EDITORIAL: The unseen effects of poverty

16 September 2021 | Opinion

In today’s edition is a sad story of a woman who lost her arm after a scuffle with her mother over a food seasoning.

Wilka Shikongo allegedly ate the spice meant for food in the house and her enraged mother broke her arm in that brawl, leading to it later getting amputated at hospital.

The story has all the hallmarks of a struggling family. Hunger is, after all, a consequence of poverty.

When news like this breaks, we often dismiss it as mere violence. How could a mother do that to her own daughter, many would ask.

Poverty is more than a matter of dollars and cents. It has so many unseen elements that the naked eye cannot detect at a glance.

We cannot successfully fight poverty until we understand how it impacts individuals’ thinking and behaviour patterns. Eradicating poverty means confronting all its manifestations.

Poverty influences the way children are brought up. It is not the mere absence of food to eat or shoes to wear.

Poverty breeds unprovoked anger, hate with no substance and fear of the unknown.

Poverty is time-consuming too. It devours the time that we need to devote to family or even to sleep. That time is spent finding ways to make it through the next day alive.

Unless poverty is radically reduced, more arms will be broken over life’s simplest of needs – like spices.

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