This study makes the point that foreigners who have come in contact with Africans, whether as missionary, teacher, colonial administrator, or trader have often underestimated the extent to which the African cultural ethos rules the African mind. Modernizing efforts in Africa are based on assumptions which seek rapid transformations into the ways of another cultural ethos. These efforts, which abound in religious, developmental and political practices, have often met with difficulties. An examination into the content, structure and symbolic notions of the African ethos should unearth those aspects which are in conflict with, and those which are in favour of modernizing tendencies. This orientation sheds light on the problems that inhibit stability and development in Africa.