An African musician attended a world music festival in Copenhagen. I had just purchased a new CD with a very popular singer from his country. One song was partly in English and I could not get it out of my head, I kept singing it which felt funny because I did not understand the meaning. The song was about a man, I had no idea who he was, and as this was pre Google, I took the opportunity to ask.
It turned out that he was a religious leader, the follower of whom the musician was himself and he was very pleased to tell me about his way of faith. This was my first introduction to the Mourides, a West African mystic Muslim movement.
A few days later a Danish woman came up to me. Her African husband had something to tell me, I did not know them. He gave me this wise look, that I often recognise in the faces of ten year old boys in Luxor who seem to think of foreigners as ignorant and helpless. His advice to me was:
”If you want to impress an African man – ask him about his religion, and he is yours!”
I had no problem attracting men and I already had what I needed, but I wondered why he would say this. The musician from the other evening had asked about this local woman who had cared so much about his religion. All I had wanted was to have some lyrics explained and he was already out of town.
”I'd wish my wife was more like you,” the man said, ”I try to educate her, but she never asks about my culture.”
I hoped that he, living in Denmark and married to a Danish woman would be just as interested in our culture...
I can still hear his answer:
”You don't have any!”
Since then I have been very conscious, that in the meeting with other cultures – I represent my own.
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Discuss the problems that can occur in relationships with differing cultures and help overcome any barriers that exist.
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