Latest News Editor's Choice

Opinion / Columnist

When a woman says NO it is a No! Period!

03 Sep 2018 at 08:02hrs | Views
This is the strong message that President Ramaphosa of South Africa gave to the women of South Africa who demonstrated at the Union buildings on the 2nd of August 2018, commemorating the past event of thousands of women who protested on the 9th of August 1956 protesting against the extension of Pass Laws to women. This was a historic match, a turning point in the role of women in the struggle for freedom and independence of South Africa.  A "no" is a "no" he said. "Your bodies are your own; no man is entitled to your bodies even if you are married and not!  This causes me to hang my head in absolute shame, because this is not the way South African men should behave." Do some Zimbabwean men know this wisdom? Do some men in the Sub-Sahara continent know this wisdom?

A "NO" is a "NO" Some Zimbabwean men do not know this simple sentence to this date: it's not the South African men only who are illiterate in knowing that to demand sex on a woman without her consent is criminal: it is rape per se. They think and feel they are entitled to the bodies of women to do whatever they want with it. Women and girls are beaten sometimes severely; in some causing death. These are such barbarities on a woman's life in our societies: the man will claim that he has the right to do so: to rape and to beat to kill female dependents.

 There are situations where small children and babies are raped in South Africa and in Zimbabwe too: they are raped to cure HIV/AIDS. When we are told Zimbabwe has the highest literacy in Africa, men would know that it is a myth to cure HIV/AIDS by sexual intercourse with virgins!

 "We should behave with respect‚ with honour‚ and should appreciate and celebrate you as women and mothers. You bring life into this world. I was brought into this world by the women of our country and it is important for us as men to give that respect to you. And this is the message that I as president will be spreading over and over, said Ramaphosa.

Bonnie Sebele from Botswana said: "Women in many African countries still suffer a lot of discrimination and much still a lot has to be done. If it were possible I would say educate all the men and teach them that whilst men and women are physiologically distinct, mentally and otherwise women are just as capable as men and should be entitled to the same privileges .I am happy at least that in my country girls have equal access to education, health and many other aspects of life. Things are not perfect yet, but life could be far worse."  

The focus of my treatise is about men at home and in the Diaspora: men we see and interact within political conferences and social media. I have known men who are extraordinary sensitive in their approach to women, kind, respectful, welcoming and very much accommodating towards their spouses' and girl-children. I have seen men who think a woman is just the last pieces of dirt, to be use and abuse as they wish, curiously some women tolerate this for some reason I really do not comprehend: is it twisted our upbringing?  

Men, especially from home Zimbabwe and in the Diaspora portray some godlike images of themselves. A Zimbabwean man has an exaggerated sense of entitlement towards his wife, girl-children and women in his surroundings. Some friend of mine in Namibia said: they sincerely believe in their own world, therefore, they think they rule the world. These men make war and make peace; they build and destroy without shame: she said.    

The expectations of women are hilarious, to say the least; I am talking about men/woman relationship at home and in the Diaspora:  Women are expected to work full time in their respective workplaces, when they come home they clean homes, cook, raise babies and after all this hard work, and above all: they provide sex on demand from their husbands and partners. If the man wanted sex that moment he has to get it and will get it. Instead of being thankful for all this gesture of feminine attribute, the men will make yet another home elsewhere with single- women "mvhana" (mvhana is a woman who got a child out of wedlock) who will not demand much financially because she will be working equally.  ("Small- houses," they call them in Zimbabwe: is a woman who allows herself to cushion a married man for sexual purposes)  

The world of a man at home and in the Diaspora is a world full of contradictions: much as these men want good functional homes, it is not enough for them: his African gene make-up will tell him to even seek more than he has, yet another sex-partner where he will steal out for a good time without the knowledge of the home set-up. Small houses are the "hot-spots" for cruel and insensitive men, be it in at home or in the Diaspora. Small houses are clandestine set-ups to quench African men's overly desire for sexual intercourse. It is those places where sexual intercourse is done differently from their wife: crude and unconventional-sex shop kind of sexual intercourse.  

It is common knowledge that in the UK especially, men have three to six small houses, he will not be employed but s somehow from the many "small houses" he has: oh yes these twisted women do give them money and fuel for the car expenses he will be traveling with, a car that will have been be purchased by his wife. So many men in the Diaspora live in a bubble and therefore adamantly self-centered in their approach to women generally.  The sun, the entire universe revolves around some twisted Zimbabwean men.  

African men: I will limit myself to the men I know, Zimbabwean men, are quick to lie and cheat and bamboozle their spouses. It is in their gene make-up to cheat on their wives and equally cheating too to their "small houses" literally reducing women to sex mules. The entire upbringing is to be the better gender  of  overly demanding to prove sexual might than a woman, they respect no women, (and curiously it is those women: their mothers who brought them up that way. Men do not bring up children but women.)  A Zimbabwean man does not have respect for a woman and they do not recognize the fact women are equal to men. Even in the Diaspora itself, and with all the trappings of civilization around them, they still want to score what is in their gene make-up, to have more than one woman: then life becomes exiting!!

What do men do, they financially are dependent on women; depend on the dignity of the home, with several "small house" connections, doted around the UK. A woman who can endure this is a "good woman," a well brought up woman indeed, pun intended. It's those family values imparted in her from childhood, to uphold the family values, which is not bad values at all. It is when women do not question this primordial narrative in men that is disturbing.  This indeed sounds nasty, feministic and even hideous but it is a fact of life at home and in the Diaspora. To encounter such a man in your life can easily drive one to a mental state of despair that is if you are normal in your mental faculties.   

Ramaphosa said: "As the president of our country I do have deep respect for the women of our country and take my time to listen to the issues that are raised by the women of our country‚," he said" We feel the pain that you feel. I feel it very deeply. I also feel the hurt and the anger that you feel."

Day-in-day-out men have for years been abusive and disrespecting women in situations beyond comprehensions: lording on women and crushing their rights and dignity in the process. From London to New Castle back to Birmingham, turn around to South-end-on-Sea and Luton, Zimbabwean men have "small houses" raising illegitimate children: In their convenience, they come and go as they wish, that is life for a "true" Zimbabwean man in the Diaspora: it is beyond anybody's wit how wives cope with deceit of that magnitude: what a mockery of life!    

The #ME Too movement will spark in Zimbabwe in as much as it has manifested itself in different corners of the globe. I am coming back to my own encounters with men at home and in the Diaspora. I am a single woman, "mvhana yeku Diaspora" they will want to call me, wholly involved in the political developments of my dearly loved country: Zimbabwe. Indeed Zimbabwe's moral values are a mockery of decency because I am deeply concerned about married men who seek to make me some "small house" in Germany. It would appear as if it was not enough bitter experience with some twisted professor of NUST in Bulawayo, my hometown: something that I highlighted in my previous articles in January this year, surely that experience was fun, pun intended  

We as single women always encounter men that lack moral sensibility when it comes to single women. These are the men who think a single woman, it does not matter what age, is for take. Excessive personal greed and complete disregard for a woman is now the order of the day. It is just inconceivable to be repelling young BOYS in the Diaspora for their sex advances at us women at our age. To say NO is to invite insults, scorn, and ridicule that are unprintable. To say yes you have proven beyond doubt you are cheap, frustrated and you indeed missing "something."

Just by being in the Diaspora for so long a time makes Zimbabwean men think we are loose women: Why are we not married? Diaspora life has confined us women into a box where men think we are desperate for a man in a home even if means single weekend sex escapades with him. This is how low we have been reduced by men without resources in their name. In this rejoinder: I can sincerely say we women have values and principles to protect our dignity even if we are not married.

Most women of my age know exactly what they want in their lives in a relationship. We do not want to put our lives on the line. There are serious diseases nowadays to content with. How do you possibly accommodate a man-stranger, a cold-caller in your home: to be precise in your bedroom and be intimate with him? It is in the psyche of men to think we single women: mvhana dze ku Diaspora "lack something" whatever that means!!  Men should know that there is decency of life in some women-headed homes!  A home of woman-headed should never be turned into a sophisticated brothel by whomever! We should never be driven into mental penury by whomever!

Single women are put into the realms of mythic narratives: you must be "kind" all the time. You must be some "nice" religious woman with the good family background.  You must "laugh and smile" all the time. You must never say "NO" to men's sexual advances because it is not black-like, black women do not say no. These twisted men will deceitfully make you think you are "precious" you are a Queen for that moment they want their "john" to play. You say no: the goal-post shifts instantly: you are a cheap woman anyway, will mobilize everybody including your family to rule you out as an "outcast," let alone talking loud, and assertively challenging him of his indecent behaviour, you invite insults of unprintable nature. I am challenging this narrative out rightly and it simply means, according to African standards, I am being supercilious. If indeed it is the case, and then I think men will have learned something from me as a person.  

I am a woman who is always complaining about men who think they are entitled to share our lives and our private lives. I have no cultural considerations to make on men who are abusive to women. I am very sensitive to abuse of women and girl-children and equally abrasive if I am confronted with men with misogynistic outfits. I fight against the misuse and abuse of women in my home country of Zimbabwe.  

This practice of abuse of men against women lacks moral sensitivity is now endemic and entrenched in our societies must be challenged forthwith: notwithstanding the fact that our fathers were providers at homes. But this indecency and dependency we see in our generation of men is a disturbing artifice and new form of men dependency. This excessive greed to loot on single-women and completely disregarding the painful lives of single women they have gone through singlehandedly, developing far up the mobility ladder: is now the cultural norm at home and in the Diaspora.

It is easy for a man to relegate a woman to an inferior position in any social discourse to prove he is better than you- woman and to conceal his embarrassment if the woman shows signs of intellectual challenge. Having spent upward of 41 years in Germany, it will not be easy for any man to ever cheat my intelligence by any stretch of their imagination.  Insults are expressed to inflict guilt in us so that we "think otherwise:" and "behave ourselves" well, but a "no is a no," said Ramaphosa.  

The culture of Ubuntu is humanistic and benevolent, but at the same breath, the African culture can be oppressive; African traditions relegate women to subhuman entities. How do you comprehend an abusive man with chauvinist utterances, statements that subjects a woman to conformity all the time? We should imbue ourselves in fear of retribution "today, tomorrow and in the future."  This is the weapon that men use to reduce women: we are reminded of the future consequences regarding our unequivocal attitude to abuse and discrimination by misogynistic men in our societies; home and in the Diaspora. I am an avid, fervid defender of women's rights, starting with me.

Misogynistic men will always think that they are the sole judges of women-morals. By allowing them this privilege, they dominate our every existence and the very essence that defines a woman and girl-child. We should never allow men to have such whips on us knowing full well that they are duplicitous themselves; devoid of ethics, morality, good sense and some level common sense: common sense is no longer common in the African sense.

We are very happy single-women and women-headed families as we overcame difficult  circumstances unimaginable by common sense. We don't stunt our growth because we said "no" to cold-callers and strangers, twisted married men seeking from us some extra-sexual pleasures, the pleasures he gets from several other women in the small-houses and of course his dear, the poor wife.  We have cultivated our own gardens long back, planted our own rose-garden flowers. We have the self-esteem that we boost at every angle, and we are powerful without measure. This is what twisted men envy in us and curiously want to be part of our success. They will come in as "advisors" of your family: find faults in the home, one wonders what is there to advice in such a solid single family unit!

Ramaphosa urged the women to continue making demands until things change for women's rights and dignity. "Please do not let up. Remain the activists as you are. Remain noisy‚ as you are. Remain radical as you are. And remain vocal as you are. The message that you are imprinting here needs to be heard in the corridors of power‚ in the halls of influence and all of the country. And we will make sure that‚ yes‚ even the police‚ yes‚ even our Parliament‚ yes‚ even our judiciary‚ yes‚ even our traditional leaders‚ yes‚ even our religious leaders‚ must hear your message loud and clear‚" he said.

Ramaphosa's message is my inspiration. Indeed we shall continue to fight for our rights in Zimbabwe until the men recognize women as their equals and with respect. Women are not objects of sex. We shall demand respect from men. Women are not the conveniences of men immoralities and barbarities. Women must put up a big fight for their rights and dignity. It shall never be given to us on a silver plate indeed we shall put up a good fight. We say no to rape, we say no to the self-entitlement of men, a woman's body is her and not his!  A no is a no. we say no to abuse of women by men. We shall inform our girl-children to say no to abuse. We shall teach our growing up girl-children to identify abuse and gender-based violence on women by twisted men.
Source - Nomazulu Thata
All articles and letters published on Bulawayo24 have been independently written by members of Bulawayo24's community. The views of users published on Bulawayo24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Bulawayo24. Bulawayo24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received.