Friday, July 4, 2008

Who’s your Daddy?

I have included above a copy of my birth certificate. As anyone can see my father’s name is included on the certificate, and this was done as far back as 1964, and yet, American society has not collapsed. I think this should lay to rest the rampant fear moving through Botswana that once the proposed changes to the Children’s Act pass through Parliament, anarchy will take over in the country. The sticky issue it seems, the one that will make sane people go mad according to many, is the inclusion of the father’s name on the baby’s birth certificate.
According to the Midweek Sun of 2nd July, Batlokwa Deputy Chief Michael Spokes believes that the proposed changes are an affront to Setswana culture. “This will be an outrage to unlucky women who would have children with different fathers and men who have children outside of their marriage.” He went on to say, “Concubines come a long way in our society.” He claims that even Westernised societies do not do such wild and crazy things as including the father’s name on the birth certificate, they know what chaos will ensue; so why should Botswana?
Old Naledi Customary Court President Citrus Mookodi agreed. “It is very common for men to have children outside of the home and the society has been dealing well with it, but now this is going to cause a lot of fracas.” Dealing well with it? In Botswana, children who approach their mothers asking, “Where is my father?’ are most commonly told that “He was killed by a train.”
The chairperson of The Voice of Men, Greek Kwapa, pointed out that children actually have the right to know who their fathers are. He suggested that the proposed changes might even improve our society. “Our sisters too will plan their children well and stop having babies with any man including those who are married.”
The proposed changes might lead to the added bonus of curbing the epidemic proportions of fathers killed by trains. That really is a good thing.
Culture, culture, culture- don’t you just love how easy it is to make irrational arguments once you pull out that oh-so-handy culture card?


Dani said...

Men's names may be on birth certificates in America, but it doesn't mean the men necessarily take responsibility for their actions. Alas. Men who don't acknowledge and participate in the raising of their young deserve castration. Just saying.

Karen said...

"...lead to the added bonus of curbing the epidemic proportions of fathers killed by trains."

I'm sorry, but I laughed. Kind of hard, too. It is interesting how the culture card comes out when people have things to hide. Culture changes, although it often changes slowly, over generations. And, in typical myopic American fashion, I never realized that there were places where the father's name wasn't included on the birth certificate (and in my former job, I saw many certificates from other countries and cultures).

So, what will they do with all those trains, once the names start appearing on birth certificates?

Lauri said...

I've always felt a bit sad for the trains, I've been a victim of false accusations myself.