Recently I walked down a Cape Town street in Observatory. While having lunch at a local restaurant I realised that cultural variety is an intricate part of the relaxed vibe that I picked up.
South Africa is known for its diverse cultural background. However, until recently I started to look at the subcultures in our country and wondered what impact these have on our society.
Subcultures are drawn together by music, clothing, body art, sexual orientation, values and principles. A subculture is defined, by the Oxford dictionary, as “a cultural group within a larger culture, often having beliefs or interests at variance with those of the larger culture”.
Do subcultures have an impact on society if they have beliefs or interests that differ from the mainstream cultures? I believe the answer is yes and I believe that society can learn a great deal from them.
Something that jumps into my mind is the tendency to be judgemental. Amongst “normal” society, people tend to be disapproving or judgemental. History shows that people that were pioneers in the forming of subcultures, and other arts I may add, was also the same people being judged in “normal” cultures. In the subcultures however judging other members or people in general is not encouraged. It is easier to create your own sense of self when you know that it will not be judged.
When all the “isms” like race-“ism” and rank-“ism” are stripped away people will have space to be themselves; to create their own identity rather than be forced into a mould that seems “normal”.
Creating your own identity gives you a sense of purpose and self-worth. Our values and principles are usually formed by our upbringing, experiences and faith.
In creating our own identity there are certain questions that we can ask ourselves. What makes me tick? What do I think is my purpose for living? Do I find happiness and satisfaction from what I am currently doing? What am I prepared to die for? What makes me buzz with excitement? It could be difficult to answer those questions. Our lifestyles are so busy that we sometimes forget to think and pay attention to what it feels like.
Finding your own identity leads to fulfilment and adds to the variety of the world we live in.
The more culturally diverse we can become the better.
Variety is in any event the spice of life.