Conformity: Family and Traditions Essay

Submitted By Gikonyo1
Words: 1090
Pages: 5

A few years ago-I mean very few-when growing up; I was surrounded by many great people. Coming from the central and coldest place in my country near the hills; Aberdare ranges, it was often known that a child and especially from my tribe, Kikuyu, belonged to the community. Child rearing was, still is communal: responsibility for the children was shared among aunts, uncles, grandparents, and other members of the community. Children were grouped into "age sets" with peers born in the same year. Members of a given age set formed a special bond, and underwent initiation rituals as a group. . Boys and girls had fairly separate upbringings. Each was taught the duties and obligations specific to their sex: boys were schooled in the ways of herding or working in the fields while a girl child learnt early how to carry water, cook, and care for children. She was to be guarded and be taught on how to become a better woman in the community, a better wife and mother. She was to be guided in to becoming a strong, independent and responsible “African Woman”.
Now, as a young girl, a lot had changed compared to a while ago when everything was customs based. My parents and the community in particular had welcomed development. They believed that traditions can always be changed as long as the changes would bring a positive impact in the community. They started with making changes by accepting that a girl child could not only study until primary school, but could go ahead and complete her high school and even university if they wanted to. My grandmother said to me “Let education be your mother and father”. Women didn’t have such a chance. They were held by cultures, beliefs and traditions. Part of those were still instilled me. Like my grandfather said “Do not ever forget where you come from”.
And then I grew up, I completed high school and had to go to the university back to the town; the capital city of Kenya. It was like a new whole world that I never knew existed. Everything was different. People followed their own rules or made up their own rules, I think. The teachings from back home were impossible to follow. It was so hard to fit in. In my quest to fit in, I met some women. They were from different communities. Different cultures, beliefs and traditions. I had heard a lot about them. Wife inheritance, female circumcision and sharing the same bed with a corpse for example if your wife or husband died before they were buried were some of the traditions. They were despised and many did not want to mingle with them including me. But the only reason I did not want to mingle with them was only because of hearsay, I had not socialized, neither had I even spent a second with any of the women. Yes their culture was different but they were as human as anyone could be. Not to forget that they were strict in following their cultures and did not care about anyone’s opinions, the thing that actually made me want to be part of their life. They were very intelligent and had a mind of their own and were nothing like it had been said. They had a mind of their own .They appreciated their culture but dint follow the extreme part of it. The truth of the matter was that while it was expected of them to follow their traditions, they were also given a choice. They too, had heard about our community and had their opinions. As time passed by, we all discovered how wrong we were. We discovered that we passed judgment on people based on unfounded information.
Many are times that people just come up with information based on their own feelings. They pass it along to other people through let’s say just talking to others with malicious intention or no intention at all. The truth is, information gets passed. Everything I heard about my friends’ community and everything they had about our community was simply not true. The whole experience was an eye opening. We discovered that it is very easy to miss out on great