In Africa, it is not out of order for a 15 year old child to carry a 20liter pot of water from the nearest stream to the home of his blind grandmother. Also, it has for years been an acceptable method of discipline to administer the rode to a misguided child – not putting them in some “corner”. True Africans have prescribed that a child should not and will not speak back to their adults when reprimanded or instructed on something, it is unheard of to even look at your parents the wrong way when they are addressing you.
In an attempt to create a world where all humanity is uniform in standards and levels of morality, we are faced with two steel walls; one is the risk of diluting thousands years worth of culture, while the other is the risk of interfering with the social systems that have been created to ensure the survival of one or the other group.
Africans of native heritage remember that the power of an individual lies in the strength of the collective. What is ascribed to the community from where one hails is largely representative of the individuals that make up that group. It thus imposes on the individual to act in such a manner and be considerate of the thoughts and affects of all whom they represent.
The many ways in which our societies have been differentiated from the rest lay in the upholding of oral timeless tenets that have, however, proven to be the corner stone for the survival of our true values in a time of strong cultural disorder.
While rules and regulations of how you should discipline your children are disappearing, women’s dress codes as revealing as they like and men can freely become women and parents can cohabit in the midst of their children. There still is an African in some corner of this continent that acknowledges that Pap is more satisfying than macaroni – that wearing a wrapper (chitenge) is actually very beautiful and that sharing truly is caring. I know there is an African who realises that they are more than a mere skin category or geographical location. There is an African who still sees the need to bow their head as they speak to their elders or that the family that lives next door is more or less family than just neighbours.
These are important acts of livelihood that as a complex differentiate us from those that attempt to turn our children into rogue brats that have the audacity to swear at their parents or even refer to them by their first names. abominable. Such things as the greeting of strangers, the sharing of problems, the loving of women and respecting of men in our societies are the true preservation of our identity.
Do not let globalisation – cultural integration or anything they may refer to it as, separate you from the values of a true African. No matter how Western you dress or speak, the blood that runs through your veins will always truly start in the Nile – down the Great Lakes, through Zambezi into Orange – Cape to Cairo. You and I are Africans, and even if the documents may allow you to think you can change it, there shall forever, under your feet, be a mark that tells of your one and only heritage. God Bless you.
Facebook: Stephen Nyoni