Food for thought – Why the age of ‘kalongolongo’ was much better than the new i-age

Ok this is bound to create a lot of controversy amongst you readers but it is with valid reasons that I point this out. Consider it something to think about. If you are Kenyan you know what the word with the single inverted commas means. In other backyards it may be called something different but most people know it as kalongolongo. This was a game that essentially involved role playing. So kids would come together and decide to be one of a number of things. It could be pupils at a school with a teacher, principal and bell ringer or a home setup with a father, mother and children and even a house help sometimes depending on how creative the lot was. They would spend hours playing roles they have seen their parents, teachers, aunts, religious leaders e.t.c play and it was so much fun. I would know. I belong to that generation.

So why would I be a strong proponent of the kalongolongo dynasty? Well, this was a game that allowed children to learn very crucial skills from each other. The roles they played involved cleaning, cooking, being responsible for their actions and taking care of each other just the way they would see their parents doing it. They would learn from each other important developmental skills that become useful later on in life. Group dynamics were evident in kalongolongo games and children with invidious habits and ways of doing things would be taught a better or more acceptable way of behaving around their peers. If the role playing was a home setup, mother would cook and the children would have to wash the plates and later sweep the compound and perform such other duties. Society was grounded and social education was rife…

Enter the i-generation. The iPad, iPhones and all the other I’s you can think of have turned children into largely irresponsible and hands-off individuals. True the gadgets have their advantages. They for instance appeal greatly to the intuition of a child and are fun to use. They can carry invaluable amounts of information that a child needs and can be great learning materials. They are however also bad for children. Most kids spend hours on end bent low looking at one screen or the other. They become antisocial and know very little else than how to maneuver their way through numerous levels in computer games. Those of the i-generation with responsible parents who keep an eye on gadget use are not so immersed into the i-world but truth be told, most are.

Life becomes very real very suddenly for most young people. Suddenly you are not in your parents’ comfortable home with a washing machine and dishwasher. You have to cook and wash your own clothes at least until you can get a steady income to pamper yourself. If these lessons are not learned earlier on they become too cumbersome to master in adulthood. Technology is brilliant. It is the future of our generations. We however must not cast away old systems that have been the very source of our social education and training. Kalongolongo is used here figuratively but there are numerous instances that can explain the same. It is simply something to think about…

Albert Einstein –all our exalted technological progress, civilization for that matter, is comparable to an axe in the hand of a pathological criminal….

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