Uncle absence hurting the upbringing of Kikuyu boy


In Kikuyu community gone are the days the growth of child was monitored closely by extended family.

Today it is a business of parents alone. Family friends are even closer to such child than his grandparents, uncles and aunts.

Unfortunately this is the reason Kikuyu boy is slowly losing his roots and taking un-African culture.

Missing ingredient is the uncle who should play supervisory role on the boy’s moral, material and financial development.

But why are they missing? There are several reasons ranging from family feuds, segregation if they are not well-off or them paying all attention on making money and forgetting such crucial responsibilities.

Role of extended family members in child’s growth diminishing.

While parents may love their children too much they fail to notice them going astray, uncle is keen-eyed and is quick to amicably correct the child.

Uncle offers boy-child moral support. They are the go-between him and parents. He is a godparent. In Kikuyu tradition boy has to seek maternal uncle’s permission to get circumcised.

“To bring up a complete boy-child an uncle must be at his side. He is the godparent and must be respected and listened to” says Kikuyu elder Gregory Njiru.

Njiru adds; “It is dangerous to keep the boy off his uncle. They are pivotal. At the centre we have parents and uncles are the guardrails. From circumcision to marriage and life afterwards they have supervisory role”.

Most Kikuyu children are brought up exclusively in nuclear family setting.

Uncle should know his nephew’s girl she wants to marry even before such is introduced to parents. They, albeit cautiously introduce them to outside world, teach them what it means to be a man.

From uncles boys learn how to treat a woman and marriage issues. When marrying or paying dowry it is the paternal uncles who lead such delegation to girl’s kindred. These responsibilities should not be undertaken by father or mother.

Sadly this is not the case anymore in many families. While in other communities such traditions are enshrined, amongst Kikuyus modernity is drowning this crucial tradition.

Kikuyu boy is learning life in the streets and with it more evils than virtues. Kins notice late they are criminals, drug addicts or have changed sexual orientation. Too late to take remedial action.


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