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          “Respecting another’s culture” is a catchphrase that gets thrown around without much thought as to what it really means. The actual experience and process of respecting another’s culture is far more complex than these few words make it seem, and to borrow another catchphrase—it’s easier said than done.

As a frequent traveller to other Regions, I’ve experienced first hand what it means to respect other cultures. There have been times when I felt overwhelmed, and a mental trick that often sustains me in these situations is to simply keep things in perspective.

A perfect example would be the five times I’ve visited the Northern part of Ghana. As part of the culture, some men normally wear the “Batakari” (smock). This style of dress is loaded with symbolism of every shade and connotation, especially in the North, but to me, once I put it on, it was nothing more than clothing.

Despite my attempt to respect other’s culture, I am also unafraid of setting my own limits even as a stranger in a strange land. This same idea guides me in deciding when and where I can demand that my own sensibilities be respected. And is a fundamental facet of my personality. With this ideology, I have been told that I come across as a person who is open minded, and has helped in achieving my aims with little fuss, even as an anomaly in an otherwise foreign land. 

Often, I tell my fellow travellers; when living in or visiting another culture, you should accommodate that culture as much as possible, but you are still entitled to your own set of limitations.

So whenever I travel to different regions with their own centralised culture, I put on clothes and footwear of said culture out of a sense of perspective, as I recognize and understand how small of a thing it is to me, and yet how important it is to those around me.

Respect leads to appreciation and as individuals, the very basis of our character should be built on and must encompass respect. I personally believe that in appreciating the culture of a people it shows an appreciation of ones own sense of self and a confidence in ones own self identity.

Festus Oppong Kwabena Asante (FOKA)

The author Festus Oppong Kwabena Asante (FOKA)

Festus Oppong Kwabena Asante is an avid reader, kopite, journalist and sports writer. He is an art and poetry lover, whose favorite pastime is to watch his beloved REDS conquer all of England, Europe and the World.

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