Our world has an effect to usually portray a single story and that carries the day close to all the time. A common one; the way the West idealizes Africa, they see a little good in the continent. When Africa is mentioned, the very first things to pop out of many prejudicially inspired ignorant minds are semi-civilized people living on trees, poverty, corruption, filth, malaria, ebola, conflicts and terrorism. As all these ideas may be true with varying degrees, we cannot wholistically and fairly suggest that thats all to Africa.
Africa provides the world with resources worth billions of dollars each and every year, a thing that usually stares at the blind eye. Alcohol and Cannabis are some commodities to suffer in the same light of Africa’s plight. But let’s not deviate into the goodies the two might bring in spite of their equally possible negatives. That topic is meant for another post. We tell a single story, a story with the magnifying glass positioned on the extent to which these commodities may be negative. This is usually done out of fear that the negatives may overflow.
The West has conquered this one; In Africa, the vast majority of parents do not raise issues related to sex. They do so out of how awkward the topic might sound like. If mentioned to the child at young age, a typical African parent’s utterance will more probably be like “sex is bad“. But the real fact is, sex is good, it is one of the sweetest things to happen to humanity and animalia. Its not just good but provides seeds needed to ostracize the extinction of our specie. Children are natural scientists, they are curious and may try sex regardless of what lie is told to prevent that. They end up realising with time that their feelings call for the very thing daddy or mummy iterated to be bad and could progressively fall vulnerable to the test of cat.
Now, this is where the problem of addiction is built. As soon as a child realizes you told them the opposite; that candy was bitter when in reality it was sweet, this notion appears in the mind “sex was so sweet, mum and dad wanted to enjoy alone. I will continue with the fun and make sure they never know“. Tell the child how sweet the thing is, how bitter it might be and gradually add all the consequences to that action. That’s the way to go; to make the child aware of all the possible traps leading to the issue.
I smiled when a friend who spent all his life in the US told me, his daddy gave him a pack of condoms when he attained 16. That will rarely happen in my country due to how our norms, traditions and values are structured. They are usually structured to be conservative, and such fundamentals make change or modification extremely difficult. Then, I took a task of imagination, and imagined my dad giving me a single condom at 20 and it still looked awkward. That’s the difference, the difference a single story can make to two different people living under a system which favors selective updates and the other that gives an entire picture.
Dear Parents, make us aware so we don’t get shocked to what is supposed to be normal. We need to find ourselves as people who can handle virtually every situation disregarding where we are from because of the wholistic picture of phenomena expressed to us.
Dear Media, there is more to do. Life is not always about the controversy. You need to focus on the normal too because that’s actually who we are, and that’s what we are made of. Focusing on a single side depicts specialization at the expense of the need for a general outlook to fit into the constraining tenets of modernity and globalization.
Dear Human, read, read and read wide to prevent an ignorance hinged to your authority of info, parent or media. The world has changed. Information is readily available relative to past decades. Use the library and internet. Be well informed about the wholistic culture and nature of places far beyond our galaxy. You may never know, that place could be a station for you in the future.
For a story on how dangerous a single story can be, check out Chimamanda Ngozi‘s TED Talk on the topic, the Danger of a Single Story.
Achaab Daniel Abalansa
Facebook: Achaab_dan GH