Kindheit in Afrika

Kindheit in Afrika
Wednesday 23 July 2008

Dear Alice,

Let me first assure you that your books have helped me a lot in the past couple of years : I no longer feel guilty for breaking off all contact with my parents and I stopped considering suicide.

Reading your readers’ mails I just had a thought I wanted to know your insights on. How come depression is a typical disease of the more developed areas in the world ? I happen to have visited (West-)Africa many times and I have noticed that children in Africa are practically all and practically all the time physically punished. Sometimes by really torturelike means ! Also, as soon as they are about 3 years old, they wander the streets and are “taken care of” by older children who teach them the ways of their society, what their obligations and rights are, how to behave toward others etc.

Even among grown-ups you see that the younger often are humiliated, used, treated as lesser persons… In my opinion, (poor) people in Africa are so dependent upon each other that they are under constant stress not to wrong anybody, thus losing certain opportunities for sharing food, shelter, etc.

So how come less people suffer from depression in Africa as opposed to Europe or the US ?

Thank you for your insights on this subject

AM: Sie fragen, weshalb die grausame Erziehung in Afrika nicht zu Depressionen führt wie bei uns. Die Depression, die Unterdrückung der Gefühle, ist nur EINE der unzähligen Möglichkeiten, die wir haben, um auf die in der Kindheit erlittenen Grausamkeiten als Erwachsener zu reagieren. Gewaltausübung ist eine andere. Wir können wohl kaum behaupten, dass es in Afrika an Gewaltausübung mangelt.

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