ON the one hand a husband is being divorced after three months of marriage; in other news, a grandfather whose second wife divorced him is before the Courts seeking to reduce the amount of child maintenance. Elsewhere, a man is busy saying women fight each other forgetting he fights women every day, and now on a separate note another man is insisting on marrying a 15-year-old girl. Similarly, another man is celebrating and drinking beer after raping a child and receiving his “not guilty” sentence.
When I speak to you Zimbabwean man, I do not speak to a man in denial, I do not speak to a man who is not doing all the below mentioned, I speak to you the man who needs an attitude change. I believe that your attitude is the biggest enemy that women and children now face and if we deal with it, we may win the war against abuse of women and children. Now Zimbabwean man, before you dismiss my rhetoric or judge my thinking, I challenge you to deal with what I think is actually affecting you. I hope after reflecting on my contentions below you may realise that they are facts and stop all the violence against women, the hate speech, the deliberate criticism of women aspiring leadership and the child rape you desperately wish it was marriage.
Contention number 1: You struggle with the death of your leading role in society
You are not only fighting for leadership in your home but in the Zimbabwean society as well. With colonialism, your leading role was interfered with by men from other races. With an already limited chance to lead, you now find women encroaching in your remaining territory. With women already vying for the presidential seat, you realise that, the economic and political progress of Zimbabwean women is now unstoppable.
In the Zimbabwean society, it is undeniable that Ngano books depicted you as the one doing the hunting while women stayed at home making sure that resources were distributed equally amongst the children. In Zimbabwean folktales, you were depicted as egocentric and feared and compared to a lion, the king of the jungle whilst women were not even elevated to the status of lioness but regarded as children. With education, women now disregard your ego. Your importance as the provider of the family is no longer emphasised by women and children. It is now apparent to you that you are not the lion of the jungle yet you want to force women to contend with you the egocentric man.Advertisement
As women become more and more accepted in the workplace, so is earning less than your wife becoming a reality. It is high time you realise that you are no longer the leader of our society; you now share leadership with everyone including your children who constantly remind you of their rights. If you realise the true fact that the jungle no longer has a king, you may realise that more progress is made when power in the jungle is shared.
Contention number 2: You struggle with responsibility
As you may already know, the issue of HIV/AIDS is an enormous social problem and has a massive impact on budgets in the whole of Africa. Your almost always justified cheating and unprotected sexual escapades has made the fight against HIV/AIDS expensive and hard to win. Whilst cheating itself is not acceptable in a society you proudly call Christian, it is surprising that you get away with it without any punishment. Have you realised that you do not take responsibility for your actions? You always blame someone else for your irresponsibility. When you cheat, it is the other lady you blame because she lured you into it.
OK! Maybe you are not cheating, you have decided to be polygamous and in your opinion, you are now responsible. Really? The issue of polygamy – even if it is cultural – needs you to address it from the perspective of the mental and emotional health of women and children. It needs you to be responsible enough to investigate why women and not men get into these relationships and how they cope with them.
The impact of polygamy on your children must be investigated by you. The choice to go into a polygamous marriage is an irresponsible choice that you make for your children and such a choice is arguably against the best interests of your children who have to contend with the fights of your wives and in some instances, your absence. Also, when you, a poor man, marry multiple partners, you only succeed in increasing poverty in Zimbabwe and burdening your relatives with the responsibility to take care of your children. If you realise the importance of taking responsibility, you may see that your marital satisfaction will increase.
Contention number 3: You struggle with violence
When your wife talks to you, she keeps a safe distance. You beat up your wife for such silly things you know. Your children go to bed the moment you open the gate. You have, to your surprise, woken up to find that all your girl children are no longer in school and have eloped to their boyfriends. Without realising that you are the cause of child marriages in Zimbabwe, you blame children for running away (eloping) from your violence and, with your naivety, you fail to realise that you are guilty of failing to protect your child.
On the other hand perhaps you are the man who is responsible for the child eloping, and even you are not better. You hide in your cocoon and force yourself to believe that a child wants to marry you not realising that children belong to all of us and your role was to assist the child by reporting the violent and irresponsible father to the police for failure to take care of his children. With your violent thoughts, you see the violence of another man to the girl child as normal and marry the already traumatised child. When you understand the impact of violence to yourself, your children and Zimbabwe at large, I hope you will stop it.
Contention 4: “Ask him it’s not me”: Your dodgy relationship with your anatomy
“I am sorry. I have cheated on you. I never wanted to cheat but I do not know what happened. I found myself doing it.” I call the above your signature sentence. You blame your anatomy for your mistakes. You purport to distance your mind from the actions of your anatomy. If we ask you to explain your promiscuity you say, “these things just happen”. It is as if you automatically found yourself engaging in reckless sexual activities.
To you it is the fault of your body. There seems to be no relationship between what you do and the actions of your body. There seems to be no link between your thinking process and the actions of your body. Whilst you blame your uncontrolled sexual desires for your mistakes, it is surprisingly your source of pride. You often find no pride in material, social or spiritual achievements; your pride is all too often in your pants.
You pride yourself in reckless sexual behaviour and take no responsibility. You lie to yourself that your lust is divorced from your normal thinking system. You forget that your reckless sexual behaviour is the reason why we have children without fathers roaming the streets, it’s the reason why we have grandmothers who never retire because they have to work for your children and it is the reason why we have child mothers.
I believe you must interrogate my contentions above and, if they sound true to you, then you must relook at what you have learnt so that you may unlearn everything in order to give yourself the opportunity to learn anew. Zimbabwe is in a despicable state of moral decadence, we cannot afford to be silent.
(In this article I write in my personal capacity and the views herein are not reflective of the views of any organisation.)