Nepotism is a term that we are familiar with. Some of us knew this word and it’s meaning as far as 6th grade when we learnt about it in the subject, Social Studies while some of us saw it happen in schools when teachers favoured their nephews, nieces and children by giving them permanent good quality desks to sit on in class or by giving them government text books to keep as personal trophies for their use-if you haven’t experienced this, I have and it hurts to see it happen yet, you can’t do anything to stop it.
The term nepotism refers to the acts of favoritism perpetrated by influential individuals towards their relatives in various fields, including business, politics, entertainment, sports, religion and other activities including job opportunities, positions of power, statuses and roles.
According to history, this word came into existence through acts of assigning nephews to important positions by Catholic popes and bishops. It was derived from an Italian word, “nepotismo” which is based on Latin root word, nepos which means “nephew”.
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It is believed that from as early as the Middle Ages til late 17th century, some Catholic popes and bishops who had taken vows of chastity gave their nephews such positions of preference because they did not have legitimate offspring of their own and this was done in view of continuing a papal “dynasty
However, today, the word as gained a more generalized meaning in that it now involves various fields apart from religion and it alsoincludes not only nephews but, friends, sons, daughters, nieces, sisters and the list goes on.
Despite being criticized since ancient times by several philosophers including Aristotle, Valluvar, and Confucius, nepotism keeps thriving till now especially in developing countries.
At one point in time, the ancient Indian philosopher, Valluvar condemned nepotism and called it both an evil and unwise venture but today, it is the savior of many people in developing countries. Due to lack of it inadequate employment opportunities, individualism and corruption, this vice has thrived to be more prevalent than honesty and fairness itself.
In Zambia, people have normalized the saying ” you need connections to get a job”. Nobody is hopeful about getting employed on merits anymore simply because people study and attain the highest of education and expertise in the field of their choice yet, they end up unemployed, destitute and unable to utilize their skills while, someone with little or no knowledge about the field is able to get a job due to the fact that they have a relative occupying a position of power in a particular organization.
Meanwhile, others do not see the value of education anymore. They would rather establish businesses of their own or hustle with “99 jobs” than aiming for academic excellence because nepotism has devalued education and knowledge in itself.
It is clear that some people are incompetent in their work because they do not have experience of the job title given to them while others are simply materialistic and Beth on amassing wealth for themselves through any means possible including corruption, bribery fraud and imbursement. To a larger extent, this is why some African countries are underdeveloped til now. The right people are missing in action, wallowing in poverty and labouring as street vendors and manual workers yet. They have ideas that could transform the entire country and boost the economy. It isn’t that jobs are unavailable, they have just been given to those who have relatives in higher positions.
Mwebanthu, It is disheartening that everyday I meet one or two people who have completed studies in teaching, Nursing, communication yet, there are no jobs for them whether in the private or government spheres. If only we could emmulate our friends in other countries; see how they put their country’s success above their personal needs, se how they help create wealthy through fair employment and distribution of resources. Nepotism of course exists everywhere but it is in Africa that I see it as a societal norm where people without someone influential to speak for them die with great ideas stuck in their minds while others suffer to make ends meet. Indeed while your relatives are happily able to live comfortable and luxurious lives, other people’s children are starving to death somewhere and yet, others have been chased out of school due to the fact that their only hope was denied of a job they solely deserved simply because they don’t have connections with higher powers.
If only we can put aside greed, individualism, hunger for power; then we wouldn’t have to worry about the poverty that has striken the majority of the continent. The battle against nepotism must start within us; inside our hearts where our conscience will convict us before we take the battle to the outside world.