There is a tale of a young man who wanted to get married. He went to his parents to let them know about his plans. The man’s father advised him to first of all go and look at the mother of his fiancé before making a commitment.
If he likes the way she looks now then he can go ahead with his plan. The old man’s argument was that there were 99,9 percent chances that the girl will look like her mother 20 or so years down the line.
The old man was being farsighted, he wanted his son to look beyond today. He wanted him to get into something that he could live with for life. He wanted him to envision what his wife to be would be like when age, child bearing and pressures of life take their toll on her.
Although it might not be like that always there is due to be some resemblance. I think the same can be said about the man. A girl can do the same and take a good look at his father-in-law to be for similar reasons.
Looking into the future is an important aspect of life because it gives us something to work towards. It also helps us create our future realities.
If we want a house or car then we earn and save money towards that end. Resources at family and national level are spent on education with the hope for a better
I think dear reader you know of people who pretended to their parents that they were going to school.
They spent time on other seemingly interesting things that offer temporary happiness. People such as these threw away their chances for life.
I have noted that these days there is a shift and tendency by people to operate in the short term mode and do things to satisfy today. We live in the microwave era
where people want results and sometimes at any cost.
I have heard people say that Africans do not see beyond their nose.
A week or two ago I also read an article in one of the local papers in which the writer said that Africans are short-sighted.
Unfortunately I do not recall much or the argument presented by the author but the question that came to mind is “Are Africans really short sighted.”
I found myself lost in my own thoughts as I pondered on the question.
A lot of pictures flashed through my mind. I was taken to the village where my grandmother had a traditional granary with compartments (dura) full of rapoko, sorghum and maize that would take her to another season and beyond. Some of these compartments were sealed and kept for the bad seasons (gore renzara).
Was this not long term planning? I wonder if this was not long term planning what is. Here I see far sightedness, storing grain for the bad seasons.
I think there is so much in our culture that demonstrates that we are as a people farsighted. I recall my grade three teacher, Mr Nhemhara, teaching us a song that ridiculed those who went out to gather loquards (mazhanje) and came home empty handed.
The lyrics went something like “Jerera muromo wariona rauya katswanda kakazeyama.” The song draws attention to the hand to mouth kind of person (jerera muromo wariona) who eats up the fruit while still in the forest without taking some home. So he/she comes home with an empty basket (katswanda kakazeyama).
To me this is a demonstration that culturally such behaviour was unacceptable and invited ridicule.
If we go into the history of hunters and food gatherers who are part of our ancestry we learn that they used to move from place to place.
They would leave an area to allow nature to regenerate itself. This was a way of avoiding desertification. In my view these people were far sighted.
What this means is that we are a farsighted people.
What has happened to us then? Is it the environment that we live in that has turned us into near sighted people. How many times do you stop to think of the implication to the future of the things that we do today? Think of the biblical Esau found in the book of Genesis.
Esau sold his birthright to Jacob his twin brother for a bowl of soup.
The birthright was very important because it entitled him to the blessings of the first born child. Esau lost blessings of a lifetime to Jacob for an immediate need.
Like Esau we do certain things for today without calculating their impact on us or others around us twenty or more years down the line. I shudder to the think of the effects of bleaching the skin that appears to be widespread these days among the women. It could bring the desired objective today but what will it be like at 20, 40, 60 or 80 years.
In the 1980’s those who were old enough recall the terrible effects of complexion creams. People, mostly women, had their facial skins burnt beyond original complexion. They became darker and part of the God given beauty taken away.
There are many other body enhancers that we hear about these days. If there are no mishaps, the result could be stunning but the question is: what will it be like in years to come?
It is important to always consider our actions and see whether we can live with these later on in lives. There is a time of reckoning in life when we have to live with the things that we have done. The younger generation are at risk as they in their youth make decisions that they might loathe when older. Unfortunately some of those things, like a tattoo, cannot not be erased; its consequences stay for life.
Always consider what it will be like 20 years down the line before your next move. There is need to look beyond the nose and have the bigger picture in mind.