My Fascination with African Culture! by Ifeyinwa Awagu Esq

Behold the African culture! Behold the allure of familism and tough parenting! That style of living where kinship, parental authority, family bonds, and mutual interdependence hold sway. Warmth is the cord; respect is the compass; cooperation and support constitute the spine of the affiliative spirit that fuel family relationships. The family is nuclear and extended and family ties are prioritized. So frequent in celebrating robustly but hosting of feasts and festivals are collective. There is always one celebrant, but multi heads of resources from all that counts as family members. Each member contributes according to the capacity and available resources. Never alone in joy and sorrow, good mental hygiene is enabled. The individual is subsumed in the family while the family prioritizes the wellbeing of every family member. The ripples of kinship bind the community into a family. Every child is a child of the community; every adult is a parent to all children in the community. Though the burden of this bond could sometimes be overwhelming, communalism and solidarity are seen as superior to individualism.

Parental authority encompasses overt discipline, obligation, support,

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and referent. Spare the child and spoil the rod underlying parental directives. Reprimands and sanctions accompany misconduct. Love and praises are covert in the attitudes and behavior of the parents towards the children. Wisdom resides in maintaining family honor in decisions and behavior.  Obedience to parents, respect to elders of the family, and others outside the family are sources of blessings. The child takes up responsibilities in the family wellbeing  dutifully.

Behold a culture that is now more in the past than in the present! Behold the regret of individualism and soft parenting! Is the centrality of familism waning, or taking different dimensions? The extended family network is overtaken by focus on personal achievement. The community and the adults have little or nothing to add to parenting the children of the others. The parents have “invisible” competitors in providing guidance and directions to their children. The ubiquitous media abound in role models. For the children and adolescents, there is push and pull over the values ingrained in the family culture and the external influence. Some measure the standards of parental discipline and love with those of the other climes in the media content they consume. The parents have to deal with adopting parenting styles in tune with the children’s expectations or struggle with the children’s opposition to the high parenting authority. Whether soft parenting or tough parenting, the answer resides in the results reaped from global history and experiences!

My fascination with Africa lies in the beauty of her values and norms that entrench us in the realms of the essence of creation. The nature of man is cultivated in filiation and fraternity. The community of kinship with a high level of family bonds provide succor to life challenges. Would the community of ideologies be more effective than family bonds? My fascination with Africa is not nostalgic! It is the dynamism of culture which breathes with the best practices in the civilization of humanity.

Setting the Pace on Every Race; FT8

Setting the Pace on Every Race; FT8

by Anthonia Elemoso

That beautiful morning, we had listened to three facilitators talk about how we were about to embark on a tough race, but we had no imagination or idea how tough it would be.

Few hours before, we had shared our stories, experiences, and the varied but similar reasons we individually chose this particular race. Some had funny stories, some sassy attitude and some appeared intimidated listening to others’ achievements. Then we had the ones that spoke with boldness and a sprinkle of pride; some spoke beautifully and a few like me laughing loud gently sat behind waiting to see where we were headed. Little did we know that the race was going to humble us in different ways.

After those introductory speeches came a wise man called “Sly”. He stood before the class and chipped a piece of advice. “I will advise that you bond and have fun while on this (race).” It sounded generic but it was the best advice we got. It was truly race with different participants and diverse goals, but we didn’t lose sight of our togetherness. We ran together. Through the pressure, through the heat, we kept flying no defeat. Speaking of flying, our cars “flew” at different times when we had to drive to school the morning after a long night of assignments to beat the almighty Turnitin countdown. Yet, we stood, “WE PIN”.

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At various intervals we would take another route on the race to enliven ourselves and refill our tanks. We sang, we cooked, we ate, we danced, we partied, we read, we did not sleep, we tutored, we fought, we went on a getaway, had movie nights, we slept and prayed…together. And I remember our Old School Day and Trad Day!We even had a class anthem (Lol). We didn’t only study for a Masters in Media & Communication; we practically became the masters of “study and chop life balance” and we were audacious about it.

We expected the race to be refining, but we didn’t quite expect the precious stones we have turned out to be. Who would have known that a year together would birth great friendships, lot of laughter, tears, and awesome memories? Now we are celebrating marriages, promotions, relocations, childbirth, and beautiful memories together as we grow. We came to bag a degree, but we bagged a lot more; more that we will cherish forever. And, we left a mark! We were more than a class; we were and still remain a family. Thank you FT8, thank you SMC.

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-Anthonia Elemoso, FT8.

What do you want to be remembered for?

What do you want to be remembered for?
by Dr. Añulika Agina

While trying to read in a Bolt taxi I took from Ilupeju to Lekki Phase One on the 8th of March, I was ‘interrupted’ by a loquacious driver, who went on about how several men had failed to pay their fares at the end of each ride. The men would tell him, “I’ve transferred o”, “The money has gone” (while flashing their phones across his face) or “The money is not going…network problems; I’ll transfer it later”, but later never came. And so, the driver lost thousands of naira to these men. I sympathised with him, and tried again to read, but he continued talking. This time, he focused on one woman. Since he started working two years ago, only one woman has cheated him out of his eight thousand naira. He took her to the airport amidst Lagos traffic and they arrived barely 40 minutes to her departure time. She pleaded with him to hurry into the airport in order not to miss her flight. “I believed her, but she never paid me. I called and texted her several times until she said she would pay me with her body when next she was in Lagos!”

To be remembered on an International Women’s Day in such a pitiable manner is no testimony to women, but we could say that this is an isolated case. Indeed, it is! Before dismissing it too quickly, pause and think of what goes through the taxi driver’s mind whenever a female steps into his car. Why did he care to narrate his unpleasant episode to me? Undoubtedly, there are countless and unnamed inspirational women all over the world who will be remembered for the positive change that they have initiated and continue to promote. One of them is Nigeria’s Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, who now heads the World Trade Organisation (WTO). A colleague recently told me, to my amusement, that @NOIweala (to use her Twitter handle) is the real slay queen, not those who wear 100% human hair the length of a walking stick, or those who can afford the most expensive clothes or those who weaponise their bodies in different ways (no body shaming intended). Okonjo-Iweala will be remembered for the remarkable achievements she made as Finance Minister in Nigeria, and for what she is now doing in the international space at the WTO. Another woman who will be remembered for the social change she has been campaigning for is Malawi’s Memory Banda, who is fighting against child marriage in her small community and succeeding. Banda is from a humbler background and did not go to Harvard – pointers to the fact that all women can contribute positively to the common good regardless of their origin or history. Obviously, not all women will necessarily be national or international icons, but the small positive change they make wherever they are is important, should be encouraged and will be remembered by someone including a Bolt taxi driver.

In a world that seems to be dominated by the me-myself-and-I syndrome and a desire to take advantage of others to one’s personal gain, there is a lot of good that women can do in the society to reverse a self-centred approach to life. They have and can develop all it takes to be successful at home and in the public sphere, to be selfless and supportive of others, and to be proactive in the choice of their career and in attaining financial or any other kind of independence. But above all, women have all it takes to be remembered for what is noble and edifying.While trying to read in a Bolt taxi I took from Ilupeju to Lekki Phase One on the 8th of March, I was ‘interrupted’ by a loquacious driver, who went on about how several men had failed to pay their fares at the end of each ride. The men would tell him, “I’ve transferred o”, “The money has gone” (while flashing their phones across his face) or “The money is not going…network problems; I’ll transfer it later”, but later never came. And so, the driver lost thousands of naira to these men. I sympathised with him, and tried again to read, but he continued talking. This time, he focused on one woman. Since he started working two years ago, only one woman has cheated him out of his eight thousand naira. He took her to the airport amidst Lagos traffic and they arrived barely 40 minutes to her departure time. She pleaded with him to hurry into the airport in order not to miss her flight. “I believed her, but she never paid me. I called and texted her several times until she said she would pay me with her body when next she was in Lagos!”

To be remembered on an International Women’s Day in such a pitiable manner is no testimony to women, but we could say that this is an isolated case. Indeed, it is! Before dismissing it too quickly, pause and think of what goes through the taxi driver’s mind whenever a female steps into his car. Why did he care to narrate his unpleasant episode to me? Undoubtedly, there are countless and unnamed inspirational women all over the world who will be remembered for the positive change that they have initiated and continue to promote. One of them is Nigeria’s Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, who now heads the World Trade Organisation (WTO). A colleague recently told me, to my amusement, that @NOIweala (to use her Twitter handle) is the real slay queen, not those who wear 100% human hair the length of a walking stick, or those who can afford the most expensive clothes or those who weaponise their bodies in different ways (no body shaming intended). Okonjo-Iweala will be remembered for the remarkable achievements she made as Finance Minister in Nigeria, and for what she is now doing in the international space at the WTO. Another woman who will be remembered for the social change she has been campaigning for is Malawi’s Memory Banda, who is fighting against child marriage in her small community and succeeding. Banda is from a humbler background and did not go to Harvard – pointers to the fact that all women can contribute positively to the common good regardless of their origin or history. Obviously, not all women will necessarily be national or international icons, but the small positive change they make wherever they are is important, should be encouraged and will be remembered by someone including a Bolt taxi driver.

In a world that seems to be dominated by the me-myself-and-I syndrome and a desire to take advantage of others to one’s personal gain, there is a lot of good that women can do in the society to reverse a self-centred approach to life. They have and can develop all it takes to be successful at home and in the public sphere, to be selfless and supportive of others, and to be proactive in the choice of their career and in attaining financial or any other kind of independence. But above all, women have all it takes to be remembered for what is noble and edifying.

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