Reality zone with Vicky Wireko: Happy Family Day?

Is it not an interesting world? Never a dull moment with one celebration or the other coming every month of the year. It is all as if someone sitting somewhere is playing the draft game and pushing dates on the calendar to create busyness all around us.

Someone sent me a “Happy Family Day” wish the other day. I was in two minds and had to stop to think as I pondered how to wish her back in response because I had not honestly heard anywhere that the day in question was being marked universally or locally as Family Day.

There was no noise about a Family Day and as I cast my mind back I could not remember when the last Family Day was ever observed.

What I remembered was only a few weeks ago some parts of the world observed in style, the most celebrated Mother’s Day and next month, in some parts of the world, Father’s Day will be marked though not on an escalated scale as Mother’s Day.

But come to think of it, if well and truly the family is to be recognised on a special day, which idea of family should one celebrate on such a day? Is it the nuclear or the extended family?

Family values

Whichever it is, it seems that the family values one grew up with and which provided a strong bond has since been wheeled away to intensive care and no amount of resuscitation would bring it back to life.

In my life as a Columnist, I have paid visits to two offices of the Domestic Violence and Victim Support Unit (DOVVSU) offices at the Ministries Police Station and the Police Headquarters on the Ring Road in Accra to follow up on the issue of Domestic Violence. Entering the floor at the Ministries office of DOVVSU sent me a signal of what I was not expecting – families in turmoil.

There were countless women, children and a handful of men lined up in wait to see one officer or the other about their complaints of abuse or compensation-related issues.  

Even though I did not see that number of people at the Police Headquarters’ office of DOVVSU, my enquiries then, on domestic violence proved a point that families were in disarray and women, seen as the magnets in families were sore with abuse. 

I learnt at the time, that on average, one in three women was abused in some form in their marriages and the average rate of domestic violence was around 55 per cent. Surprisingly, the information gathered made it clear that the statistics did not exempt highly professional married women and concluded that domestic violence was general and on the increase.

I have also paid a visit to the family court in Accra once, also on fact-finding. From the bitterness on the faces of complainants and from other body language, one did not need much convincing that families are in pain.

As a member of Zonta Club, we have on our calendar without fail, 16 days of activism from the end of November to early December each year, against all forms of violence against women and girls. From our interactions with the UN Fund For Population Activities (UNFPA) in Ghana, for example, we have worked together in the area of gender equality to advocate for the non-discrimination of women and girls. All that has been in aid of family ‘’wellness” and good.


So really, if there is a day like Family Day, then one needs to enrich it with inclusiveness. By this, one would want to extend it and draw attention to a day of togetherness, peace and love between the two types of families that exist in our Ghanaian context. This is the nuclear and the extended families.

Even though the nuclear family system may be under pressure with divorce and other bitterness, the extended family continues to play supportive roles in keeping the universal family together.

With my generation, some of us grew up with grandmothers active in our lives.  Grandmothers played central roles bringing their children’s children up and keeping them together as one. As such, aunties, uncles and first cousins grew up holding one other up as their family in the real sense. 

It is time to start bringing this type of family values up for celebration on family days. One needs to start drawing the family tree that brings people of one blood together and celebrate. That by the way brings to mind a most celebrated and meaningful Sunday in my Church’s life as a family of Christ. 

On that Family Sunday, we all came together wearing our Kente clothes or traditional clothes, broke bread together and had a get-together reception at the end of the service. Very adorable day.

Regrettably, however, one only sees blood-related togetherness when a member of the family passes away. Everyone is seen counted for in the funeral obituary. 

Nonetheless, come the actual day of the funeral, one sees a mockery of that family togetherness. Two separate donation tables, one for wife or husband and children and another one for family betray the course.

Though together on the obituary as one big family of mourners, the reality of the division between nuclear and extended families remains. Family Days should begin to bring closure to such practices during the funerals of departed members.   


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DISCLAIMER: The Views, Comments, Opinions, Contributions and Statements made by Readers and Contributors on this platform do not necessarily represent the views or policy of Multimedia Group Limited.