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CULTURE AND SEXUALITY: Why my Grand mama remains the best! Printable Version PRINTABLE VERSION
by VICTOR RASUGU, Kenya Oct 26, 2007
Culture , Health   Opinions


CULTURE AND SEXUALITY: Why my Grand mama remains  the best! Growing up in the village can be exiting like you can never imagine. Everyday packaged itself in a different style but the grand mother was always the same. Waking up in the morning was at times frustrating especially on a weekend. Grand mama was always there for us to give assurance that the day will be exiting. Before going to the field to graze the animals over the weekends, we could dig into a heavy meal and conclude the session with a loud belch. After that we walked down the river with swollen tummies that threatened to find their way into the t-shirts. This was always shortly followed with whistling and tradition songs. Each one of us had a grazing stick in the hand for defense purpose. As a good servant, bull fights were always a tradition. Where the bulls were not ready for the fight, we could substitute with wrestling and rope pulling.

In the evening, all the frustrations of the day ended around a fire place and this culminated into drinking of traditional yoghurt popularly known as adila. After this, stories could roll on to the stage of the saluting grass thatched house where the stars could be seen from the sitting room but that was never our concern.

Sexuality education dominated most of our sessions inform of riddles, tongue twisters, poems and oral narratives. Although this was done over one and a half decades ago, the facilitation process and enthusiasm of the participants remain very refreshing putting into mind that my grand mother was never in a corner of a class room to learn facilitation skills. We were often warned against being lured with goodies and getting involved in premarital sex at a tender age. Ladies were not welcomed into male-grand mama talks as the grandfather took care of them.

One Thursday evening remains the most permanent day in my memory. My dad was out in the field and when he came back, a fight broke between him and mum. After almost five minutes of fight, mum managed to escape from the brutality and straight into the housel this was when I realized the strength of a woman (grand mama). The dad was hit with a walking stick as part of disciplinary action and out he was ordered.

Although brought up in a typical African setting, the grand mama was always anti violence against women. Her argument was always that women were the heart of any family and could break or make the family. For this a woman needed to be treated with dignity, respect care and love. Going to the kitchen was a normal norm among all the grand children irrespective of sex. Failure to effect your chore in the kitchen only worsened your participation in the grand children’s assembly in the evening as you could not escape her wrath.

Today, many youth are consigned in town either with their parents or searching for employments. The society has lost the touch of grand mothers. While the evening assemblies served as a discussion joint to exhibit your power in creativity, the modern society has assigned this task to television sets and story books.

Many parents rely on teachers to teach sexuality education to their children. Recognising the fact that this is important, we tend to forget that teachers too are parents. As a result, sexuality education is covered in a remote way in many learning institutions and homes. Young people as a result learn about sexuality from their peers and the entire society without filtering what is facts from myths.

Talking to young people about sexuality education will immensely improve their knowledge on reproductive health. Contrary to the argument that this will increase their knowledge on sexuality and they are likely to “try this at home”, sexuality education has overwhelming gains, if properly packaged, it will be enable the youth to make correct and sounding decisions about their reproductive health. This should be the first and deliberate steps families to be employed at the family level to reverse the current trends on increasing teenage pregnancy, abortion, HIV/AIDS infection, drug and substance abuse.

Upholding moral standards in the society as it were in the pre and early post colonial days packed in the legislation of Sexual Offences Act and Children’s Act is also a key foot towards reversing the upsurge cases on defilement and rape. Sexual violence is an act that is quickly reversing the gains and progress we have made as a society in empowering women and the girl child.

I call upon the society to unite and embrace women leadership and open equal opportunities for male and female empowerment as projected in the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) and the millennium development goals (MDGs). Until we do this, development in Africa will remain remote and out of reach.

As a matter of urgency, all families should domesticate gender issues into their planning, decision making and resource management.



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Victor Rasugu is a reproductive health activist committed to entrenchment of accessible and affordable sexual reproductive health services at all levels.

Awesome work
Brenda T | Jan 8th, 2008
Victor, This is an awesome article. You have done a great job of intertwining the importance of sex education and the family unit. Thank you so much for sharing. You should consider using ethnographic research methods and the narrative inquiry approach in your work. You already use the narrative approach, and your thought processes lend themselves to going to the next step! (Maybe you should be the one preparing to run for the presidency... it's just a thought.) This is a 5 star piece! Bravo! Edifien, Brenda Thonsgaard-Flores - Kisumu Project group

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