Más Allá del Tabú del Tribalismo

Unos días antes de Pascuas la gente de Ghana, un país altamente cristiano, se vió conmocionado por la violencia entre los miembros de Dagomba, una tribu islámica. Los miembros de una familia muy esparcida entre los Dagomba organizaron el asesinato del jefe de la tribu. Ese asesinato hizo que el gobierno de Ghana declarara la emergencia nacional y desató un gran clamor acerca de la maldición del tribalismo.

África ha sufrido durante mucho tiempo por la creencia de que los lazos tribales apasionados son ineficientes, irresponsables e inhumanos. Desde que colonizaron África, los europeos han censurado el tribalismo, al mismo tiempo que han enfrentado a una tribu contra otra cuando esto conviene a sus propósitos. Cuando definieron las fronteras internas de África, los imperialistas ignoraron las diferencias tribales, dejando algunos países densamente poblados, como Nigeria, sin una tribu dominante, o dividiendo tribus famosas por su cohesión, como la tribu Ewe, entre dos países (Ghana y Togo).

Al ignorar las afinidades tribales, los europeos esperaban crear un África cuya lealtad estuviese primero con la nación y con la tribu después (o sin lealtad alguna para la tribu). Los líderes independentistas de África, durante finales de la década de 1950 e inicios de la de 1960, se oponían en esencia al poder tribal. Buscaron limitar la autoridad de los jefes tribales y usar su poder sobre las escuelas, la tierra y el trabajo para debilitar, si no erradicar por completo, la conciencia tribal.

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