Umkhonto we Sizwe! (Spear of the Nation)
Independent Afrikan centered parenting and education

“Extended adolescence” syndrome in the Afrikan diaspora

Maadwo brothas and sistas,
Now i think i understand the MADNESS i see out here a little betta noow! We got a multitude of negros out here that really don’t wanna ever grow up, they just seem stuck in a perpetual state of infancy….and find every reason to extend their adolescence and stay “hot, sexy and out ah road!”. Our “missing” mothers (and they DO exist!, but i don’t know none though!) are in the club “droppin it like its’ hot” to Rihanna’s latest tune, getting the latest “fly weave” for that bashment that’s coming up on the weekend OR shopping at the mall for the latest yurugu inspired fashion. Maybe those “missing” fathers are watching the games at the “crib” of one of “their boys”, test driving that new Benz with the “fine honey” they just met at the mall (who will be pregnant with baby #6 in a few weeks>) OR hanging out at the plaza all dayum day talking about how they used to be such a “playa” in their young days (i have seen fathers do this!!) And then some of the missing fathers in our community have just “disappeared into the night” with no word or trace.

Let them BE children

Regardless of the scenario, i DID have a revelation today. Many Afrikan diasporan parents desire an “extended adolescence” period in their lives that usually gets out of hand. They don’t want to deal with the very real and serious responsibility of loving and protecting our children and showing them how to reclaim and revive our values and culture. So they run headfirst into everything that will allow them to feel like a teenager again, such as, abandoning their child/children daily for hours on end, leaving their babies at home to be “supervised” by a distant neighbour, while they party ALLL night long, putting them in front of the television for hours, leaving them with strangers or acquaintances, giving them to their grandparents or aunties for extended “vacations”, handing them over to daycares as young as 3 months of age, giving them an abundance of adult responsibility and last but not least, leaving children in charge of children….as if the children gave birth to their own siblings!!!

I did not know until recently that this is now the “norm” in many Afrikan diasporic families and has been for sometime. I even know of some people who shared with me that they grew up like this, and i just realized that these same people RESENT the fact that they have to “grow up” not only in age but in deed!! When you ask them to take on an adult responsibility they play “hide and go seek”, only thang is, i don’t play that game anymore cause i am a wombman now! My take on it is: it is NOT the responsibility of children to parent one another OR to take charge of the family home. NOOO! Our children should not be the “breadwinners” of the home because daddy is missing. You cannot accept $50-$20 dollar bills from a 12 yr old knowing he does not have a job!!! A 9 yr old boy cannot play “daddy” to his siblings.

Teen pregnancy

A 10 yr old girl cannot play “Mommy”. I’m SERIOUS!!, and this is not just for the negropean massive this goes out to the entire Afrikan community, negropean, wanna be crackas, Afrikan nationalist and everythang in between. Because all of us have the yurugu germ in US, whether we are draped in RBG colors or the Canadian flag. Our childrens’ innocence and life experience should not be robbed from them just because they are being FORCED to function as adults. I realized today that the “extended adolescence” epidemic that many parents face, is what causes so much dysfunction in our families and communities. It is also one of the major causes of teen pregnancies and gun violence amongst our youth. In many ways, it caused my brothers’ death and now my son does not have an uncle because of it. My son will never know the immense love and affection of his uncle because the adults in his family refused to ensure his protection and would not allow him to live the life of a child.

WE must remember that it is not our childrens’ fault that sooo many of us refuse to grow up!!!! On another note, this shows us how important and crucial it IS for aunties, uncles, cousins, grandparents, elders, extended family (distant cousins kwk) and sincere, trustworthy, devoted community members to STEP IN to love, nurture, educate and protect our children whose biological parents are M.I.A. and/or abusive and dysfunctional. We have NO choice but to take the roles that are vacant in our communities, especially the role of an absentee or abusive parent! Not all of us are willing to LIVE the role of a mother or father, just because we gave birth or contributed our seed. That’s real and we have to talk about it so we can come to some solutions. How many of us are willing to be that Ena or Baba that is so needed for our children?

Bad example

How many brothas are willing to take on the responsibility of being Jegna’s (called mentors in brofo) or Baba’s to our princes who don’t have a father? And if brothas don’t want to take that duty, then they should have nothing to say about the dynamic work that single mothers are doing in our communities. “If you are not a part of the solution then you are part of the problem!” Are we going to leave our children with the duty of being parents to their own siblings making the money to feed themselves anyway they can, suffering abuse or neglect just because we did not give birth to them? And then we wonder why they have no respect for their elders.

Most Afrikan children in the diaspora don’t even know what elder means. What a shame!! They should not have to deal with the effects of our adolescent, infantile behaviour! They should not have to be motherless and fatherless when there are so many able bodied, healthy, educated, employed Afrikans who can afford to adopt our children yet spend the majority of their money on “conscious dvds”, “conscious lectures”, “conscious cruises” and “conscious everythang under the sun” instead of nation building where it starts- with OUR families and children! Don’t hate, i’m just saaaayiiiiin!!!! What the hell are we gonna do other than watch our children DIS-integrate into the yurugu “milky way” before our very eyes? PASS ON THIS MESSAGE to all who need to hear it!!!!!!

Benin mama

Sista Kentake.


One Response to ““Extended adolescence” syndrome in the Afrikan diaspora”

  1. Very timely piece sis. Dr Ben said it often and encouraged us to step up to the challenge of living our “consciousness”. It was through him that I became aware of the fact that there are numerous African children out there, all throughout continent and her diaspora, who are in need of parents and don’t have them… whether because their parents are no longer in the physical or just not available to parent them. There are many reasons for that, some of which you’ve mentioned, but the long and short of it is, these are OUR children. The African worldview doesn’t focus on the nuclear family but the extended family. I’m of the opinion that every African adult who is physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually and financially able should adopt, formally or otherwise, an African child. Provide a safe, protected, loving environment children need if they are to develop into healthy, productive and centered adults. That’s how we move towards Abibifahodie (African liberation). That’s how we ‘return to the source’. That’s how we move our people closer to African sovereignty…. we have to do it the African way… one family at a time.


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