I was listening to Liberation Day songs yesterday and it occurred to me that it has been 25 years since the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi was stopped by the barrel of a gun.
I was also reminded that I am no spring chicken anymore. I cannot believe that I came to this beautiful country when I was a kid myself but I am now a mother of another.
On top of that, I was reminded how today’s parents and the ones of more than 25 years ago are totally different.
I think that if I was to choose, I probably would go with the old school way of parenting. There was this sense of belonging that I think lacks in today’s setting. Everyone was your cousin and every adult was your aunt or uncle.
I grew up an era where the neighbourhood parents would scold you if they found you on the roadside doing silly things. I grew up during the time when any parent from your community dragged you home if they found you roaming around at what they considered a late hour. Today, you cannot scold someone’s child without dealing with their parents who are not too happy about that.
Oh how times have changed!
I realised just the other day that I had never talked to my neighbours yet I had lived in the same house for five years. In fact, I have no idea what they look like. I am sure I am not alone.
But what really happened?
Well, it is easy to blame the dynamics of life in the past being different from those of today and to an extent, that is true, but I think the bigger part of the issue is that we stopped trying.
Yes, our jobs have taken over. Everything is getting more and more expensive and the stress of that life has left a toll on us and how we related to others.
Technology has blinded us to the fact that a WhatsApp message, even when sent every day, cannot compare to a human-to-human touch.
Our stone fences and metallic gates go higher and higher every day. We do not visit our friends or families unless there is a wedding or a funeral.
Our children have no one to run around with and are limited to gadgets, instead of the healthy child play that every kid deserves.
We may not go back to the good old days but we surely can fight to see that some simple old African community traditions of togetherness do not become extinct. It starts with me.