What you need to know:
- Nowadays, unlike the old good days, people are not interested and have no time to learn their culture.
- The good thing, however, is that the custodians of culture are very willing to transfer this knowledge us.
During the recent midterm break, I made a weekend sojourn to the village. Comments of how big I had grown were common. However, one thing struck me: I realised I only knew a stammering of the cultural practices of my clan.
There was a family gathering and a dowry ceremony. A goat was slaughtered in the traditional way. I was astonished to hear that men, women and in-laws eat different parts of the meat.
Also, there were new symbols and words spoken by elders and I had to ask the meaning of some phrases. Although I felt guilty of not knowing my culture, it gave me food for thought.
I was sure I am not the only one who is ignorant of the ways of my people. Culture is what defines a society.
Cultural knowledge seems to be dying. Why? Nowadays, unlike the old good days, people are not interested and have no time to learn their culture.
Technological advancements have kept people glued to their devices, robbing them of time to interact with senior clan members who are repositories of culture. The good thing, however, is that the custodians of culture are very willing to transfer this knowledge us.
It is sad that 15-year-olds do not know the basic words of their mother tongue. Their parents have been speaking to them in English and Kiswahili since birth.
Parents should teach children their culture and speak to them in their mother tongue.
Culture is a source of identity to a people. People who share the same language and culture identify themselves as one. This enhances unity. Most importantly, culture instils life skills and moral values in a person.
Cultures stipulate what is to be done and what is taboo. If this is strictly executed, crime rates would go down. When I returned to the city from the village, I vowed to always create time to learn my culture.
This is a clarion call to all young people to help in preserving our cultures. In my view, culture can only be kept alive if parents and elders pass it down to as many young people as possible.
Raxy,14, is a Form One student at Alliance High School, Kikuyu.
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