Drinking holes of the past were better than today’s

12th February 2018
THE FIRE PLACE
Column

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By MATSHIDISO FOLOGANG


Have roles in performing certain family chores changed? As I grew up in the village in the extended family setup, roles played by each member of the family were clearly and fully defined. Each and every member of the family had a role to play. The society also had a number of expectations on all who lived in it. Life lived then was communal. Every parent was a parent to all the children irrespective of whether he knew them by name or not. In every village, brewing of mokuru, bojalwa, mjwala or khadi was done and those were times when parents could not share phafana with those young enough to be their own children. It was a taboo to do so. Is this still so? The parents played a critical role in the socialization of all children in the society.

The parents raised the children in a manner that made them rounded human beings. As they reached the age considered reasonably old enough to perform chores done by older brothers and sisters and particularly at teenage stage, children were introduced to duties and chores like cooking and looking after family cattle and goats. Girls prepared meals for the family. The boys were posted to the far cattle posts to learn the traditional animal husbandry. These were times when we got our water from the nearby river and or man-made small dams or wells. Boys and girls were duty bound to fetch water as part of the norm. As our societies progressed, we had to go to the public stand pipes (motobetso in Serowe or dipompo in Ramotswa).

This drawing of water was done mostly in the late afternoons. Here all village stories were told by girls. Girls were expected to return to their homes and prepare evening meals for their families. Preparations of meals started much earlier as corn had to be stamped (go seta or go thuga - depending where you grew up). Such was life and no young girl or boy dared defy this order of things. It was here that courting started but unlike in the 21st century Botswana, such behaviour attracted public rebuke should any parent suspect such. It was here that however, marriages also started. Remember the Setswana saying, “Mma motse o bonwa mantlwaneng.” There was general order and good behaviour and parents equally simply played their role as expected of them by the society. There was nothing like child abuse, if there ever was, it was never as rampant as it is reported lately.

We however cannot forever stick to things of the yesteryears but we should preserve those that served us well as society. We have to move with the times as the saying goes. We are the dot.com society and the Choppies era people. We have moved with the times. But there are important things like the Botho we learnt from these activities, which we should continue to uphold. I have realized lately that if you went through all the major villages or peri-urban centres you will have realized that in each of such centres there are drinking holes and or night clubs. Parents have abandoned their roles of raising children communally. Child-raising is dead. Parents mingle with their children at these drinking holes. Younger ones have no elder sisters and brothers to guide them. Both the parents and the elder siblings are no longer available for guidance. The modern drinking spots have become places of courting, which, perhaps, could be the prime cause of the moral decay in our society today.




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