The Battle of Tradition Against Modernity
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By Mathias Yawlui

Tradition is a ritual belief that is in the form of values passed down from generation to generation within a society. Modernity, on the other hand, can be defined as those sets of ideas or beliefs which are ever flowing and evolving like a stream. This article seeks to examine the pros and cons of this argument. 

Modernisation is a term that became fashionable after World War ІІ. Whenever someone hears “modern,” they first think about present-day technology with its jet-travel, space exploration, and nuclear power. But the common sense of the “modern” compasses the whole era since the eighteen century when inventions like the steam engine and the spinning jenny provided the initial, technical basis for the industrialisation of societies.

Tradition and modernity constitute perhaps the most consistent rivals in the new African policy. Tradition accuses modernity of introducing a system of governance while instrumental to the overall advancement of the citizenry's socio-political and economic status. Modernity, on the other hand, regards tradition as the bulwark of an obsolete value system usually insusceptible to progressive change.


Is there much difference between Traditional and Modern societies?

You will affirmatively agree that tradition and modernity have been the opposite of each other for almost forever. Tradition and modernity have a lot of things they disagree on. Let’s quickly look at a few differences between these two societies.

Even though there is no such thing as a completely traditional or thoroughly modern society, the collision between the two forms of organisation has great significance for everyone alive today.

Let’s look at a few such differences:


Division of labour

1. Tradition believes that labour should be divided into ages and sex whiles modernity divides work based on specialization and differentiation.

2. Production

Tradition makes society produce for use or subsistence, while modernity advocates strongly on creating profit and growth.

3. Family

The family is the fundamental unit of human life; hence extended family is vital in the traditional setting whiles modernity believes everyone for himself and God for us all setting resulting in the nuclear family.

4. Time

The traditional setting believes there is more time for more leisure, and life is all about the time you have lived. On the other hand, modernity sees time as money, hence less leisure and that life is independent to time.

5. Cultural Ecology

In the traditional setting, individuals have various skills, and they make tools, but in modern society, expertise replaces skills and general knowledge.


Can tradition and modernity coexist?

As different traditions and modernity may be, do they have anything in common? And if yes, can they agree on something? People have tried to use tradition and modernity hand-in-hand, but it has always seemed to be impossible. It will confuse you to think you can make these two work out.


Importance of tradition and modernity

No matter what you might think, tradition and modernity have brought some values and cultures to our lives as Africans that we still acknowledge today. This has impacted a lot of people, both young and old.



Tradition has been the most critical value many people have known, and it has been passed on from generation to generation. Tradition, they say, is the frame that holds everything in place. 

1. Tradition contributes a sense of comfort and belonging. It brings families together and enables people to reconnect with friends.

2. Tradition reinforces values such as freedom, faith, integrity, a good education, personal responsibility, a strong work ethic, and the importance of being selfless.

3. Tradition provides a forum to showcase role models and celebrate the things that matter in life.

4. Tradition offers a chance to say “thank you” for the contribution that someone has made.

5. Tradition enables us to showcase the principles of our Founding Fathers, celebrate diversity, and unite as a country.




Modernity has one way or the other made things around us more straightforward, efficient, productive, and more intriguing. No matter the generation or century you were born into, you will find out that modernity has made things less complicated.

1. Modernity has brought civilization to the entire society. Civilization is the greatest invention of all times. 

2. It has brought human society a means to think about and get things done in an orderly manner. It has also explained happenings that we usually believe were based on some blessings or curses.  

3. Modernity has brought technology to make life easy and more efficient.

4. We can communicate in more comfortable and faster ways than ancient letter writing.

5. Modernity has also made the world closer than it looks. The internet has made the world a global village.



It is not a matter of what you believe in; both tradition and modernity have a way of impacting society. Society can be happy with our tradition and with our modernity. The truth is that tradition cannot just be forgotten and pushed aside; it has been the hallmark of our society. So I will advise that we can still use both tradition and modernity in the same community.


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