Whenever our enemies have attacked Afrikan systems throughout history, it is the notions of unity, harmony, and reciprocity that they are actually attacking. But it is important to remember that Afrikan societies were not static utopias; they were living organisms subject to the laws of Nature. One of the first lessons learned is that people, and society, must be proactive, and make an effort to support the inherent order and harmony in Nature/Creation. So that even though Afrikan proverbs, the structure of society, communalism, and customs, the elders designed to lessen a person's over-evaluation of self or individualism, it lessened its development but did not eliminate it altogether. Hence, society had extra safeguards, such as secret societies or societies of secrets as Molefi Asante calls them, and new years celebrations that assisted in keeping these types of persons, who would be classified as "witches" (using a Western concept) in check. Again we are referring to people who have developed a greater sense of self-importance than communal society felt tolerant of.
As I showed in my blog on the nkang'a, an almost universal rite of many Bantu cultures, a central goal of the ritual was the sacrificing of the self-centered "person" (the child), to give birth to the communal person (the adult woman in this case). Afrikan initiation systems in general produce a communal-minded person, one who identified with an ancestral tradition, and ultimately with the Supreme Being. Discarded is the self- centered person associated with the world of animality and childhood. Therefore the "individualism," which Western culture so highly regards, Afrikan cultures equate to undisciplined adolescence. This brings us to our present problem: we live in a world that champions individualism, lacks rites of passages, stresses materialism. self-advancement, and glorifies the human ego. It is no wonder that people who develop from this system are unable to work with other people nurtured in the same system. Western culture produces egotists. Their idea of the human being is characterized by an individual who has an excessive sense of self-worth. For white people it results in white privilege, and for Black folks it results in the head-nigger-in-charge mentality, which only masks an inferiority complex among other complexes. If the West produces selfish and undisciplined individuals, and the pool from which its leadership arises, then why would we assume that Westernized Afrikans would act any differently?
But apart from the typical Afrikan person nurtured in white supremacy, even those persons who develop "positive" self-esteem and self-worth, us Afrikan centered people in particular, we will still suffer from egocentrism. Our Western education and the lack of an initiation and support systems, as well as a worldview that would produce a communal person has certainly overdeveloped our sense of self-worth--our egos. And as long as our potential leaders are egocentric, how can we expect them to unify, unless it is some flimsy so-called operational unity.