African tradition best for orphans
African tradition best for orphans
Albert who graduated in England will never forget how he managed not to starve to death after he lost both parents. His father did not have a brother. However the village system kept him alive and managed to send him to school.
“I decided to do my dissertation on impact of African Traditional beliefs in Africa . I discovered that many countries had been doing the same,” he commented.
He remembers sleeping together with more than eight boys in a house. He also remembers that eating together with all boys who had both parents in the North East Zambia.
Oh yes, that system made an orphan to look like one having both parents. Imagine now I have a good job because of the care of my village. I am proud of them,” he commented.
Many people, who have traveled across Africa , observe that the traditional system has been able to keep Africans together for a number of centuries.
Paul John Paul 11 encouraged preaching of the Word of God through African traditional customs as well as songs, among others.
This was the foundation of the establishment of the African synod which has now taken root in many catholic parishes in Africa .
The aim is to ensure that people who have no knowledge of God should be able to understand what God does easily through the traditional beliefs they follow everyday.
Even Kwame Nkrumah, the first African to become President advocated the keeping of good cultural beliefs in his speeches
The traditional customs had been practiced in North, East, Central, West as well as Southern Africa . Chiefs ensured that customs are observed and wrong doers are punished. They now work hand in hand with government judicial system.
Some governments in Southern Africa have even incorporated chiefs in their judicial system and have appointed magistrates to help them carry on their work.
The system has enabled people to stay together in a community although they have different views.
“People used to eat together. All the village of almost ten or more village heads would come together. They would then divide the food between boys and men. Women were also doing the same. That is the reason why orphans were well catered for,” said Dhlakamaza from Zimbabwe .
He said unless these good cultural practices are maintained we will have problems of orphans in Africa .
“These ancestors of ours knew that there are some children who will not have anyone to give food let alone nowhere to sleep. That is the reason why boys were sleeping together and later eating together at lunch or supper.
He said in the village an orphan was attached to a well caring family to ensure that the orphan is given necessary things in addition to food and shelter given communally.
Edgo emolo from Nigeria said in an interview most African traditional customs helped people to love one another as they talked to one another often.
“You cannot completely ignore somebody who you know you will share the dish together .These boys used to sleep together in the house for boys,” he commented.
He therefore called upon countries in Africa to ensure that the good cultural beliefs come back.
Emolo said this should be echoed even at African Union meetings.
Charles Tembo from Zambia said in an interview foreign cultures have separated people.
“Can you believe that neighbours do not know each other? You have to be invited to enter a house mostly surrounded by walls” he commented.
He said in the past, visitors traveling would sleep at any village provided they contact a traditional chief and identify themselves.
Tembo said even girls after passing puberty were not told to play around with girls saying this prevented many sexual diseases.
“Infact after growing up, the boys were told to look after themselves and only have sex with a girl in marriage saying if one impregnated a lady, it brought shame to the entire village.
“That is the reason why prevention measures were observed. What do we see now? Girls and boys should not have their rights violated and should therefore play together, and in some instances sleep together. If many people are dying of HIV/AIDS should we be surprised? He commented.
He took a swipe at
Many African countries have started to reform their traditional teachings to ensure they are not extinct.
Zambia , Kenya , Uganda , Malawi and many West African countries are exploring ways to start model villages where tourists can sample how it was to live in a village.
A Zimbabwean Government official who opted for anonymity lamented that Western Governments are spending lots of money supporting orphanages saying the best way is to make traditional institutions where the children live much stronger.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 License.