In Africa we share NOT
Having grown up in a big extented family, I was taught to share from a very young age. Everything my parents gave me, I was ordered to share with my younger brother or with any of my cousins. This kept on all through my childhood days untill I was grown up. It was only then that I realised my parents just wanted to teach me to share with others. I developed a belief that everyone has to share and it became evident that whatever I was given as a child, I had to share with someone.
The world has changed, technology has arrived even in villages, development is taking place and of course, apparently people too have change along the road of progress.When I came to university in 2010, I got the lesson and shock of my life when I met a friend who told me that this is Windhoek and everything is expensive so you don’t give anything to anyone. That was after I gave a share of our lunch that she and I shared, to another student. Well what was I to do, I could only say that being stingy is not good.
This was just the beginning of reality. I have lived in Windhoek for several years. During this time I have experienced and seen many things showing that we have lost our compassion. People do not want to share anything. You live only by yourself and that’s it. What a world are we living in? What happened to sisterly and brotherly love even if we are not from the same mothers? Gone are days when the saying “In Africa we share” made sense in our societies.
The people in Windhoek say every person must have his or her own things. As for students, their mothers must provide for them too because apparently everyone is struggling. Oh, well, everyone is struggling and mothers must provide and of course you can Google why you must not share your things with anyone. Your Google search will give you even more than a 100 interesting and valid reasons why you must not share but one point that we are missing is that we are Africans, with or without technology. We are still living in a developing state and not everyone has food and not everyone’s parents can afford lunch for their kids everyday. Not everybody is lucky to have working parents. And not everybody has everything they need to use every day.
You wil find young parents nowadays telling their kids not to give even only a slice of bread to the kid next door. In my years of growing up, there never was a parent who chased the neighbour’s child away when they were about to serve lunch. That was an absolute No No and a strict social taboo.
Ok, let me put this into context in the broader picture. Namibia’s gini coefficient (The measure of the gap between the rich and the poor from 0 to 1) is at 0.6 (60%) which is quite big. That means the poor in Namibia are very poor and the rich are very rich. Does not this simple statistic provide ample reason why we need to share?
In earlier days, people shared the little they had and all the kids eventually grew up. I will make sure that whenever I give something to my son, he has to share with other kids if there are any around. Not because he has plenty, of course not, but because sharing is healthy. Not only does it put a smile on the other person’s face, but it trains us not to be selfish in any manner. Knowledge, food, kind words, and all that we can share without hurt, are beautiful.
Train yourself in sharing with others. Teach your kids to develop a culture of sharing and trust me, they will soon see it does not hurt. You don’t have to be rich in order to share with others. Let’s not let down our forefathers who once lived by the motto “In Africa we share”.