Dead and gone! That is exactly how our ancestors should stay. Sure, we can remember the brave and good ones and vow to never be like the evil ones, but that’s it. There may be one or two celebrations in their honor, a few tombstones and considerably less statues, but that is as far as we should allow. Sadly, that is not the case in our dear country. 

We are suffering from peer pressure from the dead. Yes, I said it. It is downright shocking how the lifestyle pattern of people who lived so long ago and under completely different circumstances can be the template for those of us who live in this present day and age. 

I once asked someone why they felt bride price was compulsory. She told me that it was the way those that had gone before us did things, so we had to do likewise. Now, I am not coming at the cultural beliefs of any group of people, I am just saying that we deserve to decide which practices of our culture are applicable to our personal beliefs and circumstances. If a feminist says that she doesn’t want a bride price, she should be allowed to not want one and it should not be imposed on her. 

Heraclitus said, ‘Change is the only constant thing’. Well, I am not asking us to change our cultures; but I am asking us to not ask others to change their beliefs or put them on hold for our culture. We have evolved: we are more educated; more exposed; and less superstitious than our ancestors. Hence, we should not be held in contempt of our culture if we choose to question certain practices or if we decide to not participate in other ones. Our lives are a function of the decisions we make, and all decisions come with consequences, so it is inappropriate to impose practices that are based on someone else’s decisions on another person. 

Understanding that the term ‘peer pressure’ insinuates influence from and between equals, I would still say that a vast majority of our practices are as a result of peer pressure. How else would the stronghold it has on us be explained. I am, however, grateful for our generation and our new ways of thinking, I just hope our parents and the older people around us allow these seeds to grow, blossom, and flourish.

This article was written by Okuwuchi Ihuoma; connect with her on IG here 

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