Advances in economic wellbeing and growths in literacy rate are not the sole measures of social progress. While it can be argued that colonialism benefited Africans with respect to these dimensions of welfare, it can also be argued that colonialism impaired the overall quality of life in Africa. In Emecheta's Joys of Motherhood, Ngugi's Weep Not, Child and Dangarembga's Nervous Conditions, the authors describe how colonialism challenged and eroded Africa's traditional morals and values. These novels illustrate the corruptive influences colonialism had on social dynamic between family members, quality of life and gender inequality.
Colonialism had a destructive impact on the social dynamic between parents and children. In Nervous Conditions, Dangarembga describes the continuing struggles that Nyasha has when her controlling parents tries to suppress the person that she is and desires to be. Instead of allowing their daughter to grow into a confident, intelligent and sexually free woman, Babamukuru and Maiguru attempts to make her a well-behaved and subordinate girl. They take away books that they feel Nyasha should not be reading, forces their daughter to eat when she says that she is not hungry, and even uses violence to reprimand her for staying out too late with a boy. Nyasha discusses her parent's oppression by saying, " 'It's not their fault. They did it to them too. You know they did'" (Dangarembga 200). In this quote, Dangarembga makes note that Nyasha's parents are not to blame for their controlling demeanor, because the settlers also oppressed them during colonization. Just as the colonists took away the rights, pride and self-dignity of Nyasha's parents, Babamukuru and Maiguru takes away the privileges and happiness of their daughter. .
As a result of colonialism, men, traditionally seen as the head of the household, become emasculated in the eyes of family members.