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Most African families are a gang of leeches, and it needs to stop



Emmanuel Adebayor, a celebrated Togo international footballer who currently plays for Tottenham Hotspur, revealed the financial burden of supporting his family as well as ongoing conflicts. His bare knuckle revelation stunned the world, partly because of his audacity to go public about what most will regard as personal family issues.

What caught my attention, however, was the reason behind going public. He says, the “main purpose is not to expose my family members. I just want other African families to learn from this”.

For what is worth, you got to admire that. Personally, I think it’s about time we face the monster that is a gang of leeches called the African family. I know if most people are given a chance to speak, they will tell endless stories of how their over-dependent families have literally taken advantage of them, exploited them, abused their generosity, and pretty much squeezed every ounce of money, happiness and life out of them.

In Africa, it seems once you are privileged to get a job, no matter how basic or rudiment, it always immediately becomes apparent that you have to support every Tom, Dick and Harry in your nuclear and extended family.

In fact, everyone – and you know how big an African family can get – will be jostling to get a piece of your meagre paycheck, as if you divinely and constitutionally owe them a livelihood – or you are solely responsible for their existence, sustenance and happiness.

Don’t get me wrong though. I am not advocating against helping your family and especially your parents, siblings and needy relatives. In fact, I encourage everyone privileged to be in a position to help, to do so wholeheartedly.

However, what I have a problem with are those ungrateful gang of African family leeches who lazily sit around, do absolutely nothing except eat, yap, pop them children every week – and expect an uninterrupted flow of ‘foreign aid’ from family members who bust their ass everyday to make ends meet.

I sure have a problem with people who demand fhelp simply because they are family, and will do absolutely nothing to try and better their lives. They live as if it’s your responsibility to feed them, clothe them, educate their children, and finance their basic lifestyle.

This over-dependence for help by what is nothing less than a gang of leeches, hiding behind family needs to stop. In fact, I will go as far as state that I believe this mentality of over-dependence on certain ‘privileged family members’ is what has significantly contributed to a cycle of poverty in most African families.

For crying out loud, this is not 400BC, where the whole clan would share a rib of a porcupine for dinner, sing a folk song and go to bed whispering a prayer to the ancestors for the blessings of a big fat obnoxious African family.

This is the 21 century. The world has changed and is changing rapidly. Life is becoming harder and challenging. The cost of living has simply skyrocketed to the point that the last thing a father of four rascals struggling to make ends meet in Nairobi would want is some alcoholic polygamous uncle from the village asking for help to educate his herd of children.

African families need to understand that there’s so much a ‘privileged family member’ can do to help. They cannot educate and support the whole clan, and neither can they help every member of their long extended family.

For the love of the holy one, that so-called privileged family member too has a life to live, a family of their own to support, and plans for savings and investment. So, if the Adebayor family are reading this and for all other African Adebayor’s family – awaaah now! stop this dependence syndrome, and certainly stop behaving as if your sons and daughters, brothers and sisters owe you a living, or are responsible for your existence and livelihood.

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