When tradition and culture refuse to evolve

When tradition and culture refuse to evolve
Princess Sikhanyiso Dlamini (C), the first born daughter of Swaziland's King Mswati III, dances during the annual reed dance at the royal residence of Ludzidzini at Lobamba village near Mbabane, Swaziland, 31 August 2008. Courtesy Photo

British guy: “Is the Kabaka this bloke that’s been goin’ round sleeping with loads of women just so he can get a boy?”

Ugandan: “Ahem. It’s not really that simple. You see, in our culture,” With words like these is the fate of social and economic development in Uganda sealed.

I remember a time in now developed countries when it was okay to marry a sixteen year old girl. I remember a time when a woman could not hold a position of responsibility and were repressed as a matter of course.

I remember a time when it was ‘culture’ for empires to colonise whole continents and turn the native population into slaves. A time when it was okay for them to head over to Africa and shop for workers.

In time, all of that changed. Because it became unnecessary, inconvenient and sometimes carried dire and unpleasant consequences. Be they financial or social-economic in nature.

That, Ugandans, is what culture should be all about. Culture is a representation of the times.

Let’s review the times Ugandans are living in today, shall we?

Last week a family of five were burned in their beds by their neighbours who accused them of practicing witchcraft. Witchcraft is still a legitimate practice because it is ‘our culture.’

The week before on Bukedde Television, footage was shown of a crowd carrying out mob justice on a suspected thief. Clearly captured were the faces of men battering him with metal poles. The police showed up and took the body away.

Culture

And then a king had a son. The public and the church welcomed this new child because all children should be celebrated.

Ugandans disappointed with this event were told to wake up, smell the coffee and ‘accept your culture.’

Observing the reaction of the public to the Kabaka’s new son, I see a disturbing effect of the actions of this royal symbol.

Men are coming out to remind women that it is in ‘our culture’ to have a woman on the side. It is okay to marry in a religious or legal institution and ‘step out’. Ugandans are being reminded to re-embrace their ‘African heritage.’

It is clear now that people who think like this are sitting in public offices, working in corporate institutions and running kingdoms.
Refusing to progress with the times and are keeping Uganda behind.

Fidelity is not there just to stifle all that sexiness the African man wants to show off. It’s also there to protect you from sexually transmitted diseases.

Also, unless you’re the Kabaka, you can’t afford more than one wife, or run more than one household.

This culture that has just been satiated by the Kabaka is also unnecessary. We live in a time where if you want a boy so bad, you can head over to a fertility clinic with your wife and arrange it.

We also live in a time where it is backward to even suggest that a princess cannot sit on a throne so the excuse of other women to give birth to a boy comes into play.

At this point, I must be blunt. It is not possible to have a boy without a woman pushing it out of her body for you. If she’s good enough for that, I fail to see why she isn’t good enough to sit where he would sit if he never came into existence.

by Lindsey Kukunda