Lost morality of a lost generation

2018-09-23 09:54

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A video of a 19-year-old KwaZulu-Natal teenage girl assaulting a 69-year-old woman recently went viral. The bone of contention was the cold drink the elderly woman was drinking to quench her thirst.

As her punishment, the teenager was ordered by the induna (headman) of the village to give the victim’s family two goats and a cow to expunge the humiliation she caused.

The gogo received empathy and sympathy on social media, with inspirational speaker Criselda Dudumashe tweeting: “Please help me find her; she needs to learn moral lessons. Generational decay occurs when adults are silent when children go astray.”

Dudumashe’s opinion was not the voice of a bored social media user with enough data to waffle on, but that of someone concerned; it was cultural discourse chastising the behaviour of a morally inept teenager.

The young woman’s appalling behaviour takes me back to my own teenage years when my naughtiness landed me in the arms of community members after I provocatively threw stones at the house of a hermit in the village.

To exacerbate the matter, the same people who beat me for throwing the stones handed me over to my grandmother, who also condemned my dastardly act.

Why had they not let me go? This was because of the system that was applied in the village to allow every caring human in society to discipline misbehaving miscreants, irrespective of their relations.

This is how respect was nurtured and it formed part of our cultural upbringing which lived up to the saying that a tree must be bent while it is young.

Nowadays our children’s capricious behaviour can be compared with that of a child who cries just because his dream of owning a BMX bicycle was not fulfilled by his parents.

After anxiously watching the video, I asked my neighbour, who is of the same age as the teenager in the video, about her stance on the matter.

Her reply was as startling as the constant petrol price increase. It was that the granny deserved the whipping for disrespecting the teenager.

“Gape ga go sa swana le kgale; dilo di fetogile (It’s not like before; things have changed).” That was her opinion.

My neighbour’s view is typical of the generation that has little knowledge of what happened in the past in terms of culture, respect and morality.

Most youth today only read about the past and this does not have any effect on them.

It is just a mumbo-jumbo generation with an “I don’t care” tendency, adopting a foreign lifestyle and waffling cultural epithets willy-nilly.

How do you justify their gloating attitude of “what I am doing is none of anybody’s business, after all I have my things and who are you to tell me otherwise?”.

My generation has been brainwashed to change into two-legged kinds of animals that sometimes dance to other cultures, but conform surprisingly mid-step when things are not working for them.

We are the people who are praying for the golden calf to bring all the riches of this world; every second looking for the material things of this universe.

It is so dangerous that we can even kill our own mothers and offspring for money.

Has anyone ever stopped to ask why have we lost our moral compass?

Our cultural values are fading by the day. Each generation has its own perception of how to do things. Our culture is being decimated and this is detrimental for the next generation.

Let us use Heritage Day to not only showcase our latest cultural clothing designs, but also create awareness about how we can reshape our morals, remove the immoral blindfold that obstructs our cultural view and strive to promote our cultural values.

As long as we keep on swimming in the muddy deep end of the immoral pool, we will surely drown in the water of cultural oblivion.

- Mogotlane is a public servant based in Limpopo.

Read more on:    crime  |  youth

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