What broke family reunions?

Some families today don't see the point of family gatherings

In Summary

• If family reunions are still there, then they are scattered rather than collective

• Families that are in conflict or with unsettled business are often the ones divided

Two people who have disagreed
Two people who have disagreed

Last time, we had a conversation on black tax.

It kind of spurred an extended conversation within my circle, and guys started discussing how much they have spent on their own families.

“I ‘use’ roughly 22k per month on family,” one said.

“With this tough economic times, I can only spare 10k ikienda sana,” another said.

A close family member, in a different setting, talked of spending almost Sh35,000 per month on one of ours.

Which led me to the question, has black tax been a major contributor to broken family reunions or gatherings?

Away from the black tax talk, I came to the conclusion that a lot of situations and reasons generally contribute to failed family gatherings and reunions.

In this day and era, if your extended family still plans for family reunions and gatherings during the holidays, everybody turns up and you all have a good time, count yourself lucky.

If you have WhatsApp groups for cousins, uncles, aunties and that whole shebang and somehow it’s working out, not that I am saying it is easy to handle family, and you are all talking, then, my dear reader, count yourself lucky.

My family and I tried the cousins' group thing, and to cut the long story short, we live like two different groups from two different classes in the society.

But we will not delve into that.

One thing I have come to establish is that a lot of families today broke up gatherings and reunions.

If they’re still there, then there is a team that meets in one place at a certain point and time and then a different team meets at a different place and time.

Most of the time it is those who are in conflict or have unsettled business that hardly meet.

As we give credit where it is due, the Three Men Army talked in length about this on their podcast, and they actually did it justice.

Some of our parents during their early ages experienced a lot of challenges with their siblings and cousins, not forgetting their parents.

Land tussles and inheritance are generally the biggest cause of rifts, and one doesn’t see the need of seeing the other when they arise.

My black tax victims dread visiting because they know those ‘all of a sudden’ pending activities that need financing will become their responsibilities.

We cannot forget those who are always compared to their successful peers.

One might even have a younger sibling who managed to excel in school and is now successful in the eyes of the family.

The narrative is usually this one individual, the older sibling, sacrificed a few things so that his younger ones would get that life.

When it comes to decision-making, since the younger one has money or certain status, they are given a chance to speak and the older sibling that didn’t make it is given tasks to undertake, and the question of respect is not even on the table.

Some way, somehow, they often feel disrespected.

“Saa zile watu wanaongelelea mambo ya shamba, unapata wewe mwenye hukumake it ndio unatumwa uende uone ng’ombe wamevuka kwa boma ya wenyewe,” a friend said.

“Hiyo kitu huuma juu wanaonanga you are a failure in life na huwezi kuongea mbele ya watu,” another one said.

There is also favouritism that is usually swept under the rug, and yet so many siblings fall out because of this.

A good case study is from the local series 'Salem', where Soila always felt Zara was the most-loved child of Mum Z.

Sometimes, unnecessary fallouts by parents end up trickling down to their children, and as a result as cousins, there is a lot of division in terms of class.

Family A lives in such and such a place, while family B lives in a different place, hence a sense of superiority and inferiority kicks in.

I could go on and on about what breaks families and why reunions are no longer of much interest.

I will not be giving advice on how families should sort out their issues, but for the sake of future generations, we need to reunite and bring back family reunions.

Those scattered family gatherings need to become one.

Let’s save our future generations from marrying into family unknowingly, for those that consider it a taboo.

But again, if you see no need to be gathering, it’s okay. To each his own.

To those enjoying the big family gatherings and reunions, enjoy while it lasts.

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