Exploring the Socio-cultural Implications of Wrestling From Achebe's Things Fall Apart
Wrestling has played a role in many traditional African cultures since ancient times. Using Achebe’s Things Fall Apart as a reference text, this paper will explore wrestling and its socio-cultural aspects as well as its educational implications within the setting of traditional African communities. I will argue that despite a variety of factors that have altered the traditional forms of wrestling in certain parts of Africa, the act of wrestling mostly remains a local sport, close to the people, and draws on local practices and beliefs. Wrestling in its traditional form plays a vital role in developing leaders at a local level, while simultaneously promoting Africa’s own cultures. Therefore the paper will argue that viewing wrestling as mere entertainment would be dangerously limiting. It transcends entertainment by performing critical roles in a number of African cultures. Beyond providing entertainment, wrestling as it has been practiced traditionally builds a se!
nse of community and social cohesion. Through ritual practice and performance, wrestling enables the natural and the supernatural, the real and the metaphysical worlds to come together. To examine the trend towards a modernized version of the practice across the continent, the paper will use Senegal as a case study; there, wrestling has undergone intense modernization, yet still draws heavily on traditional wrestling practice and tradition. Given its vivid roles in the context of African societies, and because of its perceived history as a form of sport close to the people, the paper concludes that traditional wrestling is a vital tool that must be promoted to help address the many challenges facing the African continent.