While more women are choosing to wait longer to conceive, African women are still being pressured to have children quickly. This can be attributed to the high importance of many African cultures to marry and conceive quickly.
Scientifically, despite breakthroughs such as egg preservation via the freezing method, as women get older they are at a disadvantage of conceiving and childbearing due to the increased rate of congenital illnesses and difficulties in raising children at a later age. The aforementioned could contribute to the “hurry up and have kids” notion.
Unfortunately, this has caused the insecurity of many women, and with this comes the extreme measures some are willing to take to bear children. Certain individuals are using unconventional means to conceive.
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One case in point is the BBC Africa report of a healer in Guinea-Bissau, West Africa conning 700 women into thinking they were pregnant. How may you ask? Interestingly, the witch doctor named N’na Fanta Camara made a concoction of herbs, leaves, and other medicines for the women to drink; this drink caused the women to bloat and thus believe they were pregnant.
To add fuel to the fire, the unsuspecting women on average earn about $33 dollars which may not seem like a steep amount, however, the average wage for workers in Guinea is $48 dollars. Camara feigned kindness as she exclaimed she “was only trying to help” the women.
Another example is Pastor Lesego Daniel in Pretoria, South Africa who instructed members of his congregation to drink petrol he “phenomenally” turned into pineapple juice. On a videotaping of one particular church service, women are seen drinking the dangerous chemical and proclaiming that it tasted “sweet”.
Finally, there is Penuel Mnguni, a South African pastor and protégé of Daniel dubbed ‘snake pastor’ for his custom of feeding snakes and rats to his constituents claiming it was chocolate.
Believing in a higher power is an awesome and freeing experience. Having vulnerabilities and fears as human beings is normal. Nonetheless, being sold on a pipedream because of your insecurities and willingness to chase your goal so passionately is unfortunate. It goes to show how dominant societal pressures can be for some individuals.
The before mentioned concept stresses the need for balance between tradition and personal needs. Many women would love to have children and sustain a successful career and there’s nothing wrong with that. By no means is it advisable to eradicate culture as that is what enables our uniqueness. What should be questioned is the importance we place on values in other individual’s lives. That’s not our place. To each, his or her own.