A Culture Destroyed: The Black Family (Part One)
When I was in grade four, a task was given at school to build a family tree that included our parents, our grandparents, and great grandparents up until the sixth generation. I was excited because I did not know much about my extended family outside of uMama, uMamkhulu noGogo.
I remember running home and showing my mother this project however, my excitement was short-lived when my family tree had no grandfathers and only went as far as my great grandmother. From my father’s side of the family, it had nobody. I was shattered, for the first time in my life, up until that point, I felt a sense of dysphoria and not belonging. I chose to brush it off and went to school and it hurt me to see the other children’s detailed family trees. It felt like they knew who they were and had a true sense of imvelaphi yabo; I deeply desired that.
Culture is fundamental to the growth of a community of people. All across the globe, the leading nations of economic wealth have their own culture at the foundation of their core belief. Culture is defined as, “The morally required social behaviors, ideologies, and common goals held by a group of people of similar ethnic, religious, or spiritual descent.”
The common thread of all these fundamental cultural beliefs is family. The family is a sacred bloodline that requires the creators, a father, and a mother, to work together to ensure a successful outcome for their offspring. It is a formula that is non-negotiable in the pursuit and procurement of generational wealth. The knowledge is our roots and without the root, the family tree will die.
The ancient wisdom that lives within our families helped them navigate, survive and conquer the world for thousands of years. That wisdom, that ability to honour and value family exists in all of us.
The core of emancipation begins at home and how children are raised. In Africa, this ideal was the blueprint of all creation: Ausar, Auset, and Heru; The father, the mother, and the child. The original African holy trinity – the blueprint of creation, a benevolent father and mother who work together for the collective prosperity of their children and the bloodline. It is the foundation of any culture of people. Conquerors deeply understand this so, in their pursuit of a long-lived conquest, the culture of the conquered, the Afrikan must remain hidden or be destroyed.
In this article, I focus on the father.
The major implementation of imperialist regimes is to destroy the Black family at its core. In the world of today, this ideal is maintained. Healthy family structures ensure a higher probability of healthy outcomes for the future, and they are at the core of the development of a nation. Once the core is destroyed, the rest will follow suit.
The destruction of the Black family begins by removing the father figures. It was implemented first during slavery. Men were stripped of their role as protectors and providers as they watched their families being separated, killed, and sold to colonial slave masters.
In South Africa, Black families are displaced from land ownership, and men had to assimilate into migrant labour and travel to industrial areas to work in mines and factories to feed their families. Black homes were left with single-mother households, hunger, voids of abandonment, and neglect. A colonial design to destroy our people and so how is it that even hundreds of years after slavery and colonization we are still living in this design? We cannot blame colonizers forever.
Prior to colonization, you Black men were farmers, traders, engineers, artists, scientists, healers, soldiers, knights, Kings and Pharaohs. Black men you were leaders in their community. You were fathers to their children. You walked as the sun’s reflection, and they loved and honoured the Black woman.
However, that has all changed with the structures of the present day that promote single-mother households and replace the responsibility of fathers providing for their children as the government has volunteered that role through grant beneficiary programs. Poverty also plays a significant role. It psychologically affects men who are unemployed and unable to provide. Men are the providers and protectors of a family to that I add a nation. It is part of the divine blueprint of masculinity and when it is unable to manifest as it was designed by uMvelingqangi, it results in the opposite expression of provide and protect; it creates men who are a danger to our homes and our communities on a mental and physical level. Physical coping mechanisms of this reality in men lead to increased alcohol abuse, criminal and violent behaviour.
When the men are lost and do not remember that they are part of the holy trinity and that they must work together with the women and the children; we live in broken homes, broken communities, and are a broken nation. We are unable able to organise as a result of a lack of culture because that would inform our shared goal which is the prosperity of our children. Once organized, we can collectively deconstruct colonial systems designed to oppress us such as poverty and land ownership.
It begins at home; it begins with remembering the family tree and knowing who your ancestors were so you may know who you are and live in truth.
When Black children grow up in broken homes, broken communities, and when they learn culture from the very same systems built to destroy them, we perpetuate the cycle of generational poverty, generational trauma, and generational violence, and this cycle will continue to perpetuate until we have absolutely nothing left.
In part two & we will look the woman and the child