Do the institutions, in which people live or to which they belong, dictate their everyday actions? More often, human beings think that they are free to do whatever they please. This is, however, not the case. The institutions humanity lives in do have norms, to which each member is expected to conform. Every form of deviation calls for action, and those who do not follow the flows always find themselves in trouble. One thing though is constant. No matter the strictness of the laid down rules, it is always normal to find some individuals who will fail to adhere to the social norms; thus, finding themselves in the pangs of justice.
In an Angolan family, the members who constitute it have different roles to play. I come from a community where most families are extended. We all live in harmony, and each member is considered important. Each member knows what to do at what place and time. In this community, incest is a taboo, and it is punishable. This paper will address incest in the Angolan family setup and the community as a whole. It will focus on the consequences of incest as well as the after math. There are fatal consequences of incest in my community, which are handled at family level.
Incest is the act of sexual intercourse between two members of the same blood. That is sexual intercourse between the members of the same family or clan, for instance, sexual intercourse between cousins, brother and sister, and other relations. In many communities, incest is a taboo and thus punishable by ex-communication or estrangement. This is the case in the Angolan community. If someone is proven guilty of incest, he/she is either ex-communicated or estranged, depending on the level of incest. In case it is incest between far cousins, it is punishable by ex-communication for a certain period. If it is incest between two members of a nuclear family, it is punishable by lifetime estrangement. Elders of the village or community, in which incest happens, make punishment decisions. Before individuals can be punished, there must be proof beyond any reasonable doubt that incest occurred. This proof comes through self-confession or eyewitness. In case of eyewitness, there must be evidence of not false accusation or malice. Therefore, the eyewitness must swear that the information is true and if it is false, gods will punish him.
As I have stated above, I come from a community where extended families are like the order of the day. One of my uncles lost his wife. This incident made him become a single father of one daughter. Time elapsed, and it seemed Uncle Sam had decided to bring up his daughter alone. In simple language, he did not want to have another wife after the first one past on. Therefore, he moved on with life, and he did not seem interested in marrying again. However, his peers kept laughing at him and told him that women were many and that he had all the abilities and opportunities. Though this kept on happening, he did not succumb. He went on with his life and grew his daughter up along. His daughter was about eighteen when Sam met a woman who had a daughter of about the same age. The woman was in her forties. The family and the entire village were in shock when the man announced his intentions to marry the woman after many years of singlehood. This incident was considered a deviation from the family and norms of the society. Sex is not something that can be done without one’s knowledge. This was, therefore, a deliberate thing; thus, it should be punished. A cold blood move cannot be taken for granted.
Ten months down the line, something happened which had never been heard of before. Sam’s second wife and the two daughters were pregnant. Since it was not expected that a girl gets pregnant before marriage, investigations were done immediately to establish the root of the events. The family was questioned by the other uncles. The women tried to hide, but they were forced to speak out. Each person got a rude shock. Uncle Sam was solely responsible for the three pregnancies! He confessed that he had lured his daughters. Before he got married to the second wife, he had been sleeping with his own daughter. That is the reason he had taken so long to remarrying. This means that he had his daughter as a wife for the previous five years. He had intimate relations with her since she was fourteen. The whole village went into buzz, and whispers were all over as it was a taboo. This man had sexual intercourse with his daughters and his wife. At a family gathering, it was agreed that Uncle Sam was a disgrace to the family and could not be allowed to continue living amongst the other members of the community. As a result, together with his family, he was sent away as it was believed that this would bring bad omen. There was a general belief that whenever such a thing happened, the whole family would start to experience unexpected deaths and other issues. It could attract evil spirits, which could harm the family.
This incident did not bring some form of contradiction in the community. The reason is that incest is not acceptable in the entire community. Even if it happens, it is done in private. Thus, incest is evil. In the planet, incest has never been accepted. In different institutions and communities around the world, this issue is never received well. It is also punished in other institutions though in different versions and severity. For example, the church as an institution of God forgives such matters when they arise. The Muslim fraternity advocates for beating up of such persons to death. Some other African traditions punish this crime by applying substances that cause pain to the skin and the body in general.
In conclusion, I think this individual really sinned against God and the people. This is because the children born of his daughters are outcasts. They will feel bad when they grow up and realize what their father did. They may live to hate themselves as well as male. However, I strongly feel that all human beings make mistakes since no single individual is perfect. Therefore, even if he was to receive a punishment, sending him away was beyond humanness. Many people commit crimes; however, some of them are never caught. As a spiritual, I disagree with the decision made to estrange Sam and his household. Each individual deserves mercy and forgiveness since we all fail in one way or the other. This incident changed my previous understanding of socialization, as people should be humane enough to forgive and be lenient to others no matter how much evil they have caused.