Are you a slave master?

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The subject of slavery is one that modern humans try to elevate themselves above. As a civilised human in the 21st century, you are not likely to identify with slavery in any way. However, is this really reflective of your activities? Nowadays, you don’t have to own a sugar or rice plantation, auction humans on a platform or snap their mouths shut with padlocks, but you can be a slave master or mistress in your own right. Many have carried on with the conspiracy of silence in the area of employing domestic staff. Some choose more polished terms like 'assistants' to further dignify the roles played. However, the problem is not with the status of the job as there is dignity in labour as long as the worker receives the deserved dues. To know whether you are a slave master/mistress, you need to consider these scenarios: 

How old is your domestic staff?
In several homes in Nigeria, it has become a normal thing sight to have a domestic staff- some as young as 8 or 9 years old or teenagers between 13-16 years. You work so hard that you often cannot find the strength for household chores at the end of the day or you don’t work at all but your fingers were not made for such chores. Whatever the reason for needing a domestic help, you don’t need to justify it to anybody as long as you can afford it. Where the problem lies is in employing underage children. The fact that their parents or wards release them to you willingly does not make it any better. So, if you have a domestic help below 18 at the moment, carry your title and embrace it – all hail the slave master/mistress!
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Rest time – no time? 
Just because you are paying your domestic staff whose only job description is to work does not mean she/he is not entitled to rest. Yes, just as you have working and closing hours, your domestic staff should have a daily schedule that leaves room for rest too. I can hear you saying – ‘ah, they will just be lazy and do nothing.’ However, that does not justify having them on their feet the whole of 24 hours in a day. You should also think of giving them a day or two off each month. They are humans too and deserve a ‘me-time’. In more developed countries, there are laid down agreements which prescribes the number of rest days, your worker is entitled to. Sadly, even in these organised settings, several employers still don’t stick to it. 

It is totally up to you on how closely you want to integrate your domestic staff into your house. That is, do you want to treat them as part of your extended family, have your kids treat them like an aunt/uncle or older cousin or you want them to just be like the usual detached office-like staff? Each of these choices comes with its pros and cons. There have been reports of those who integrated their domestic helps so closely into their families that outsiders could not even identify they were not related and in the end such a staff brought criminals to rob and maim the employers. On the other hand, there are also domestic staff who have wreaked havoc on their employers with the justification that they were not treated as part of the family. Your major concern here should be on treating your domestic helps right and not concentrating so much on the sense of entitlement pointed out earlier. Do not starve them or feed them leftovers or scraps. Do not ration their meals. If you are restricting feeding as a form of punishment, you are a slave master/mistress.

With all the frustrations in the world today, people have the tendency of displaying aggressive behaviours and this has resulted in some tragic incidents. If you need anger therapy or medication to handle it, get it! Stop cutting your domestic staff with knives and blades or hitting them with pestles. They too are human. If your domestic staff commits a very bad offence and you can’t just deal with it, return them to the agency or contact who facilitated the employment. If you have found yourself, administering bodily harm to your domestic staff in the name of punishment, start polishing your title, slave master/mistress. You can change today and redeem yourself before it is too late. Even though you are a slave master/mistress, you are also enslaved to your parochial mindset. Seek freedom and embrace true humanity.

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