AFRICA/BOTSWANA - Family in southern Africa threatened by poverty but also by new media

Saturday, 23 November 2013

Gaborone (Agenzia Fides) - Even in Africa, mass media and social networks are likely to fragment family life in many small separated and non communicating enclaves. This is what the Inter-Regional Meeting of Bishops in Southern Africa (IMBISA) say, gathered in the capital of Botswana, Gaborone, for their Tenth Plenary Assembly this year dedicated to the theme of family in southern Africa.
In the final message, sent to Fides Agency, members of IMBISA recall the importance for the life of faith of the family, referred to as the "domestic Church". What emerges from the survey is a composite picture of the family in Southern Africa, with positive and negative elements . "On the positive side - the document says - "there is an imprevement in families praying and attending church together" and an increase of family members supporting each other.
The profound transformation of African societies, however, are undermining the traditional African values, note the Bishops. Unemployment and inadequate remuneration for many have increased poverty and is having a deleterious effect on the lives of many families.
At a cultural level also, there is "the disruption of family life through excessive exposure and in some cases becomes addiction to television and the ever-proliferating menu of social media, members of families living like non-communicating silos in the home". In addition to this, denounces IMBISA, "the increasing secularization and de-solemnization of marriage through legislation, policies, practices and language do not confirm marriage as the earthly manifestation of Christ’s union to his bride, the Church".
To address these challenges, IMBISA has agreed on a three-year Family Action Plan that provides, among other things, to put pressure on governments and institutions in order to adopt adequate family policies, increase jobs, and improve the provision of social services such as health and education. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 23/11/2013)