Respect in The Upbringing of a Muvenda Child: A Continuous Application of the Fifth Commandment
Respect reflects a community’s cultural identity. The word ‘respect’ is also used in the Tshivenḓa Bible. It is used in the translation of the fifth Commandment—Ṱhonifhakhotsi au namme au, uri u kone u lalamakhashangoḽenda u neaḽone— Respect your father and your mother, so that you may live a long time in the land that I am giving you. This injunction of the Old Testament in the Bible is not new to Vhavenḓa. Respect is essential in the conduct of every individual. A lack of respect towards one’s seniors implies a lack of respect towards the ancestors. This is one of the rules with which one has to comply. Failure to comply means one has to face consequences. This commandment is relevant because there are many people who deviate from the right course and make life unpleasant for others. It must not be regarded as limiting any individual’s freedom or as a punitive measure, but as a rule that keeps people on the right track and shows them how to behave themselves at all the times. A child, as part of the community, continuously comes into contact with people in public places. A well-nurtured Muvenḓa child always makes an effort at being polite and emerges from an unpleasant situation as the ‘victor’. To such a child, not only biological parents count as his/her parents, but all the adults are regarded as his/her parents. This is a communal practice in most African societies, including Vhavenḓa. When a child engages in unacceptable activities, people attribute the behaviour to parents’ failure to nurture that child appropriately. It is the responsibility of the parents to teach their children to subordinate their own interests to those of the community. The child’s unperturbed good manners indicate the manner in which every individual can raise the quality of his/her life without violating the rights of others.
Key words- Bond. Contempt. Control. Norms. Punishment. Reinforcement.