Unfortunately, we lost this Eden, a potential model for world peace to ‘civilization’. In colonial times, a school going child was placed in the boarding or missionary house, far removed from the community and trained. When the child returned, he was a new cultural being.
Role of Churches
In many communities today, the Churches have taken over the role of the family. For example, many people outdoor and name their children in the church; festivals are considered evil and funeral services are run by the church. The role of Elders as arbitrators is lost to church priests. Family and cultural beliefs or values are regarded as evil. The old, who were formerly revered and whose wisdom was sought after are now in many cases regarded as witches and wizards. Our elders die without imparting to us their invaluable wisdom and knowledge of herbs etc. owing to our disinterest and scorn. The general thrust of contemporary religious persuasion in Africa is that we need to be saved from the evil of our culture. As a result, people reject family meetings and festivals like Homowo, Odwira, Hogbetsotso that unite the family. In some homes children have lost respect for their parents because they are not ‘Christians.’
Our ancestors used taboos to keep the community together. So strong was the adherence to these in-built control systems that if you were to drop your money you would return to the place you dropped it and find it. Modern religions have destroyed these systems and not replaced them with any other that would restore or maintain their ethical values.
Economic hardships have put stress on many. Many have to abandon their children in their own homes in pursuit of dear daily bread. Those who ‘have’ are still gripped in the glamour trap and as such continue to look for money. Stress causes parents to fight using insults and abusive language on each other resulting in loss of respect and broken homes.
Another major destroyer of our community is the use of vulgar language on the air waves. The music or movie sells if it is overtly or covertly about sex. The internet is plagued with pornography. If this is civilization, then we need to rethink.