Community is the pattern for all of life in Africa.

Africans for centuries past have learned many things from nature and from the God of nature. Being people of reason and understanding, they came to know that there is a great Supreme Being who made all things. In every African language there is a name for God. And, deep within their consciousness was the knowledge of God, planted there by the Almighty himself. “For the truth about God is known to them instinctively; God has put this knowledge in their hearts. Since earliest times men have seen the earth and sky and all God made, and have known of his existence and great eternal power” (Rom. 1:19–20, LB).

But not only have Africans, like all peoples, learned of the invisible God from nature. From this great teacher they have gained other very valuable knowledge. In their battle with the forces of nature and the wild beasts of the forests, Africans learned the power of community.

Community is the way of life for Africans in general. It is founded on man’s need for each other and embodies a kindly awareness of others. This personal interest in others comes into sharp contrast with the Western principle of individualism. To an African unaccustomed to sophisticated city life, it is inconceivable that in some places a man can be stabbed to death on the street, and people hurry by as if they had not seen it—or that men and women can live together in apartment houses for years and never get to know each other. Such aloofness is completely foreign to the African nature and culture. Most Africans consider it a discourtesy, to say the least, to ignore the presence of other human beings, for people are important to Africans.

Community Conceived And Exemplified

Community is conceived by ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Have something to add about this? See something we missed? Share your feedback here.

Our digital archives are a work in progress. Let us know if corrections need to be made.