Paddy Bitama made us laugh with ease like he was the king of comedy.
Actually if he had attended his own funeral, I am sure he would have made a skit which would have made us die of happiness, as Pablo puts it. However, after his death, a very disturbing occurrence unfolded. Two men claiming to be his father fought over his body because each claimed to be his biological father.
Sadly, the issue of paternity, especially among married couples, has now become quite common. Every time you buy a local tabloid, it’s not uncommon to read a shocking story about a man who has been raising another’s child in the guise of looking after his own. The question is, why is it that suddenly there is an upsurge of paternity cases, especially in a society where they believe women don’t cheat as much as men do?
Puzzled, my curiosity led me to the internet where I got scanty information which I couldn’t use to interpret this phenomenon. Of course issues like the availability of better technology, fear to pay child support and young men who want to avoid fatherhood and its attendant responsibilities, were cited as the major reasons for the increase in paternity tests. Well, I failed to get the answers I wanted, probably because those studies were carried out in Europe and we all know how their social and cultural norms are different from ours.
So, I carried out my own studies by talking to a group of elderly men I knew would be well knowledgeable about life. How I wish I had not wasted time trawling the internet, because the answers I got from them were deeper and touched other issues too.
They told me issues concerning paternity were present even in their youthful days, but very minimal, and even then, were resolved without the children being subjected to humiliation. They said today it was simply the sign of a bigger rot in our so-called modern society. One of them said the younger generation had lost the true meaning of a matrimonial union (marriage).
He said we no longer cared for values such as honesty, respect and love. His view was that actually most of the problems we faced were as a result of the loss of core values they treasured when they were younger.
A retired teacher intimated on how our generation looks at dishonesty, such as unfaithfulness in marriage, as a normal way of life. No wonder we cheat with others’ partners and even sire children out of wedlock. This mentality has reached the point where we even start questioning our own children’s paternity.
He cautiones us (youths), that unless we rethink the reasons why we get married and for what purpose, the issue of paternity is bound to grow and finally break the social and family structures. People will start looking at marriage as a waste of time because we will believe that all people are cheats and there was no need to start families.
The teacher said the solution in their days was always made in the child’s favour. If a man realised that a child was not his, he would still take care of it, because by then the child would have taken his name and ditching it would be a disgrace to his family.
So, whenever a child was found to belong to another man, they would still remain in the non-biological father’s home, unlike today where they are either thrown out or disowned.
Source : The Observer