Throwing faeces is immoral and un-African

2013-06-09 10:00

The teaching in African culture is based on respect for life as that is God’s creative work.

Young people are taught that individualism is despised and that the communal way of life is central.

The communal way teaches that no person in this world is an island .?.?.?that is why there is a saying that: “I am because we are and, since we are, therefore I am” (Umntu ngumntu ngabantu).

Having that teaching in practice will always cause an individual to think about how his or her actions would affect those around them, and also how comfortable the same actions would benefit them if they are applied at them.

As a young person is understood to be in a journey from childhood to ancestorhood, there are teachings about respect and the communal way of life that are taught at home and by the community.

There are various forms of instilling these teachings, which are in daily lessons and also through rites of passages (birth, initiation, marriage and death rituals).

There are things that could only be done by a certain group of people at a certain stage.

For example, boys. Things that they are expected to do would never be done by those who have passed the initiation stage.

Such practices also differ with those who are married.

Young people are regarded as a reflection of their parents or their clans, hence they are taught to be good ambassadors for their families.

It is, therefore, embarrassing to hear that there are some young people who carried human faeces and threw it at the door of the Western Cape legislature.

The idea of these youngsters even thinking and planning about going to the toilet, taking containers with faeces and carrying them inside their cars to the legislature, on its own requires the nation to think twice about the future of our youth.

Their actions may be interpreted in many ways: that they lack self-respect, that they do not have role models and mentors whom they knew would be embarrassed by their actions.

This nation, including political leaders, parents and community leaders, needs to help its young people focus on a better future.

Culturally, no person in their right state of mind would contaminate himself or herself with faeces.

Faeces is associated with darkness, filth and all wishes of bad luck. It is not the person who has been sent faeces who is affected, but the one sending.

The latter is affected in a very negative way, which is basically wishes of bad luck in many forms. And spiritually, both the ­sender and the receiver are considered unclean.

Sending a message using faeces could never be justified in any manner. In fact, it is an embarrassment.

This unfortunate incident requires the government to think about a new approach on how to put its youth on the right track and help them express their dissatisfaction with any government activity in a better way.

When such behaviour happens within a community, it is the duty of both the elderly and government to correct their young ones in a positive and constructive way.

Lastly, the behaviour shown by that group of young people in the Western Cape is unacceptable.

But I repeat, it requires the leadership to recognise that their youth are in need of proper guidance.

This is the time for our government to concentrate on how its future leaders should be brought up.

What the nation witnessed this week is a blunder and everyone should know that there is no democracy without responsibility and proper guidance.

»?Mndende is founder of the Icamagu Heritage Institute

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