To which their parents were subjected.
In many traditional African societies, many people can relate with such expressions like, ‘this is the child that will take away shame from this family.’ Or ‘this child will remove the disgrace this family has endured over the years.’ Whether or not the child in question goes on and delivers on that expectation is a different issue all together but what is not in dispute is the fact of the heavy expectation. In places, where such expectations are not voiced, they are implied.
While the elements that constitute disgrace or indignities may vary from family to family, what is common among them is the fact that by the action or inaction of others, the parents were belittled. They were made to feel small, feel inferior or look stupid. Or they were cheated and made to look as fools, lazy and of little worth. It is a heavy burden for any child to witness his or her parents being at the receiving end of such treatment. An already bad situation becomes more complicated if the parent decides to end it all either because there is no longer any fight left in him/her or because there was never a fight left there in the first case.
And in what may be described as pouring petrol into already burning fire, the honest thief shifts gears, as it were, and brands his quest as a mission to restore his family’s pride and honour. It doesn’t matter that his father is no longer available to witness the restoration of the family’s honour.