Globalisation as defined by the all-knowing wikipedia is:
Globalization (or globalisation) in its literal sense is the process of transformation of local or regional things or phenomena into global ones. It can also be used to describe a process by which the people of the world are unified into a single society and function together.
I would like to suggest that this process however beneficial is somewhat soul-destroying and robot-making.
Let me elaborate. When I studied international relations and history at university one of my professors taught a theory known to us as McDonalisation. More so than Globalisation is is the McD’s theory that concerns me. It concerns me that apparently any country that has a McDonalds in it has never gone to war with the USA, or after McD’s entered the country there has been no war raging with the USA. This sort of stuff bothers me. I feel like it’s taking our brains away, our sense of self-fulfilment away. I feel like we are losing who we are for a cheese-burger.
My interpretation of globalisation is probably not the broadly accepted or correct one but I think it applies and it is simple. For me globalisation simply means that the world is becoming a smaller place and those with the money and the power have greater potential to influence the world.
Let’s look at at this way; if an American brand makes it huge around the world it is simply another first world corporation making a buck. It might be a small success story of a guy who travelled across the US to make the brand and eventually made it, that might be it, but it is nevertheless more expected for this to happen. If however a person from Timbuktu designs a suit, sells one and within 5 months is all over the internet, TV and radio selling their brand, that is phenomenal. It is unheard of in fact.
It is the fact that this is unheard of that leads me to believe that we are losing ourselves.
Our children and teenagers have no pride in their local (read: South African or wherever you live) icons, designers, musicians, celebrities, politicians or any public figure. In fact, we mock them very often. This is unfortunately not because these public figures are not respectable and doing great things, but because it is more hip and in fashion to support internationally appealing brands. It is more socially acceptable to admire the P.Diddy.Dig.Dog.Daddy.Doo.Dah – or whatever the hell his name is – than to support and admire HHP. It is more fashionable to wear Luis Vitton than it is to wear any local brand such as Craig Native’s designs.
And then to make the circle complete we export our best assets because the local market wont support them. It’s a chicken and egg situation. Our best sports start, musicians, actors, designers, architects, doctors, engineers and any other profession are all leaving because the world is so global that they can.
I am not berating anyone who leaves. I am just saying that it challenges our national identity when we import international acclaim and export our best assets because they can’t cut it in their own country.
My suggestion is simple, we need to make it cool to be local, cool to be South African and cool to want to live in this stunning place.
The way to do that? Import less, produce more locally and export (at a very high price) our fantastic South Africanness. But don’t give it away forever and never see it again while replacing it with some pimping rapper from the USA who believes that Africa is his/her homeland.
Featured image: duke.roul
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