CAN THE FAMILY INSTITUTION SURVIVE? By Oweyegha-Afunaduula 25th May 2024

Is it true that the family is no longer necessarily the basic unit of our society?

This is an anti-God proposition. Yet this is how a California Psychologist, Jacques Levy thought: that the family belonged to the past. He was responding to Margaret Mead, an anthropologist who studied marriage all over the world and asked, “Can the family survive?”

But isn’t it true that we are having fewer and fewer marriages surviving up to 40 years and beyond?

It must be an act of God that I am in a 45th year of a stable relationship. It has not been easy, with pressures from all angles. We first went to the District Commissioner of Jinja, the late Mbazira from Masaka, in 1980, with four people, including my long-term Friend, Martin Musumba, and his wife, to witness and approve our decision to start a family. Then in 2017, we decided to reaffirm our union in our village Church of Uganda church at Bulawa, Nawaka. This time many people witnessed the reaffirmation. They came from all neighbouring villages, Kaliro, Iganga, Kamuli, Jinja, Kampala, Nairobi, Arusha and London. The family has survived, with all our children leaving us to live their own lives away from us but interconnected. At least one of them, the eldest, has lived since 2000 in her own family of six (unfortunately their eldest son died two years ago).

Pray for us so that we can make it 50 years and serve as a living example, like President Tibuhaburwa Museveni and his wife did not long ago, that the family is still the basic unit of our society.

I have never ever tried to imagine a world without marriage or family although there is a lot of external political pressure on Uganda to open up to sexual practices that can erode the institutions of marriage and family well in the future.

The family is a natural institution among animals. Some animals have a tight family unit, which enables them to survive in a very competitive world. In the human race, Broken homes explain the rising suicides as the leading cause of death among the young people in Uganda. Many children are unguided and rebellious. Those who grow up to become leaders love violence more than they love peace. They see peace from only their own point of view and cannot imagine peace which does not begin and end with them.

Outside the family, it is unnatural living. In human terms it is rebellion against the family institution and against both God and Nature. It is a world of sexual irresponsibility which both God and Nature do not approve of. In such a world free love and prostitution compete and the young people are the losers. If they are produced they will never know their fathers.

Unfortunately, I have seen people marry these, not to establish stable marriages and families in which to bring forth children and nurture them for a stable, peaceful future. They marry for money and properties.

We do not need guns and weapons of mass destruction to build a peaceful world. We need stable marriages and families as the primary units in which stable children are nurtured. We should learn from other animals, which belong to the same Kingdom like we do: Kingdom Animalia: the birds, the jobs, etc that have survived through the ages because of the tranquility that the stable family units bestow on them. It is our greed, selfishness and violent nature that have combined to threaten and endanger them, pushing many of them into extinction in total ignorance that without them we cannot not survive since we are interconnected.

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