By Dr. Masimba Mavaza | Cultural erosion is the gradual loss of a culture’s core elements, often due to the influence of new cultures or a desire to conform. Pressure from our surroundings can lead us to adopt new ways without much thought. Every society and subculture has its unique culture, encompassing religion, language, traditions, and even culinary choices. Culture is vital to a group’s identity, shaping who they are.
Dr Masimba Mavaza
Zimbabweans living abroad can be easily influenced by foreign cultures, sometimes adopting behaviors even animals would find excessive. Migration has, in some cases, brought about concerning changes in behavior. We must ask ourselves if these are signs of a larger issue, akin to cultural erosion.
Our culture has faced numerous challenges throughout history, such as during colonization when foreign powers imposed their ways of life. Today, disturbing incidents, like sex parties involving young students, signal a new form of cultural erosion. These parties, known as Vuzu parties, involve alcohol, drugs, and multiple sexual partners. Such behavior raises concerns about the future choices our children will make.
The institution of marriage is under threat from various angles, including the growing acceptance of same-sex unions. This trend didn’t happen overnight but is a result of a gradual weakening of marriage’s foundations, affected by individualism and the separation of sex from marriage.
We must stop the importation of cultural decay and protect our values. The story of Tarusenga Muzambindo, whose son brought home a same-sex partner, reflects the challenges families face. It highlights the need for open dialogue and understanding in our evolving society.
Across the border in South Africa, a program called “Do You Trust Each Other?” reveals the extent of social decay in relationships. Unmarried couples exchange their phones for a minute to check each other’s trustworthiness, uncovering widespread infidelity and a new phenomenon known as “Friends with Benefits.”
This culture has seeped into Zimbabwe as well, where dating often involves financial demands and material expectations. The decay is further exemplified by the rise of Vuzu parties, where young people engage in risky behaviors fueled by diaspora funds.
The consequences of these parties go beyond the immediate, with concerns about rising rates of sexual activity among young people and even backdoor abortions. The heavy drinking and drug use at these parties can lead to addiction and long-term consequences.
While the diaspora has a positive impact on the economy, it comes at a cost – the erosion of our cultural values. Many Zimbabweans now wonder what kind of in-laws their children will bring home, signaling the need to address these cultural challenges.
Let’s protect our culture and values while adapting to the changing world, finding a balance that ensures the well-being of future generations.