I am lucky I was born in this era and I believe it, having listened to the stories that transpired times before my being.I dodged the bullet of oppression and so much more.
I remember visiting my relatives a long while back, over a decade ago to be precise. My father’s village is within some of the remotest and backward parts of my country. This means it is not easily navigable hence we always get to visit my aunts after years.
It was on such a trip that I got to ask after my cousins and got the shock of my life. My cousin Zinhle, and I were age mates and it was always a pleasure getting together after our long separation and filling each other as to the happenings exciting in our lives since we parted. I was also looking forward to the play games I would teach her and the ones I would take back home with me to wow my friends with.
So, to be told that she was not around was a turn off. Who was I going to spend my day with? I inquired where she might have wondered off to after convincing my self that she had probably just been visiting some close friends. the reply I got shocked the life out of me! She was apparently married!
I mean, come on!could they not come up with a better joke? How could a 12-year-old girl be married? Pospesterous! I left it at that and decided to ask my aunt later on, she was obviously the one person who would nt joke around and will tell me where Zinhle was.Better yet, she might arrive with her later in the evening maybe, they had gone on their trip together.
evening came and only my aunt arrived and I asked her where my cousin was. She told me she had her own house now since she was married. It just didn’t make sense at all because every one in he house hold did not see any thing wrong with the picture. She said it with such pride!
I probed more with an attempt to show them the plight my cousin was in. I could not believe she had willingly agreed to this sham of a marriage. I was certain she was abducted and was angry none of them had reported to the authorities! I asked my father later the following day about it and he explained to me that sadly the society there still upheld some very old ways. I was crushed!
How can a parent be content with abduction as an okay way to part with a beloved daughter, robbed off a chance to celebrate their separation and the entry into a societal rite of passage. When did it become okay for a child to make such a live changing decision and say she wants to elope with a man she barely knows!
There was still a long way to go for my fathers people and I just felt a part of me die. My stay became a torment because they decided to even threaten me with the possibility of finding a suitor for me to whisk me before the summer ended. I became afraid of my very own shadow and pleaded with my father to curtail our visit.
I was happy I had a father who provided the education and home he did for us way far in the city. True, its paramount that we all know our roots as its part of what shapes you as an individual character and all. I escaped a life I am certain was never meant for.