An African woman with face paintings.
Photography by Darina Belonogova

It is no new thing for anyone to understand what this topic means, especially for a true-born African. I’m so certain while seeing this topic that the first thing that came to mind was everything that comes with it. I mean with the way an African man or woman goes about dealing with everyday challenges. And we could say every African shares one thing in common.

For instance, a boy prostrating to his elders. A woman kneeling to serve food to her husband. The names we call our husbands and the rest of them you could mention. There is so much to learn from when it comes to Africanism. It is exciting to know about the culture of the Africans, but certain things don’t sit well. Some ideologies and their beliefs tend to affect a whole lot of people and make them vulnerable for both males and females.

For every typical African parent would be, never have friends over, never visit friends and all of that. And that describes what good parenting means for them. Don’t get me wrong, every good parent wants the best for their children, and that’s why they get overprotective, and I agree with that. With some kids' level of freedom, one could predict what they will turn out to be. Parenting is one difficult job one could ever take and at the same time, exciting.

Every kid Between the ages of 12-20 should be carefully observed, and this is an important stage of their lives where they don’t feel comfortable about themselves, especially during their puberty stage. The girls tend to pay more attention to their body, face, skin, and many more. The guys get to think more of what people think of them, and the people they hang out with a lot affect their lives positively or negatively.

When we ask parents certain questions about why they take parenting so important, the majority of them will tell you they are scared of their female child getting pregnant and their male child hanging around with bad kids. So to avoid these things, they keep them home all day. But to be honest, the only thing the African parenting circles on is just so the child doesn’t get pregnant. Ha!

But you’ll agree with me that 75% of parents only have power over their girl child and leaves the boys out of it. They believe it is not the boy who comes back with a child anyway. But a child who stays all year indoors or gets out all day once he or she has things up her mind and wants to execute him or her will do one way or the other.

Parenting is hard. I haven’t been married before or got to have a child yet. But then we all have siblings and somewhat a child of our parents, so we get to see the decisions they make every day and indeed, it is difficult.

What I’m driving at is that there are ways to go about it. And not using authority as a parent not to hear them out. In Matthew, the Bible tells us about the good and bad tree. It says a good tree can’t bring forth bad fruit and vice versa. Well, in rare cases, I’ve seen good trees bear bad fruits (I meant rare cases). Many people will take the Pastor’s child as a case study. Haha! But really, at least 70% of people confirm this, and it somewhat is true; we are still trying to find out why this is so.

In my opinion, African parents don’t tell us what we need to know; that’s why sex education is really important in every family. Yes, I said this. Every child should get closer to their parents and communicate a lot more.

Here is a quick question: why do most females get to hide about their rape experiences and then open up after a long while and then tell us in detail about how they were molested. Our parents are somewhat always busy, or sometimes they feel it is wrong to bring up topics like this with their kids. These rape cases are true, and they could happen to anyone. We should learn to speak up on time when we find ourselves in such situations. And so back to sex education. I met a girl who talked about how uncomfortable she gets when she talks to her parents, not even her mom, which she should be closer to. What was the problem? She got infected, and it affected her so severely that it changed her entire monthly cycle from becoming an abnormal colour to not seeing at all, yet she’s not pregnant. But she felt comfortable asking someone outside her family. This reason could only be that African parents are judgemental.

Our parents leave out what we need to hear, and even if we come of age, they still have codes to go about it when they talk to us. I can remember every common statement about mothers when they talk about a girl's first menstrual cycle. They will go like, “This is an important phase of your life. It means if you sit close to a boy, you’ll get pregnant” like how? Hah! They get scared of telling them what they need to know. Now, what has the girl gotten from the little discussion? Oh yeah, right “Don’t sit close to a boy.” I could remember when someone came to ask me what ovulation means, or some will go by asking what’s the discharge that comes out in a girl. A lot don’t know how to calculate their cycles. They sometimes get to learn from school, which isn’t still enough. There’s a saying that charity begins at home.

They don’t let them know what they have to know about sex education for the boy child. They don’t even bring it up in any way except when they go out a lot, they will tell them: Don’t get any lady pregnant. Has any parent talked about the consequences of rape to their male kids? Well, your answer will be from the results of rape cases we get to hear and see every day on the net.

Oh, how can we forget about how they inflict us to believe we can’t marry from another tribe. I mean the popular tribalism they practice. Oh, you can’t marry an Igbo guy, they love money, and they will use you for rituals. Oh, you can’t marry a Calabar man who will beat you up and waste money on different women after he gets his salary. Oh yes, you cannot just marry a Hausa man or woman. The truth is that they don’t practice love at all. Every tribe has its bad and good sides. No one is perfect. Instead, we should focus on how they get compatible and not where they come from.

Another pressing issue is the lifestyle they portray. If you don’t set good examples, how do you want the younger ones to inculcate? For instance, a man who comes home drunk every day or a woman who nags at the man every time. Calling him abusive names like useless man, stupid man, etc. A family who hardly says sorry when he or she is wrong and claims he’s always right. Or a family who sees nothing wrong with a man cheating means he can cheat and he’s forgiven but a lady who cheats faces the traditionalists. Mind you, I’m not a feminist, but I believe in what is right. When a child sees this and has made it a part of him, it takes the grace of God to make such a child come outright.

Look at all these things mentioned, and you can tell how this has affected our social lives one way or the other. I love our African parents, and I want them to work on themselves a lot more because it will help our younger generations.

I'm a passionate storyteller, embarking on a journey of sharing her stories to the world. I throw light on life experiences and every daily challenges and also give opportunity for people to tell their stories and make up solutions for them too. I'm currently working on an intriguing novel "DOWN MEMORY LANE" which will be out soon.

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