Rules of an African Culture This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

   The tradition of the Herero culture is all about properbehavior.

Before 1990, men were not allowed to milk cows, but due toother religious influences, they now can. Something most don't believe when Iexplain is that all Herero girls' dresses must fall below their knees. Girls arenot allowed to talk to boys, and they must cook and collect wood from the forest.Youth are not allowed to look into an elder person's eyes when talking; if youdo, you will offend him or her, and show that you were not raised properly.

These rules still exist, though they are easing. I believe they helpmaintain discipline and prevent teen drug use and pregnancy. I sometimes likefollowing the elders and trying to obey them for a weekend, but it is veryhard.

In the Herero culture, women are very important and are respected,but they don't have any say in many decisions. Moving livestock from home to themarket was not done without a woman because our sheep and cows are sacred. EveryHerero man must have these animals, or he will be seen as someone who doesn'tbelieve in the culture and tradition, and be hated by other Hereros.

AHerero man should marry a Herero woman, but if he wants to marry someone fromanother culture or tradition, his father decides. Most of the time, the fatherfinds a woman for his son, who is told when his wedding day will be, even thoughhe has never seen the bride. With my parents, my mother was told she was gettingmarried the next morning, though she didn't know who my father was, and shecouldn't say no because what her father said was what would happen, whether shewanted to or not.

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This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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