I have been thinking about this for some time and wanting to get “african perspectives” on the whole issue.. ….. all “world views” are welcome because I do not think the issue is limited only to Africans.
A few weeks ago, while in language class we got to discussing how love and affection are expressed in the home. I was the only african in class that day. (there are two of us, me and a lady from Cote D’ivore). So there I was busy chatting away saying that in my family the expression “I love you” in whatever form was never said and as far as i knew it is generally not said in African households or families. I continued to say that seeing your parents express affection to one another was such a rear thing that if it did happen, one would probably be embarassed.
One of my classmates from Portugal then said “what a cold culture”…. and I was like ” No no.. not at all”. Even though love and affection is “never” publicly displayed, people always know they are love and cared for (assumption being that one is from a loving home). I was then asked to tell how one knows they are loved and cared for and I was kind of stumped for words.
Growing up in my home there were no hugs and kissy kissy, mommy loves you, daddy loves you stuff. Yet I never doubted that I was loved and cared for (
all other issues aside). I think the fact that we had food on the table, went to school, plently of laughter, extend family socialisation, mum and dad occassionally buying you gifts. Asking for stuff and getting it (not always), and my parents “being there”… you never questioned it. I do not recall ever once having the NEED to hear my folks and sister say “i love you”.
First time I heard “I love you” said to me was from Big Al and I remember thinking “ugh, yuck, mushy mushy stuff” But now with time it has grown on me and I can say it to him… (
admittedly not as often as he would like hehehehe)
I know I have no problem cuddling little babies and kids but once they get to like 7 or 8 I think we as Africans tend to start being stingy with our hugs, cuddles and affectionate words. Why is that?
So I am wondering.. if you grew up in a typical african home, devoid of public displays/verbal articulation of affection and love, how did you know you were loved?
PS: literally counting down the days to the arrival of baby Mrembo 5 days to go!