I grew up at a time when a child was everyone’s child. A time when an elderly mother would be brought to a halt in the street upon a child‘s cry, a time when fathers would carry out their obligations on every child in society.
I bemoan those days when every child was every parent’s child.
But, hey, gone are those days, for they have died out.
Now we live in a world where the best children can get is child labour, child abuse, pedophiles and sexual abuse by close relatives. If this is what the world has to offer, then I question who is going to shield those children.
A while ago, I read in The Telegraph a story of a 36-year-old Mmopane woman who is facing allegations of pouring hot water on a five-year-old child as a form of punishment. Frankly speaking, I do not condone any form of violence being directed to children and I feel this woman indeed has a case to answer.
How can a real mother hire a child to babysit another child? That is the cruellest form of abuse.
We live in a world where children are no longer everyone’s child but, instead, some morally bankrupt adults want to turn them into miniature breadwinners, husbands or wives.
There is a group of sinister mothers who engage in a very disturbing practice, that of employing small children to care for other smaller children, not to mention their protection of family members who are caught sexually abusing little children.
Many times, women protect men who do these despicable things because they fear that things might get worse for them should an abusive husband, brother or uncle be jailed for abusing a child.
This cannot be a role that a real woman should play.
Then there are those women, who, without any shame, initiate sexual relations with children barely in their teens.
In the old days, a woman was every child’s mother just as much as every man was every child’s father. Yet today mothers and fathers abuse not only other people’s children but their very own.
We have sadly become nuclear families where parents only care about their own offspring; dead is the once safe, social practice of the African extended family.
Nowadays mothers in our society turn young boys into sex machines; just to gratify their voracious craving for sex. Adult women preying on young boys and young men, luring them with jewelry, money and clothes in order to sexually exploit them.
What is even more depressing is that most boys don’t even realize that they are being abused by these older women, who use them for experimental purposes enjoying the advantage of power that comes from being the adult in the relationship.
Then you wonder if it is everyone’s child, when these women slip past the radar of society’s censure?
A more intimidating extension to this is that of pre-arranged marriages between elderly men and young girls barely in their teens.
Some have gotten to the extent of exchanging beer mugs with their ten-year-old children.
What a shame; parents denying children the privilege of enjoying their youth.
I turn back to look at the days gone by when everyone would take their post of duty in society. Where you would get discipline from any elderly person, if you were caught misbehaving.
But now it’s no longer the case; the so-called fathers and mothers turn a blind eye. It is sad that the once caring parents and elders of our societies have watched and also perpetrated some of these deplorable acts on children they are supposed to bring up collectively.
It is the parents who must bring back to life that concept of everyone’s child in our society.