Sometimes I get my inspiration for a post from a television show or twitter conversations, and this time it was for both, plus a bit of it was from my experiences being back in Zambia, where the attitudes towards marriage are drastically different than the ones in New York. Maybe it’s me, but I feel like in African countries (Zambia included), so many young people are obsessed with the idea of being married and being a wife.
Since being back in Zambia, I’ve been hooked on three shows; Love Games Zambia, Intersexions which is a South African production and ‘Ready for Marriage’ which is a Zambian production. These three shows have more in common, than they have apart in my opinion.
LOVE GAMES ZAMBIA
If you follow me on twitter, you’d know that every Wednesday night, I tune in and livetweet the action on Love Games Zambia, which if you haven’t checked out, you should. In a bite-sized version, it revolves around the love lives of a group of middle aged and upper middle class friends. It has the message of ‘Safe Love’ and prevention of HIV embedded in a non preachy way. Think the Zambian version of Shuga with an older cast. The episode I’d like to focus on is ‘Traditional Teachings’. One of the ladies is having her kitchen party, so she’s being taught how to be a ‘good wife’ by advisers. At one point, they bring up the ‘c’ word: Conjugal Rights. One of them says a woman should never deny her husband ‘conjugal rights’ even if she’s annoyed with him or else he may get it somewhere else. ‘It’ being sex ofcourse. WHAT?! Are they crazy? I sure as hell would not be giving it up to my lover/husband/bf if I was mad at him or if there was a problem that needed to be addressed in the marriage first. As for him going to get it somewhere else? Please. He can be getting it in from me every day five times a day and still get it somewhere else. If someone in the marriage/relationship isn’t in the mood that night/day/moment, why should they be forced to give it up just because he may get it somewhere else?
Again, if you follow me on twitter, you’d know I’m advocating for Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche to build a church so I can worship at he altar. I’d eat her words for breakfast, lunch and dinner because she is that awesome. She recently gave a talk at Tex X Euston called ‘Everyone Should be A Feminist’ where she mentioned that we need to change how we raise our daughters, sisters, nieces and our sons, brothers and nephews. We teach our women to aspire to marriage to gain respect from others, we teach our men to be macho and take care of a woman to the point that without him, she can’t support ourselves. “We teach our women to cater to men’s fragile egos’. This ties into the episode on Traditional Teachings as if we taught our almost wedded sisters a little differently, they wouldn’t live in fear of being cheated on because a ‘ a man is a man’. They would be more empowered and feel like the equals they are.
READY FOR MARRIAGE
Speaking about aspiring towards marriage, there’s a popular show which airs in Zambia on Muvi tv channel called ‘Ready For Marriage’. It’s a reality show now in it’s fourth season and brings engaged couples on the show who are interviewed by a host about their relationship. The public votes for their favorite couples to stay on, till eventually one couple wins and has I believe their wedding or honeymoon paid for by the show. This is my first time watching the show and there have been some ‘interesting couples’. I’ve watched two different episodes featuring two different couples. When asked the secret to why her relationship was working, one of the women said “I pray for me to be a good wife who takes care of my husband”. What about her praying for him to be a good man and also take care of her? She mentioned how she feels like she’s also married to his family, so she should be humble. Throughout the entire interview, he made no mention of her family.
The other couple I watched had a couple with a seven year age difference. The guy kept emphasizing that he’s the man of the house, so he’s the only one allowed to work night shifts, because apparently the bible says something about how women can’t work at night. She spoke about obeying and SUBMITTING to her husband. Lawd Jesus. *Hit replay on Chimanda’s talk please.
There’s an episode in this South African show which like Love Games and Shuga has messages of ‘safe sex’ which revolves around an upper middle class family and their maid. The maid is engaged to be married to a guy she loves and who loves her, but is so focused on making extra money that she feels lonely. Her bosses are a couple who live in the suburbs white picket fence style with the two kids. The wife is a gorgeous woman who runs her own company, while the husband is a successful business man. The wife has to leave for a business trip for a few days and while she’s away, the maid and the husband begin an affair.
MAID FACTOR: Which brings me to the ‘MAID’ factor. One of my friends, Entertainment reporter, radio correspondent and blogger Makho Ndhlovu (Global Grind) recently tweeted a question asking how many women would be cool if they had an attractive female maid in their households if they were married. Lots of us chimed in saying “HELL NO!!”. I went as far as saying I’d rather have an older woman or man cleaning my house. But why? Because we’ve all seen/heard the ‘man of the house sleeps with the maid stories’ as shown in Intersexions and even Love Games Zambia.
Generations is a South African soap. There’s a couple who live together but aren’t married called Akhona and Nick. They have a maid called Zodwa who is in love with Nick, and seems to have underlying mental issues. Zodwa puts the moves on Nick, but he resists, but Akhona goes on a business trip, and Zodwa plants condoms in her cosmetics bag, which falls and reveals the contents. Nick gets angry, thinks Akhona is cheating and falls into the arms of their maid.
In all both shows, the wives and girlfriend were beautiful successful women who loved their families and boyfriend and even though they had maids, they tried to take care of the house as well. It’s not even about the attractiveness of the maid, because lets go back and remember Arnold Schwazznegger and his scandal. Is this about men and power and how they think they can get away with this behavior? Is this about how we raise our women? Were the men cheating because their wives were too busy to attend to their men’s ‘conjugal rights?’ In the shows, the men were clearly getting that good good from their wives, so that’s a non-issue.
So there’s a lot to think about here, and I welcome you to share their thoughts about any of the topics mentioned above.
Further Reading: My Biological Clock is Not Ticking, But Is Working Just Fine by Cathy Phiri.
Standards: Get Some, With A Healthy Dose of Self-Respect by Cathy Phiri.
Of Traditions and Rites Of Passage by Susan Mwape.