Recalling what it was like, growing up in a typical African home, I couldn’t help but wonder and ponder how we all went through it. It was really a mixed grill of fun and severity. The good thing about it is that though it has its demerits, and may now seem so unpleasant to the westernized, that mode of upbringing did us a lot of good than bad.
I will not fail to point out that there must be variations across different African cultures, on how they bring up their children. However, there are some indisputable characteristics that I would say are almost general to every typical African home.
16 Unmistakable Characteristics of Every Typical African Home
1. No Challenge – Our Parents Are Always Right
“After God, na our parents be the number two”. In fact, I’ll say that they are our gods on earth; call them demigods and you are not far from the truth! And who are you to challenge or argue with them, no matter how correct you think you are about the issue in question? In every African home, parents are reverenced and never believed to be wrong. Majority of them will never openly admit their mistakes and when the few humble ones ever do, the children would hardly believe their ears.
2. Extended Family Lifestyle – Relatives are Welcome Anytime
Africans could hardly find a reason to turn out a visiting relative. You need not give an advance notice of your coming nor do you need to be closely related to the family. Sometimes, this can turn out to be very funny. Our parents would always find a relationship definition for every Dick and Harry that visits home. Sometimes you may end up not even getting anything out of the whole line of story, but you’ll just pretend you understood and have no option other than receive the fellow with open hands, ready to share your bed, food, and some other belongings as long as he or she stays. It happened sometime that one of my notorious cousins who was banned from coming to our house was still welcomed when she visited again on several occasions. LoL!
3. Physical Punishments is a Must – Spare the Rod, Spoil the Child
As a child in an African home, once you commit any “crime”, your heart will continue to pound because you already know the reward of your offence. Forms and severity of punishments for offences vary from family to family, the offences that attract the greatest punishment are usually that of insulting your parents and stealing. A child possibly receives as much as 36 strokes of the cane for such offences. Things like talking back at your parents, walking out on them, some gestures like rolling the eyes, shrugging the shoulders, hissing or pointing fingers at your senior are considered very abominable. In fact, it is not even allowed show any form of annoyance when you are being scolded by a parent because such is an offence. There are so many bizarre and funny ways African parents punish their kids that are almost unimaginable in civilized homes today.
See Also: 5 Most Weird Nigerian Cultural Practices
4. Being the Oldest Child = Responsibility
To be the oldest child in an African home is so tasking that it is second as cumbersome as being a parent. You’ll be ready to take the blame for anything that goes amiss in the absence of your parents. You are supposed to keep a keen eye on your younger ones no matter how many they are. If they fight, you are to blame; if they get injured, you are to blame; they visit the wrong places, you are to blame; the house is untidy, you are to blame; unwanted visitors are welcomed, you are to blame…, the list is just endless! As an African child, it’s not a funny birth position at all.
5. “Do They Have Two Heads?” Is a Common Question
Whenever we recall how our mum used to ask if other kids who they feel behave better or work harder than us had more than one head, we can’t help but plunge into rib cracking laughter! Be it in academics, house chores, public comportment, courtesy, etc that a child did better, your parents would want to tear out your ears from your head. They’ll be like:
That boy/girl who prostrates while greeting, that one that fills all the drums in the house before being told to do so, that one that took the first position in your class…, does he/she have two heads?”