Opinion Nothando Bhila

I KNOW of a generation, a generation that may never be in future, a generation that though it may have orally passed on its rich wealth of knowledge to the next and sustained itself this way in the past without being eroded, may not survive now.

This wealth of knowledge may be tampered with as it is with a broken telephone, where the ‘original message’ does not always get to the final recipient the way it was first communicated. I know of a generation I lament how their unmatched life method is now rendered archaic with very little or no shreds salvaged; a generation whose knowledge should have been encrypted so that their written records can be used to shape the future and perhaps help the coming generations understand their identity by understanding their past.

Indeed, this generation has a lot to appraise of the next generations, but alas, there are also hurdles, unforeseen or seen and ignored, that the next generations have to embrace and perhaps come up with possible curtails where necessary in order to survive the future. What generation am I talking about?

I am talking about a generation where what they did had a lot of meaning to it, a black and white generation. A generation where black could not be perceived as being grey or navy blue, neither was white perceived to be beige. These “absolute” understandings meant life was not as complicated as it is today. I can only imagine what the outcome will be in the years to come.

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I lament for the beloved generation that displayed what it was like to have a passion for what you do in life, not mostly driven by money, but by purpose and the good golden commandment of “doing unto others as we would love them to do unto us”.

It is this generation that afforded to work 50 years for a company, perhaps because companies also valued employees or perhaps it was a question of just being loyal, not in any way looking down at today’s employee-employer relations, as for everything under the sun there is a good and bad side to it.

A generation also that could afford to be married for 50 years and the community helped raise their children because children were regarded as the community’s children. Today’s generation is pretty much far from this. You dread to leave your children with the community because the community has become selfish and not selfless, as it can shamelessly harm your children instead of protecting them.

The stories that circulate on this are very much appalling; norms turned into anomalies. We have done away with the “good traditional ethos” of raising our children and spoil them unnecessarily in the name of being modern. We feed them with all sorts of immoral behaviour. Today’s children demand something for nothing majority of the times and hardly give something for nothing in return.

When they grow up and become a burden to not only society, but us the parents as well, we marvel and blame it on modernity and sadly chant the phrases,

“Children of today”, “Technology and its downsides” and yet there is no home or family called modernity or technology.

Multi-generational families are fast becoming a norm in today’s world. Grandparents now feature a lot, with the role of heading families as the parents of their grandchildren would have passed on due to different reasons, among which life threatening illnesses are encompassed. These then give rise to multi-generational families, among other reasons like broken marriages. The generation I lament for is a one that, as the saying goes, “fixed things when they were broken”, compared to a generation that does not always value marriage and its role in the community and the world at large.

In my opinion, it is with these realities that it is not surprising that individualism has fast become acceptable in a world where we boast of “globalisation”, the world becoming one village. Ideally, for me it is here people were conceivably supposed to be more united and perchance create a better world, but regrettably, globalisation appears to be scattering people more than it is bringing them together.

Cry the beloved generation where transparency was a noble thing in society and was dignified, thereby making it easy for people to relate and help each other without constantly suspecting the next person.

Today’s generation is a generation that would rather die than give a password to their mobile phones. It is so bad that in times of trouble befalling a person, perhaps after having fainted and in dire need of an ambulance, rescuers with no credit on their mobile phones cannot access help, them not having air time, whereas the victim’s, which has the air time cannot be used as doing so would need the victim’s password first. A people who are so full of passwords, we sometimes even forget them and find ourselves not only locking other people out from our valuables, but us too.

It is when God has blessed you well enough to come in contact with this generation I bemoan, that you begin to compare and contrast and ask if there surely was not anything good about their ways we could carry into the future and still make the modern adjustments to it and preserve the good side of our culture.