Ghana has a lot of great culture passed over from generations untold; practices which have guided her people in their conduct and have become norms. But as the world evolves we have realised that when our forefathers told myths that we should not talk while we bathed, it was just a precaution to prevent the bath water from entering our mouths; and not because some unknown spirit would come and kidnap us.
It appears that the phenomenon is not peculiar to Ghana as Tazim Elkington, guest writer for TUKO.co.ke ,takes a look at some ridiculous "African culture" excuses we should question.
From the peculiarities Tazim Elkington observed within Kenyan ethnic communities, most Ghanaians and indeed Africans would agree with his list of old African practices to question in today's society.
1. For the sake of our children – Many women and men stay in toxic marriages because of children. Really? This is one of the oldest outdated ways to suffocate your life. When one asks their parents, siblings, friends, religious leaders for advice, we encourage them to “hang on” or pray. The result is, traumatised and angry children, physical and emotional abuse and, a quick exit from planet earth.
2. African pension – You raise your kids expecting them to pay back by taking care of you in old age. This is total BS! Why make your children slaves? Work hard, make your children independent, plan for your old age and let your children use the money they earn to settle down and build their own lives. Teach them to think with the end in mind, not to be dependants! While you are at it, write your Will, when you die, let us celebrate you not fight over your earthly belongings.
3. Because I am the first-born in our family – Just because you are the first born in your family you must take care of your parents, marry first before your siblings etc… Said who? What would happen if you were not able to take care of them? Would they die? And that marriage thing… Nkt!!
4. Africans cannot speak their mind, because our “culture” teaches us to be polite – We are expected to say what people want to hear and not the real truth about what we feel. This is a lack of integrity we are taught and hear from when we are children. No wonder we cannot say no or speak out when things are going wrong.
READ ALSO: A little black dress, a must for every lady
5. Burying someone at “home” – People incur huge costs transporting a body “home” and feeding mourners. What is the value? The person is dead anyway. Back in the day many communities never buried their dead, they left them (some very sick) in the bush. Why do we burden each other with useless expenses? Then you hold a fundraiser and ask us to help you give a send-off to your loved out. Eish!! Cremation is also an option by-the-way.
6. Respect “those in authority with money” – What happened to us? We now ‘respect’ those who have swindled, stolen and are corrupted as the great gods. Have you seen how we treat them in church? We even invite them to help us build churches, schools, hospitals and clap really hard when they give a generous contribution.
7. Respect your elders regardless – Why? Yes, why? An old man who rapes young girls or batters his wife should be respected? A mother and church elder who warns her grandchildren against marrying from community X should be respected? Really? And we also never raise a finger when the village elder who is 89, marries a 16-year-old – after all our grandparents married young, right?
8. Be submissive as a woman and wife – In which century? Some women still believe they are not allowed to speak up when their entire lives are being turned upside down. You should not question your husband when he has not paid fees for your children right? Or, your husband is sexually abusing your daughter and I guess you should not say a word. OK. Continue sitting pretty.
9. We will find you a husband – Decadent and out of date when we have an online dating culture. How is that going to happen? We even define or guide which community a husband must come from.
10. No man will want you because you have kids with another man – That a woman is “used goods” if she has children from another realtionship. If we define a woman based on her children and where she had them, then we have lost the plot. We forget that she had them with a man who will probably say he is “happily married”!
Tazim Elkington is a talented “paradigm shifter” credited for motivating, stimulating and encouraging many groups and individuals with her unconventional strategies so they can experience a more fulfilled and rewarding life. Tazim is a Kenyan woman who did not grow up in the typical family environment of mum, dad, a picket fence and a dog.
This article expresses the author’s opinion only. The views and opinions expressed here do not necessarily represent those of YEN.com.gh or its Editors.