We Have Truly Become an Individualistic society
That the communal spirit of the yore is no more in the once closely-knitted African societies is not an understatement. Individualism spirit has become a new norm that it is not surprising one can pass their next door neighbour with hardly a greeting or an acknowledgement of any sort. Gone are the days when a community would rally behind their own like during making of houses (the traditional types), with individuals left to figure out how to put up houses on their own nowadays.
It is no longer fashionable to drop to your immediate neighbour’s home for a chat unless it is vitiated by urgency or you have booked an appointment beforehand.
Once upon a time, neighbours were good and hospitable. Today the narrative is different. It is easier to converse with a total stranger out there than with your next door neighbour who you have lived all along with for so long! Whereas wisdom would have vitiated stopping briefly and exchanging pleasantries were your paths to meet before going your separate ways, the probability of passing each other like total strangers is a staggering one hundred percent!
The time many of us comes out of our individualism cocoons and unites in spirit of good neighbours are rare. Take the instance of insecurity and the community members are likely to meet, put their heads together and reach a common consensus, or during the monthly chama (group) meetings whose noble aim is to uplift the welfare of the members, and so on. Beyond the said meetings, nobody knows or cares to know how each member is faring on a personal level.
The new mantra is man for himself and God for us all.
Unfortunately, individualism tends to make some suffer silently as they have no one to talk to or confide in. That neighbour living alone and putting on a brave face in public could be a stressed person in the loneliness of his domicile. It is not a surprise when such persons passes away, no one realizes for days on end that they are missing until their relations comes to check why their phones are not going through or when acrid smell of rotting corpse wafts in the air.
Or you may not know your neighbour is no more until you see the pictures in social media where the demise is being announced and you make it a point to give a flattering send off speech during the funeral ceremony – and mind you this was a neighbour you loathed to high heavens!
Whatever became of being a brother’s keeper?