compare and contrast namibia culture to united states

Compare and Contrast Namibia culture to United States

            The indigenous Namibians are predominantly Bantus—blacks who speak one of the Bantu languages. The largest group, the Ovambos, form close to half of the country’s population. The Hereros, the next largest Bantu group, are traditionally nomadic, which is unique among Bantus. The non-whites include also three aboriginal peoples.

            The official languages are Afrikaans and English. German also is widely used, as are the various African tongues. Education is based on the principle of separate development; there are three systems—one for whites, one for Coloreds, and one for indigenous peoples. Schooling for whites is compulsory to age 16.  For higher education they go usually to South Africa. Nearly all the whites are literate while only 30 percent of the nonwhites are.

            There has been extensive missionary work by Christian churches (especially the Evangelical Lutheran) among the indigenous peoples. About 90 percent of the population is Christian, the remainder animist. Moreover, the transportation system is largely owned and operated by the government of South Africa. Railways are the most heavily used facility. Roads are generally poor and unpaved. There is an international airport at Windlhoek. Ocean shipping is through Walvis Bay and Luderitz. Furthermore, the government of Namibia is headed by the administrator-general, who is appointed by South-Africa. His post is largely ceremonial. Executive power is held by a cabinet of eight ministers and eight deputy ministers, who are appointed from the national Assembly, the legislature. Members of the cabinet and the national Assembly are appointed by the various political parties from their ranks. The judicial system is headed by a supreme court.

            On the other hand, the United States is one of the countries that have diverse population. No other country in the world has a greater variety of religions, communions, denominations, and sects than the United States. More than 220 religion bodies report membership figures. Nearly all branches of Christianity and almost all Protestant denominations are represented. Nearly half the Jews in the world live in the United States. Religion freedom and separation of church and state are traditional in the United States. Government cannot interfere with religion or show preference for one religion over another.

            In addition, music in United States was strongly influenced by European music, and study in Europe was considered a necessary part of musical training far into the 20th century. America’s most influential contribution to music was jazz, a form originated by blacks and based on African rhythms. The musical, which evolved from burlesque and operetta, was another American innovation.

            The favorable economic position and amount of leisure enjoyed by the people of the United States give them unusual opportunities for recreation. Paid vacations became the rule for most industrial and office workers. Wide ownership of automobiles makes national and state parks, monuments, historic sites, and recreational areas easily accessible to millions of tourists each year. Many American tourists travel abroad.

            The most popular outdoor spectator sports are football and baseball. Horse racing and automobile racing have large followings. Soccer does not have the popularity it enjoys in many other countries, but interest in it is increasing. Indoor spectator sports include basketball and hockey. Participant sports are many and varied. Bowling, golf, tennis, skiing, skating, bicycling, running and jogging, boating, water skiing, and other water sports are very popular.

Diversity in Cultures

           Often times we hear the expression, “That lady is highly cultured.” Why? It is because she speaks English, Spanish, and French; appreciates modern art; and listens to classical music like those of Beethoven, Mozart, and Bach; she attends operas, concerts, and plays; visits the museums; and reads classical books and best sellers. This is the popular view of culture, which refers to a state of refinement, of being well-versed in the arts, philosophy, and languages. To social scientists, this is a limited view of culture. To them every member of a society is cultured.

            Culture is a person’s social heritage or the customary ways in which groups organize their easy of behaving, thinking, and feeling. It is transmitted from one generation to another through language. It represents people with ways of relating to others to heir surroundings. Culture represents the designs or recipes for living, the interrelated network of norms and roles. It encompasses modes thinking, acting, and feeling found in a society and includes everything an individual has acquired as a member of a society. It tells one what to do, what not to do and how to do things. From our culture, we learn to determine what behavior is appropriate and what is inappropriate, what is good and what wrong behavior is, what are allowed and what are prohibited, and even which smells ate pleasant and which are not.

            In addition, culture enables people to adjust to their physical as well as social environment. Culture enables the members of society to develop ways of coping with the exigencies of nature as well as ways of harnessing their environment. People also have to learn to relate themselves with others in order to survive.

            No culture is completely static. Every culture is in constant flux, and the changes represent adjustments to the environment. Culture changes at different rates. The change may occur as a result of discoveries, inventions, and cultural borrowing. In some areas, control of the natural environment has been pursued to a point that the society has become endangered. Natural resources, such as bodies of water, forests, plant and animal life and minerals, have been so exploited that the environment is close to destruction. The acceptance of change depends on the exposure of the members of society to new ideas and ways different from their own and their opportunity to accept ideas and ways through diffusion.

            Furthermore, cultures differ because of the great variety of solutions people of different societies evolve in solving life problems. Cultures vary according to what and how people eat, drink, and provide shelter. Cultures also vary significantly in the degree of their being internally consistent in their patterns of values, belief, and behavior. If the ideals to which people commit themselves are inconsistent with what they believe in and do while behaving as family members, teachers, or other professionals, or when students are inconsistent with what they believe in and do while engaging in economic, political, and other activities, then their culture has more built-in stresses and strains. A relatively well integrated culture is one where there are no outstanding contradictions between people’s belief and their behavior, between one set of beliefs or actions and another, between institutional goals and means within the society. Educational institutions inculcate values such as equality, while political institutions do not. Banks may emphasize thrift, frugality, and savings, while commercial agencies stress buying and consumption.

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