Indegenious Communities in Africa Continue to Seek Recognition and Protection Amid Challenges

Today, indigenous communities all over the world are seeking recognition and protection by authorities. In Africa, to term indigenous could refer to almost every community within the continent as they are natives of the continent. However, modern definitions terms indigenous communities as the marginalized groups who practice different from the general population and stick to customs not common with the majority. Many communities still fall under the indigenous peoples designation. Estimates show that the indigenous communities form more than 5000 different cultures and speak a majority of the estimated 7000 languages spoken on the continent. Most of these communities fall within Africa, a continent with arguably the most diverse cultures in the world. In a society where most African communities are deviating from their own cultures and adopting the western practices, the indigenous people have stayed true to their own heritage and still practice them to date. This has however not been easy as it has been marred with many challenges.

Some of the biggest problems faced by the indigenous communities is their lack of representation of their cultures in the constitutions of different nations. This creates various clashes between them and other individuals who may not share their customs and whatever they practice clashes with whatever these communities practice. A good example is in the case of nomadic pastoralists who may lay claim to certain areas as their ancestral lands where they are free to graze as they wish.

However, in the modern day, some individuals could get documentation showing they’ve acquired such lands and deny these communities the opportunity to graze on the said lands.
Another problem faced by these communities is their marginalization and probable discrimination by the other communities who fall in the majority category. Some of these indigenous communities from Africa are easily discernible from others and this ease of identification has led to many people stereotyping them and even treating less than the rest of the population. This is a major problem as it leads to them further isolating themselves and even gaining resentment towards the other communities.

In the modern day, it is estimated that an indigenous language disappears every two weeks. With such a statistic, these communities are in the constant fear of loss of their identities and cultures.
This problem arises with the lack of recognition or representation of these communities by the authorities. While several governments are taking the initiative to preserve these cultures and
protect them, many of them are still disappearing over time. The United Nations Assembly has designated the 9th day of every August as the day to observe and celebrate these communities. This day acts as an occasion to recognize and raise awareness on these cultures which in turn would help in their preservation and representation.

Also, the year 2019 was specifically designated as the year of the indigenous year. This has urged various parties to identify these communities and properly document them so as to prevent
their languages or cultures from disappearing. Several African countries are also taking measures to ensure that these cultures are incorporated within the system in a way that the majority communities can peacefully coexist with them.