Per my observation, African children lack confidence as compared to those in the western world. Meanwhile we aspire to be like them. The mere reason is, a typical African child is suppressed from childhood till he/she dies. Family virtually dictates everything in your life including your right to worship. Dare you worship as a Muslim if you are born a Christian or vice versa. Some of our cultures and practices are so restrictive and abounds with midiocriy. Some are even woven in lies. You must not sing whiles bathing else your parents will die, such lies. Meanwhile most of the great musicians in the world discovered their talents whiles singing in the bathroom.
You are suppressed from birth to death, through your education, career, marriage, child birth, property sharing, your death, your funeral, your children, almost everything. Our people don’t allow us to grow, exploit and make our own informed choices and decisions that favours us. A typical African child may depart the earth without knowing his purpose in life because of suppression and controlling elders.
You must give your parents their grandchildren else you are in trouble. Your wife must be fruitful else you must either divorce her or marry again. Your own mother will bring you another wife if your wife is infertile. Who goes into marriage with the intention of giving birth for another person? Yet it is a requirement in most African marriages. It’s just that nowadays modernisation has limited a bit such things but it is still there.
Culture is very important for any race but it must not be followed blindly because at certain times when those cultures were instituted, the situations at that time was different. Now the world has changed and we are moving at a fast pace so we cannot still be relying on certain ache cultures like female circumcisions, puberty rights, trokosi girls, child marriages, killing of lions to prove you are a strong groom, sleeping with bride’s auntie to test your strength and potency as a husband to be, offering maidservants for to welcome a visitor, stool queen mother’s although you have a wife etc.
You can’t choose your own career else you are breaking family lines and it shows disrespect. If your father is a policeman you must also become one though you have a talent for drawing. Some tribes are predominantly known to produce ‘watchmen, others also produce Carpenters and Mason’s etc so how dare you say you want to be a lawyer or doctor when you must be a carpenter like Jesus. Some tribes are also known for carrying latrine, others marry children off at a very tender age.
Playing football then was regarded as a sport for vagabonds and school drop outs. Today look at the dividends that football is yielding in the whole world. Alot of good footballers have either died or are old without making one cent from their talent of football playing because of suppression. In Africa you cannot break the status quo, when you as a child is discovered with a talent or gift instead of people helping you to develop it become somebody in future, be rather be prepared for spiritual attacks and witchcraft manipulations. Your own people will aim to destroy you because of what you carry.
Envy and jealousies are woven in African cultures that does not make people shine. Africans destroy their heroes and saviours with certain beliefs, myths, cultures and practices yet we are the poorest. Women must be in the kitchen and men must go to school because the woman will get married and taken away by her husband so money must not be spent on her education but they believe it is the woman that brings something to the family but the man takes away to the outside. What an irony!
I have taken time to outline some unfair practices among our people that has the tendency of making the African child timid from birth to death :
1. In the midst of flatulence among elders, the youngest must accept the blame.
2. In an argument, the elderly person is always right so the young one must forcefully accept he is wrong and apologize to the elderly although he might be right.
3. When elders are talking, don’t talk because you are younger.
4. You cannot marry the person you love because your family does not accept the person’s culture, religion, race or tribe.
5. In distributing food, the elder must get the bigger protein than the youngster though science tells us the youngster needs protein more for development.
6. When you are rich and you go to your village you must dress poor or they will kill you out of envy.
7. If you have a car don’t drive it to your village or you come back with an accident. Take public transport instead.
8. If you visit your village, you either come back with a job loss, accident, sickness/disease or a setback.
9. If you dare try to renovate family building they will kill you right now.
10. The idea of patrilineal and matrilineal inheritance.
11. You must bear in mind that you are related to everybody in your village. Anyone you greet will travel family history and tell you how you are connected to him or her so when you are distributing goodies he must have his share.
12. You can be arrested by your kingmakers to enstool or eskin you as a chief whether you like it or not even if you are a Christian. You are forced to worship and poor libation to idols and made to eat certain charms against your will. The soak your spirit, soul and body into demonic and satanic practices. If you don’t agree once the blood of an animal is scarficed on your leg the belief is you run mad so they scare you and force you to be their chief because no one wants to be mad
13. When a chief or a king dies, someone else’s head must be sacrificed in accompaniment.
14. You must sleep with your dead husband overnight.
15. Your husband’s brother can marry you if he dies under certain circumstances.
16. You must mourn your husband not wife in black before you can marry or move on with your life even though your husband’s family will not be taking care of you.
17. The mentality that women brings something home from marriage but men take it outside so whiles their daughters are married family will find ways and means to be siphoning money from the husband.
18. Coveting of people’s properties through marriages.
19. Supressing of women rights in marriage. The adage goes, if a woman buys a gun it leans against the wall in a man’s room.
20. Tribal marks on the face and body as an identification, to drive away evil spirits or a symbol.
21. You must wail heavily during your husband’s funeral else you killed him even if he was a wicked man and died as one.
22. You must protect the position in your work place with “juju” else somebody will try you.
23. When someone offends you or you are jealous of someone you send him to “juju” to be killed or destroyed for you. Alot of sicknesses and diseases are given to you spiritual in Africa.
24. Terrible, day light witchcraft in Africa especially some villages.
These and many more examples I can give but it’s about time we look beyond or rather review some of these practices to reflect today’s world. Some of these unfair practices have the tendencies of veering you off your destiny course and restricting you in life. Typically for children it makes them so timid in life until the scales fall off their eyes and they break off. The act of trying to break off or seperating yourself from these unfair practices is seen as disrespect to your elders, family or culture and if you are not lucky someone in your own family lines will take you spiritually. The richest place in Africa is our graveyards or cemeteries due to the enormous of gifts and talents that are buried there.
More to come. My next topic should be church involvement in marriages. What constitutes proper marriage? Is it the pronouncement of the pastor as man and wife or when the two families agree in marriage traditionally?
Keep reading Quayson’s articles. This is not the final body of this article, as time goes on I will add more flesh to it and expand some of the points, precise, concise and deep elaboration on the subject matter will be added later. This is just a tip of the iceberg.