African parents are worried about the rate at which the young African born British are gradually forgetting the African heritage of giving respect to those regarded as elders of the community. With funding from Heritage Lottery, Health Action is embarking on this project titled “Elder respect among young adults: A cross-cultural study of Britons and Africans”.
We need to understand the existence of meaningful cultural differences in the way the elderly is respected. To explore the current trends in the way, the practice
must be investigated within and across cultural contexts, taking into account different cultural perspectives. (Hereafter, respect for the elderly will be called elder respect. The term elder here denotes parents, elderly relatives, neighbourhood elders, elders in the workplace, and older adults in general.)
It is necessary to look at younger people as a potential source of the changes occurring in attitudes toward the elderly in any given culture. In the case of college students, exposure to a liberal atmosphere on college campuses, relative lack of parental supervision, and greater peer influence affect their lives and behaviours. As a consequence, they are likely to contract new values different from their parents’ and be less supportive of the traditional norms governing the manner of treating the elderly. Yet, these young adults will be an essential part of the support system for the old. How they treat elders is critical not only
to the elderly, but also to society.
The project will focus on comparing young British adults and young African adults living in the in the Medway area of the United Kingdom, we will explore the specific behavioural forms of elder respect that are cross-culturally equivalent and other forms that are culture specific. Samples of young adults will be surveyed in the community from the two backgrounds by using the same questionnaire and measurement techniques. An inclusive set of forms for elder respect project that can be used by other organisations for similar project will be produced.
Volunteers trained in heritage and interviewing skills will also interview older Africans and British separately on elder respect during the pre and post-colonial era. These interviews will be recorded as oral history and used for project workshops and put in archives after the project for reference by others who want to do similar project.
We also want to create a culture where young people learn their values, especially with respect to how to respond, interact with and respect their elders? We will compare the values and respect for elders in African countries before and after the colonial rule with that of the United Kingdom, their similarities and differences
We aim to develop a project that will create greater social cohesion in Medway and give people a platform to pioneer interculturality and an appreciation for the cultures in the UK.
African culture is gradually being eroded due to modernisation. Our arts language, food and culture almost going into oblivion. The collective memory of any society is of vital importance in preserving cultural identities, in bridging the past and the present and in shaping the future
A report will be produced will be produced at the end of the project