MATERIAL CULTURE

Material culture refers to things we consider important, or things that define our culture. Material culture can be a home that you live in or the clothes you wear.  For example, in Congo we have certain clothes we wear that differentiates us from other countries.  This is not just in the Congo, but in some of the other West African countries.  We dress in these types of clothes which are different from the way people in eastern and southern Africa dress. These clothes are the material culture of  West Africa and are considered  valuable..We also consider the way we Congolese woman do our hair  a part of material culture which differs from other countries. For example when people see a woman with this kind of hair they automatically know that she is Congolese by origin .  It’s a part of material culture because people are able to tell where you come from before you even tell them.

Here are some other examples of material culture in West African countries.  These are examples of clothing that we wear to special events like weddings and parties.  This has remained the culture for generations and it helps identify us and our culture. When a woman wears these clothes, it shows respect and also shows that we are proud to show our cultural clothes to others. They are different type of these clothes and different textures. Here you can see they are made into different styles.  Some of the styles show the status of the person wearing it.

This is what men wear for special events.

The other material thing that is considered a part of material culture is the kind of homes people live in. Houses in Congo differentiate people in the society.  Houses represent the status of individuals in the community.  If you come from a rich background, people we automatically tell that you are rich because you can afford to live in a very beautiful house.

The above  is an  example of a house for someone who is rich and has a high status in the society. Material culture has become very important to most Congolese people because if you own a house like this one you create a history and you will be respected.

Another example of homes people consider important and which give them high status is the French-style home.  French-style homes are built to show how much people value material culture. They also show outsiders that we have things that are important to us. I think having material culture is a good thing and can help you in some ways. Not all the homes in Congo are like those shown above.   These are only shown to demonstrate some of the material culture of Congo.

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