A third and final year social worker student interviewed me on the importance of owning a home. Below is a text of our interviews.
In this interview, I will share with you the benefits/importance of owning a home.
I will break these benefits into the following sub headings:
- Universal dream for any Zambian
- Future investment
- Security and social gratification
- Incentive for educational achievement
- Health and wellbeing motivator
- Civic participation
Home ownership holds a special place in Zambian Psyche. Buying a home is a very important goal, it is a universal dream for any progressive and ambitious person, not only in Zambian community, but every person living on earth.
Owning a home is a big investment that Zambian makes. In fact Zambians strive to build/buy homes from their own savings without relying on mortgages from the banks in our home country. Owning a home here is even much easier because we have opportunities to borrow from the banks. This is viewed as a good debt, because it allows us to avoid paying what we call, “dead rent” to land lords and when you leave or die, you have nothing to leave for your children. This is why we are motivated to buy our own homes as we perceive it as a form of enforced saving which appreciates over time.
Security and social gratification
A material home represents a strong expression of security where one can boast of a piece of land with a garden as his own, to which one can withdraw, in which we can enjoy with our family, friends and into which a stranger can come against our will.
A home ownership provides a Zambian with a sense of physical and emotional security and safety. Where ever you go, you can come back to a home, “home sweet home!” It’s a personal space for us! Owning a home gives us the power, achievement and control over our environment we live in. It gives us the sense of control and authority.
On the social gratification, home ownership provides a sense of belonging and acceptance. People who do not have their own homes are viewed as lazy, homeless, unproductive and have no place in Zambian society. Therefore owning a home enhances the sense of connection with broader community. And this provides social stability, economic reliability and community assurance, individual aspiration for independence and future security.
Home ownership and parenting
A stable home environment provides a good parenting. It is a well-known fact that owning a home encourages parents get involved in school activities, for example there is a tendency of reading to children, there is control of children’s TV time and imparting good behaviours within the home and in the neighbourhood. This enhances positive children outcome!
Education and achievement
When we migrated to New Zealand, our main motivation was to have our children receive a better education and be responsible for their future. So when buying a home, we look at the neighborhood if it can support and contribute to our children’s’ education. So we undertake a financial commitment to buy a house in a good area, free of crimes, violent behaviors and other vices. We also want to transfer financial commitment and behaviors to our children so that they will grow into responsible children in future.
With this in mine, home ownership provides good educational outcome for our children in that it reduces teenager pregnancies, bad behaviors because of the available quality of life maintained by home owners.
Health and well-being
Zambians always look at home ownership as a special place for retirement. So we buy houses so that one day when we retire, we want to be in our own place which is familiar to us, where we feel in control of ourselves rather than being pushed by the land lords. As mentioned earlier on in this article, we develop interrelationships with our neighbors and government agencies, we therefore want to be in a familiar environment where they know us and when we need help, it is readily available. This gives the peace of mind and enhances the health and well being status as opposed to renting a home in advanced age. There is no security and not possible to make modification. Culturally, Zambian believes that it is more honorable to die in your own home than in a rental house. This gives us Zambian the desire to buy our own home.
Owning a home provides us with the opportunity to get involved and participate in community activities such as, elections, neighborhood watch, garden competitions, and community projects. We develop group network where we exchange ideas and skills, hence building lasting interpersonal relationships.
Owning a home gives us individual autonomy; accumulate wealth and social status which in turn brings social, economic, family and civic outcomes.
Home ownership provides educational performance of our children, encourages participation in civic and voluntary activities. It also enhances and improves health care outcomes.
Home ownership reduces crimes rates in communities and people become less dependency on welfare income from the government.
Home ownership comes with pride and sense of belonging in the community because there is financial stake in good neighborhood. Therefore, there are more social benefits in owning a house than renting one for life.
I have even gone further in owning a travel membership for life where I can go for holiday as many times as I can at a reduced price. There are no added fees, once you buy the membership it is for life and there are also financial benefits if you share it with friends and work mates.