Lamentations of African Mothers

African Mother
African Mother

By Immaculata Ejenike

AFRICA is endowed with diverse races and rich cultural heritage and values. The different races, tribes, and ethnic groups in these African nations have embraced and are in love with their diverse cultures.

But the advent of colonialism in Africa has almost eroded these rich cultures that had sustained the people of Africa for centuries. Africans had their unique administrations, economies, socialization and these were largely influenced by their traditions and cultures.

Some mothers and scholars believe that Western education should have complimented the systems rather than aiding their erosion and putting these countries at a crossroads in the march to their overall development.

For instance, many Africans have not been able to blend with these inherited norms from the West. After centuries of discarding some of the valued African cultures, we are being advised to go back to breastfeeding our babies and many African mothers are still struggling to do this which their grandparents did while raising them.

Apart from breastfeeding, the African child is being denied other critical aspects of socialization, which is usually impacted by parents and society at large. These days the African child is denied knowledge of his native language, cultural traits, and the dignity of labour.

“Our mothers taught us about morals, agriculture, love, even a sense of observation. Back in the days, our mothers communicate with us with “body signs” either the legs, eyes or any parts of the body and we responded promptly to such actions and signs. Our language forms the basis of teaching; we did understand, speak and even use proverbs in our mother tongues -oh I enjoyed my growing-up as an African child in the hand of the African mother,” a concerned mother and lawyer said.

Unfortunately, the African women of today, who were products of those wonderful upbringing have joined in “trampling on our pride and throwing them away in exchange for western ways of bringing up children, which some people erroneously label as ‘Child Right”.

Although Child Right is a wonderful concept, we have abused it, parents are now concerned with giving their children what they ‘want’ and no longer what they ‘need’.  “The mentoring we enjoyed then are now expensive commodities for our children. Parents have relinquished their duties and allowed schools to perform such responsibilities. It is an irony that some parents celebrate that their children cannot speak their local language and are fluent in the English language. Some parents even make a mockery of themselves in public, saying: “do you know that my children correct me today and say their teacher said this was right or wrong, while their child can’t say a word in their local language. We have so exchanged western lifestyle with ours to the extent that an African child would no longer have an interest in his cultural background and appreciate it. Should I say; we are indeed enslaved and by extension enslaving our future generations,” the lawyer added.

Today, our society is faced with issues of rape, cultism, and other immoral acts which are the consequences of the neglect of early child care and socialization. The “millennium mother”, for instance, “will afford to give her children the freedom that is not useful for their development and general welfare, but they will ignorantly say that they are giving them their best”.  “And when a 15-year old girl or boy is given a room of his or her own is left to the ‘cares of the winds’ you also afford them the privacy that they can’t handle because you are too busy, you never have time to listen to their pains and gains and you suddenly forget the impact your mummy sleeping with you made in your life. You suddenly forget how daddy comes home and makes out time to sit with you and tell stories, eating in the same big plates with your siblings; you want to call it poverty, but it is actually not; it is the positive aspect of family bonding,” she added.

The African woman should take a look at those rich cultures of ours and “modernize” if necessary in order to appeal to the children of today. We owe these children the attention they deserve and continue to teach them those unique history, cultures, and foods and above all the rich native languages. Let us bring back the ‘breast-milk’ of the African mother again so that our generations will be truly free.

– Sept. 23, 2020 @ 09:25 GMT |

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