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Growing Up African: My Funny Childhood Memories

african kids

Most people who grew up with African parents normally know that they are no-nonsense and would instill discipline at any given opportunity. They strongly believe that this is the only way kids could be shaped to be upright adults. From household chores, beatings when you do mistakes to the running of various errands; I simply experienced it all. Sometimes I even wonder if the beatings I received back in the days shaped me to become who I am today. Well, I’m not sure if the beatings shaped me in certain ways, but I learned a few lessons that still help me to date.

Discipline Was a Community Affair

First of all, every elder in the village was a parent, so you were expected to endure lectures on how to live your life. This, you had to do without raising any question. Dare raise a contradicting view and the narration of how rude you are will spread very fast in the entire community. In fact, other families would even warn their children to stay away from you. You would be described as a petulant ingrate although that wouldn’t bother you much.

Your main concern would just be not to embarrass your mother who would usually give you specific instructions not to always adhere to. What you put on, what you said, how you laughed while out, and even how you breathed was of great interest to your African mother {my mother in this context}.

At this moment, it would just be imperative to note that laughing out too loudly, laughing too often, and laughing when no one thought what you were laughing at was funny were characters left to the girls. As a boy, I was not allowed to partake in any of those characters. Now, when bad reports of how you laughed like a mad person got to your parents, your father would call a village press conference and disown you. That’s when the news of you being a miracle child born out of immaculate conception would spread in the whole village.

Your parents would even come to school to tell your teachers to beat you up until you behaved. But it was double jeopardy because they would also beat you at home for the mistakes you did at school. Teachers, in their quest to prove parenting capabilities would also bring up things you did at the start of the month whenever your parents came to school.

Religion and education were right up there and you couldn’t afford to have anything but good news from both school and church. In church, the Africans had certain topics in mind that they expected the preachers to talk about. These were topics that touched on laziness, bad manners, and stubbornness. They will always spot you and pose the “You hear that?” question.

Moods Were Everything

Your parents had moods that kept on changing. Jokes were not to be lightly shared with the parents without processing them first to take away the obscenity hints. You had to observe the moods of your parents before making any request. This was the time you would request for the nights out, and still never got a straight answer. They would only agree if you say a friend of yours, whom they trust more than you would be there.

Sex Was a Taboo

This was the most interesting part of it all. All the African parents tried to avoid relationship and sex, even though their entire machinations were meant to bar you from having sex. Dating was a taboo, too. But you could give it a try upon attaining a certain age, which was never clear but along the lines of “when you get your own house”. Those who were caught in the act would be beaten into repentance. There was no lecture or talk about the inner workings of sex. You just had to figure it out on your own.

Growing up in an African household is an experience that can’t be traded for anything. The parents would apply anything that could cause you momentary pain. And that was my African childhood memories…

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