop Africa.

Through Anthropology, I have been able to appreciate our indigenous knowledge, African languages, African games and African food. I am here to encourage Africans to be Africans. Anthropology is a very wide discipline that accounts for all dimensions of man. For example, Kenya is now pushing for the two thirds gender rule, how are different cultures embracing it? Will it just be a law on paper which people have no interest in? Looking at gender and land tenure processes, are women allowed to inherit land or there are cultural hindrances? Looking at climate change and global warming, how do different cultural practices affect such events? As people are removed from forests for logging at water towers, what is the fate of communities such as the Ogieks who have a symbiotic relationship with the forest? How effective are the anti-FGM campaigns? How effective is the law on communities that practice female circumcision? Do they even know there is a law in place?

So whatever thing that involved human beings involved anthropology. This is the future.


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