I HAD the privilege to sit and chat with some very important people from our neighbouring countries last week in Zambia.
Relationships: Kilton Moyo
I must say, I learnt a lot from the exchange of thoughts and ideas concerning the state of the family in the region.
I am one who is very concerned about the current state of the family and would like to spend the remainder of my life working, coaching and empowering the family with Christ-centred wisdom, understanding and knowledge, so it can ultimately produce for God.
It’s also interesting to note that the Southern Africa region shares so much in common, including our pain.
We are just one people divided by geographical borders and maybe political persuasions.
Our cultures link so well and, above all, we are a region that follows Christ, although we can do better on this one.
Our economies are dependent on each other and we share so much of our labour.
I am convinced we can, as a region, find more common ground to address our afflictions and come up with huge benefits to our people.
One area where the region can win in serious collaboration is in helping the family stay stable.
The family in different countries in the region seems to be suffering the same affliction and shame.
This must bring us together more particularly from a church point of view. Let me just share a few things that impact on the family negatively in the whole Southern Africa region.
Negative use of electronic media
Technology is a very good thing or development to the world, but this technology has become a curse to the stability of the family.
Many families are left weakened, as both elderly people and the young, get caught up in pornography, which has suddenly come home through the gadgets they have. In the past, it was hard to view this demonic thing, but now many have access to it.
As a result, marriages are affected and young people are corrupted and initiated in a zombie way of expressing sexuality. Not only that, family members have so fallen in love with their gadgets they have no time for each other. This means there is serious loss of family relationships.
People find it easier and exciting to value electronic gadgets more than family relationships. Everything is done electronically and even sexual intimacy is now through pornography, electronically.
This is sad.
Clubbing and alcohol abuse
The young and the old are all caught up in this trap.
Nightclubbing has become a new regional culture and in some areas it is defined as part of democracy and human rights.
I never imagined that democracy could mean such destruction to humanity and the family. The young and the old are both drunk. Fathers have become reckless.
Some young people are killed in nightclubs.
There is this thinking in many young people that the home is boring.
This is a deception meant to take the young away from home and destroy them. May your home never be boring, no matter what?
A Zambian friend attributes this scourge to movies. She says it is the effects of movies, as most people watch films and envy the fake life depicted there.
I had thought it was only my country that is affected by this.
Little did I know that families in Zambia, South Africa, Malawi and others are suffering from this as well.
There is a high level of unemployment in the region and this affects directly the stability of the family and its quality of life.
Amazingly, in the midst of this unemployment there is so much abuse of alcohol and drugs. Where do the unemployed get the money to access these?
Is there someone supplying them freely? This is a paradox. Sex work is on the rise and human trafficking for the purposes of sexual exploitation is also high.
I was shocked to hear that sex workers from Zimbabwe are a great attraction in Zambia, where they normally fight running battles with their Zambian counterparts.
It is said Zambian men prefer the Zimbabwean girls because they are beautiful and charge less.
Just think of what the whole family system is producing in this day and era. Most people are not economically empowered in a region that is obviously rich.
Let us not forget that many parents in the region are away from home looking for livelihoods elsewhere.
Families are left alone
Zambia, Malawi, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and the Democratic Republic of Congo are the most affected, as breadwinners, largely parents, are all over looking for a living, particularly in South Africa, their first world.
Our culture is becoming a snare to the family set up. I know this could generate an argument, but let it come.
Most of our challenges are a result of a culture that in itself is abusive to the family, women and children. In its quest to make men superior, it has grossly abused men too.
Our men in the region are heavily abused by culture and upbringing. Is it not abuse when you train men to be wicked and abusive? Let me leave it here. There is a serious and dangerous gap now between the elderly and the young.
In the past, we used to have intergenerational counselling. The elderly people were readily available everywhere to give counsel and guidance.
The young and old would meet, sit and relate. Do you remember the good times in the evening around the fireplace and elderly people telling us stories and playing those fun games as families?
It brought so much bonding. Now all that time is gone and taken away by a selfish culture that we have adopted.
I wonder why our culture allows good things in it to be destroyed, but protects the bad things? Can someone help me here? Did you know that the whole region used to enjoy such glorious family time then?
The whole region has kicked that aspect out of the family and the family members are serious strangers to each other and maybe this is why they rape and kill each other. We just need to bring back positive human-to-human interaction in the family. There is a lot one can talk about here.
The question is how willing is this Christian region to restore the family and bring about needed stability? Who should play what role?
Can the church matter in this paradox?
Maybe you can help answer these questions, but whatever the case, the family needs attention.