I love my continent. With over three thousand tribes, Africa is a melting pot. Our music, art and dance have shaped today’s pop culture. Pop culture wouldn’t be where it is today if it wasn’t for Africa.
Like everything out there that’s good there’s a bad side to it. Although I respect my ancestors for giving us a culture, I hate some elements of it. These traditions no longer work in a connected world. We have the technology and knowledge to do better. Information is important today than it was back then.
These African traditions have no place today.
Breast ironing is the flattening of an adolescent growing breast. Hot stones are used to mutilate these girls’ breasts. These Cameroonian women believe that if a girl has a flat chest, men would not be attracted to her. They do this as way of ensuring their girls finish school without getting pregnant. This practice is brutal and horrifying to young girls. Doesn’t it make sense to do something about the men that prey on young girls? How about having the sex talk with the girls or better yet, how about using long term contraceptives?
A flat chest will not stop a girl from having sex and risking her life. Breast ironing makes no sense at all. Using traditional methods to raise children in the modern world is pure madness.
What happens after your husband passes on? You wouldn’t think of marrying your brother-in-law now would you? This is the case of many women in Western Kenya. Thanks to this way ward culture, women are forced to marry their brothers in law. Refusing to do so results in their homes burned down, chased away from the community or worse, death.
Women, have no choice but to obey. Notice how men are never ‘inherited’ by women when their wives die.
Death of children
This actually came as a shock to me when I first saw it on the news. So this lady was lucky enough to give birth to septuplets, a first in her home county. Unfortunately, according to her culture, in case of septuplets, they had to kill three of her children. Reason? They believed this would give the new mother an opportunity to comfortably breast feed two kids.
It gets weird.
The new mum believed this too!
While in the hospital she would refuse to breast feed three of her kids. The doctors and nurses had to literally make her breastfeed all her kids.
I can make a list of all the crazy things culture has done to our children. This has to stop.
Misogynist rites of passage
In an African setting it’s very important for boys to go through initiation. This is where they get to learn how to be men. They learn the ways of their people and sadly, how to be misogynist. These boys go from being innocent to acting like they own the country. They no longer do things for themselves and expect women to do it for them. Men learn toxic masculinity from other men and it usually begins on the first day of their initiation. This has to stop.
The art of silence in marriage
You know, often times modern African women are compared to their mothers. “Why can’t you be more like your mothers?” This is in relation to marriage. Men who’ve grown up in such setting don’t realize that, even though their mothers never talked to them, they talked to us. Our mothers went through a lot in their marriage, but they always had to put on a brave face for their children.
This culture sold them silence.
They believed that their marriage problems were not something worth discussing outside. So, most women went about their lives in pain.
Women are no longer staying in abusive relationships any more. The rate of divorce is at an all-time high.
It was hard picking out the five since Africa is culturally diverse. Some traditions may be done in the dark. We can only move forward if we get rid of them. Its 2019, these traditions have no place here.
Any other outdated traditions worth mentioning, let me know.