Social ills in African communities are connected to dysfunctional relationships between parents and children, among siblings, relatives, friends, generations, colleagues and lovers. An evaluation of the sources of murder, robbery, housebreaking, fraud, substance abuse and all other self inflicted social ills, confirms the interrelation between these vices and dysfunctional relationships.
The extent of this social deficiency is self evident in murder and suicide statistics. It is an established trend that the first suspect in investigation of gruesome murders is usually the victim’s spouse. It is sad that most murders occurs with spouses involvement in the planning or/and execution. The public domain is full of insurance spouse payouts schemes; prisons are full of domestic violence related offenders; and the courts hear bitter accusations and counter-accusations between spouses or ex-lovers.
High teenage suicide crisis is another reflection of this social crisis. The main cause of these young lives cut short is disappointments by lovers, parents’ expectations and bullying by peers.
Indeed personal relationships are a cultural matter. The rules of engagement, expectations and conducts are defined within a cultural context. There are visible community scars resulting in centuries of active and consistent cultural genocide directed at African people. The resilience of African culture is taking a toll and therefore the centre no longer holds hence community disorientation. The cultural disorientation of Africans has resulted in collapse of personal relationship pillars. Individualism, pride, ego, showing off and self centeredness were heavily discouraged within African communities in favour of collective values and common good. An individual is nurtured to develop personality traits that enhance the strength of relationships.
The cultural chaos visited upon us has deprived Africans of their most productive time in their lives. This crisis demonstrates that economic trends play a crucial role in the cultural development and outlook of a people. The gender war is also caused by shallow assimilation to foreign culture which hits during the peak of the individual’s economic participation. This is the age of thirty to fifty when a person has acquired skills and substantial experience to contribute to society productively. It is for this reason that culture is consistently assaulted. The assault is designed to guarantee permanent dominion of Africa’s enemies.
Protracted campaigns by privately owned media, foreign funded social movements and imperially controlled legislative lobby groups to demonize male gender and make female gender feel totally paralyzed is a conscious and deliberate programme to fuel gender disharmony and mistrust.
The girl and boy children are treated differently. The boy child is left rooming alone and to fend for himself due to fallacy of man’s natural strength. On the other hand, the girl child is encouraged to overindulge thus inculcating lifetime dependency syndrome. A female teenager is brainwashed to believe that her physical beauty is her biggest if not the only asset. This belief is the first step to abuse and condemnation to life of bitterness. It is at the stage of adulthood where the illusion, that life security lies in finding a man, vanishes and reality sinks that a woman also has to shoulder the responsibility of providing for the family.
There is brutal and multi-frontal economic warfare being waged by various imperialist and capitalist forces on humanity. The major stumbling block to complete victory against this war is unity of the oppressed. Unity is held together by their time tested cultural principles. The strengthening of cultural principles rather than mere traditional rituals will improve African people fortunes on the economic front and Africa cannot be economically emancipated without resolving the crisis of personal relations within our community.
By Sbusiso Xaba