In Africa and the black race as a whole, old age is regarded as a priceless fortune. So our elderly people are treated with every ounce of care and respect. In some African tribes and families, grand old parents are seen as having divine attributes. This is because their prayers and blessings are believed to be more efficient. They are the closest link to our ancestors.
In times past, were known to be the mouthpiece of the community. Their words were the compass with which the African society navigated the realities of day to day lives. Modernity has affected this practice in some way. Today certain tribes respect and adore money instead of elderly wisdom.
The respect and regard for old age in Africa has been strongly reinforced through the upbringing of an African child. This always leads to the children growing up to take care of their parents in their old age. This ideology towards life in Africa has contributed immensely to the scarcity of ‘old people’s homes’ in the African continent.
These old people remind us of the journey we all must take – the journey of experiences. Their sagging skin and weak joints are a testimony to the glory and divinity of old age. And so we must keep them around and respect their opinions.
Old people are not meant to be in secluded homes (Old peoples shelter) while we run off into a world without their guidance. The day we will begin to have old people homes in interior Africa is the day our society will breathe its last.
By Chukwuka Nduneseokwu