Change the Culture

There was a shocking story on NTV (Nation Television Kenya) recently about a teenager being forced out of her community for birthing twins. The girl in question was just sixteen and the news segment barely mentioned this fact or the emotional turmoil the girl must be facing. It focused, expectedly, on the most shocking part of the story. How is it that in this day and age a bizarre cultural practice such as killing twins is still acceptable? No, that is the wrong way to put it. Let me try this again and in the same anger. How is it that such a bizarre cultural practice is still in the minds of our communities? Why is it a world view or a thought or an idea when we have already grasped and understood the concept of birth? Haven’t we debunked the myth of twins and their existence? Can’t the same be said for all other crazy cultural practices?

It is not acceptable. When an explanation can be sought, no lives should be lost for another’s superstition. Something needs to change and we need to start by asking, where is the problem?

But let me not rob you of anger by not explaining the story in its entirety. The matter is currently under investigation, according to the news bulletin. It all occurred in Bungoma where the girl was chased away by her father-in-law for giving birth to the twins. In Bukusu culture, having twins for a first born is seen as a bad omen of things to come and therefore they could not accept it. She ending up hiding in a Maize plantation where it is said that exposure is what finally killed the little ones.  You may choose to focus on the fact that this was done to her barely a day after birth and she had to struggle to run away. You may choose to focus on the fact that innocent lives were lost. Or that she was barely of age herself. I was most disturbed with one particularly aspect to the story. And it was that the father in law defended himself and his actions by stating ‘culture.’

There were so many wrongs done in that single night while majority of us continued to do nothing. It is about time we realized that there is a serious problem. Somewhere along with the advancements in technology, education, infrastructure and all of it, man is still clinging to horrible cultural practices. Ask yourself why ideas and notions of the past, that can be easily disputable in today’s society, are still ‘defended’ with anger and self-pride by different cultures? We are not growing together.

Clearly not much is being done to educate both the young and the old. We allow ourselves to be divided into ‘communities’ to maintain some form of notoriety when none of it is warranted. All it does is block off education, experience and knowledge from those in need of it when global interaction would have changed so much. Haven’t the Chinese moved forward from Foot Binding? Don’t women vote? Isn’t slavery now considered a gross violation of human rights? The longer we continue to think tribal the longer such practices will continue. There should be no more Bukusu and any other name we want to give ourselves because we are all the same. We are all human. And when you think about it further you realize that little twins who were so readily discarded in this culture would have been a blessing in another. If that is not madness, I don’t know what is.

If we can include one another in a global mindset, then we can ‘pick a culture’ that protects Human Rights. Society is still defining itself and will continue to do so ages into the future. Now is the time to Change The Culture and protect the lives and hopes of others.



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