Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Africans Are Still Afflicting Widows.


In the book of Exodus, God gives this edict to the Israelites “Ye shall not afflict any widow, or fatherless child.” While this was a direct prohibition given to Israelites, the concept is still valid to every society and culture with any modicum of morality. Hellas, as you travel around Africa, you see that widows are still being maltreated. One would think that with traveling overseas, Africans will be wiser, but they seem to carry the same old backward and wicked treatment of widows abroad. I will lay the foundation of this lesson with an anecdote. A young man just died in Georgia. During his wake, friends and families gathered and were raising money. The coordinators insisted that the mother of the defunct should be the one to stand in the middle to receive the “farotage” (braggadocio-donations). One of them even said this is “because we believe the mother is the better person to take care of the kids.” All of this with the young wife sitting right there. I cringe in my spirit and flashbacks cinematographically reminded me of the past.

That statement is not only educationally ignorant in itself, legally out of place but also socially inconsiderate. It is ignorant because every mother has strong ties and feelings for their child. We know there are exceptions, but in general, every mother will feel for their child. And this young woman is no different! Secondly, they lived together up to having kids. That qualifies her for Common Law Marriage although not in Georgia since Georgia stopped recognizing it in 1997. However, the community knew him as having a wife or concubine. While she may not have borne his last name, or they might not have filed taxes, one thing is clear that everyone in the community knew and knows that she was the wife. That alone should qualify her the Putative Spouse Status because surely she knew she was in a marriage in all Uberrima fides even if the paperwork is not there to show. For those of us with sisters, who will want their sister to sit there during the wake keeping for the late husband, and people are making comments that she will be unfit to keep the kids? It is wrong to stand up in a podium to make disparaging remarks to someone’s daughter or sister who has lost the husband.


Why is it that each time someone dies, the family must come in for possessions when the man has kids? Many at times those who are bequeathed with the dead man’s wealth end up abandoning the kids who at times become pariahs. In some tribes in the Northwest Province of Cameroon, the cousins inherit the property of the man. They will inherit the property and if the man had houses, they will even chase out the widow and her kids to fend in wonderland. If you do not have mercy, at least you should be afraid of God.

Consequently, I will take you to the Bible to see how widows need to be treated. The Bible says the society should not afflict widows and orphans. Disappropriating them is afflicting them. When you call into question their motherhood for no just cause, is another form of affliction. When you seize their ability to speak, that is afflicting them. A widow is a widow. no matter her age. That young woman is a widow and should be treated with the status of a widow.

In James 1:27, the Apostle Paul tells James this, “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.” Treating whoever badly whether in public or private is no true religion and that is not what God wants. God is not asking for sacrifices for obedience is better than sacrifice (I Sam 15:22), but He is asking for justice, mercy and humility (Micah 6:6-8).

Therefore, when a husband dies, leave the woman alone with what the husband or man left with her. Whether she has kids or not, she has the right to his property! I am conscious there are “Happy Widows” (those who kill their husbands to inherit property), but not in a clear case as that of the husband dying without the hand of the woman. When someone dies, uncles and aunts or at times parents who did not even care for the child show up to fight for property. That must have an end. Protect these women rather than denigrate them. Do unto others what you want them do unto you. If you have a sister or a mother, treat other people’s sisters and mothers badly and the same measure will be meted to you one day. If you escape the judgment of humans, it is certain you will face God to give an account of your acts on earth.

Until then, Africans must learn to protect the widows.

St Arrey of Ntenako.

“Bonyfish beware because the same net that caught the jawless fish, caught the cartilaginous fish” (Hamilton Ayuk). Beware earthly paradise seekers because there is a serpent in every paradise"(Hamilton Ayuk). Idle people write, idler people read, and idlest people read and whine that idle people are taking their time (Hamilton Ayuk).

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