Cultural dimensions

Published by: Johann Taljaard

Published on: 17 Jan, 2018

I happened to be sitting in a steam bath along with a few other people. I suspect there was some familiarity because of attending the same gym but the following conversation lead me to conclude as follows;

‘The sum of any culture is not greater than the humanity of a human being’

A man started a conversation with a middle age Indian/Asian woman. Soon the conversation turned to cultures. The man asks ‘Are you married?’ to which the woman replied, ‘Yes I am and have been for 40 years’. That is fantastic replied the man. “Was it an arranged marriage?” comes the next question. The woman replied after a momentary pause, “Why is it that when you see an Asian woman that you immediately assume that there have been an arrangement into marriage?”

Taken aback, the man says ‘I did not assume anything….”, interrupting him, the woman says, “Then why ask the question?”

“I meant no offence, I just wanted to understand more about the culture and the people”, looking quite flustered and awkward at this point.

“Then you should have asked me to tell you about Indian culture and I might have voluntarily shared with you that my marriage was indeed arranged. I would also have told you that I have three children and that I have already given them the freedom to decide for themselves who they love and want to spend the rest of their lives with”. She hesitates for a moment . “…my husband, bless his soul, was terrible to me and the children. I did not blame him for it because I understood that he, like me, was part of a system that enforces certain cultural rituals onto individuals causing much pain and sorrow” she says.

“My cultural legacy is to not let that be the burden of my children since they are the result of the union between two people, right or wrong!” “Culture do not define people, people define culture”, and with that she left the steam room leaving all of us a bit humbled by the experience.


Please read our related articles