sex in Zimbabwean culture is tantamount to rape. Men think sex is physics!

Dr. Mavaza, your article was informative, I am sure many will benefit from your input. What excited me most in your article is not so much about sex element which is exciting enough but your confirmation of Zimbabwean cultural values relating to sex. Yes, our Zimbabwean men think that sex is for them; a woman provides her body to the man to satisfy himself. Our men think they are entitled to the body of any woman: black or white. It turns out that those white women who know their rights will not take it: it is rape and will report this to the police, they have been raped. You wrote about cultural differences in the UK and Zimbabwe and ignorance in some of our men is the result of them getting incarcerated charged with rape, rightfully so. Their bodies get used, in return they get a “thank you” after pure physics, she was not part of it, so she reported the case as rape. Rightfully so.

Take the case of Miro or “Miles in English,” you say she seemed to have cooperated in the sexual intercourse, but she cried rape after the sexual act. I can imagine that she thought Miles was going to make sure she gets her orgasm sorted out too if she successful managed to give Miles his satisfaction. Sadly, Miles’ limited thoughts and cultural upbringing informs him that if he got it himself, then the game is over. “Thank you” he said. This is the sense of entitlement we talk about all the time we right articles about women’s issues. This is the very culture we grew up with and we were told from childhood that the man is to be satisfied first and foremost in any given situation including sex. I take the second example of a woman who was at the prayer evening session but remained behind for some reasons. She gets what she wanted but upon return to her home shed cried rape when she realized the husband was at home. I can imagine this woman panicked for many reasons: a plausible one is that she may have had sexual intercourse without any protection. She then panicked when she was faced with the reality of having to explain to her husband where she was the whole night. Our Zimbabwean men hate condoms and would risk to have it raw: “Mbishi” Sex is an occurrence whereby demanding to have protection before sexual intercourse can have many interpretations and again by the nature of it, it can happen so quickly. Only later does one realize, “oh my god I had no protection, now have I contaminated HIV/AIDS?” To cry rape puts her in a safer position, if she contaminated the dreaded HIV/AIDS, it was because of rape. Case concluded:

Your article highlights clearly that men who got into trouble are mostly those who engaged with white British women. Zimbabwean women have been conditioned to have one sided sex. Our women are conditioned early in their lives that they should give sex to the man, never complain if she was “not happy” with him. A Zimbabwe woman confesses ignorance of sex to qualify to be a good, well brought up woman. The moment she utters a word like: “I did not get orgasm,” then she is deemed loose: at best a prostitute, not well brought up to the regime of traditional marriage. It is not the rights of a woman to judge if sex intercourse was good or bad for her: who is she after all, but she is expected to give it. Bone shaking! Physics! However, it is hoped that after several rape cases in a matrimonial home she will begin to appreciate sex with her husband.

I can say this with equal truth: I have been to several so-called bridal shower- parties: those are done a week before the actual wedding day. This is a one-off special day where female relatives and friends come together to give advice to their own. (most of them advice silly) A woman is told about sex; it is her duty to please the man she is married to. She should never take the initiative or demand for sex at night, that is the duty of the man who will demand it when he wants it. Curiously, these men who are about to get married do not get any advice. They enter marriage with the notion that he is entitled to the body of the woman he has just married. The property transaction: lobola/roora determined who is the boss. Christ is the head of the church in as much as the man is the head of the home. Stuff and nonsense!

Sadly, when these Zimbabwean men find themselves in other cultures either than their own, they get into serious trouble. No white woman will have her body used by a black man and he thinks he can get away with it like is the case back home in Zimbabwe. They teach these black men that sex is not physics sex is not muscle exercise but more than that. The double bind lie in the fact that our men did not go to initiation ceremonies early in their lives, their forefathers underwent strict ceremonies; Ukusoka, how are they going to know what is sex with women and give respect due to her body?

Our grandfathers were circumcised, “they have been to the mountains” and it is during that circumcision period, sex education accompanied the circumcision ceremony; sex education was imparted on them. Our grandfathers in the past had great respect of the body of a woman, early intervention taught them to value and respect the body of a woman and how to “look after it.” That invaluable informal sex education is lost due to several reasons including colonialism and Christian values that deemed African traditions as inferior. Our men painfully have “premature performances;” invaluable sex education that should have been passed on from generation to generation is all lost.

As an anthropological comparative, lets look at our neighbours across the River Zambezi: Zambia. Sex in most of their cultures has greater meaning and respect for several reasons; most cultures in Zambian societies are matriarchal, they maintained ceremonies that uplift values of women sexuality in a marriage. Women are taught the value of sex in her life as a married woman first and foremost. The dances (forget about chikokoshi, I do not mean that dance) are to teach a woman to be part of it and not only giving it to the man. There is a big gap in sex education of young women prior to marriage in Zimbabwe and our counterparts in Zambia. It is for this reason that marriages in most Zambia societies are stabler than ours in Zimbabwe.

Dr. Mavaza, there is a serous void in sex education in Zimbabwe today. Christian teachings destroyed some of our invaluable traditions. We should remember too that Christianity has patriarchal values that uplift the notion that the man is the boss in the home in as much as Christ is the boss in the Christian-bible teachings. We adopted values that undermine some of our own that gave humanity in us. Most cultures north of us, across Zambezi River have respect for women and girl-children, this is unbelievable but true. We have seen it: we have lived in Zambia long enough to appreciate some traditions that put women in the homes as valuable persons, a far cry in our Zimbabwe societies.

Dr. Mavaza, I have been reading a lot of our online social media news. I have realized that femicide in Zimbabwe has risen to unprecedented measures. The causes of deaths is mostly infidelity. A woman would have been caught pants down by her husband or relative. Sadly, some of these women are decent women from beautiful morals Christian homes. Listen to married women talking about their bedroom politics. They complain about sexless marriage ever since she got married. Hence, they will risk it all to get a satisfying sexual relationship with lovers outside her marriage, a sexual satisfaction she is not getting in her matrimonial home.

Most of these women will tell you that she got to know what orgasm was with a lover and not with a husband. It is sad still to realize what they are risking HIV/AIDS pandemic prevalent in southern Africa; they will do it again. In such situations it is not even possible to give advice because it is not available or even possible. What can one advise: advise to stop what she is doing, who am I, what moral pedestal will I raise myself to think I am better placed to assist: a double bind?

Let me come back to my story dear Dr. Mavaza, your yesterday’s article on Bulawayo24 is beautiful and informative, non-judgemental. I liked the title with the word culture in it. The devil was in the detail: culture of entitlement imported from Zimbabwe is evident in the UK; white women will not take rape in their lives as just another incident; but they will report it to the police. On the other hand, about 70% of our married women are raped by their husbands in matrimonial homes. Women are akin to the property: the bride-price gives the men the sense of entitlement; if a woman refused sex at home, she will be beaten for conceived failure to fulfil her role to satisfy a husband’s sex demands. Rape is silent but prevalent in marriage homes and never reported as domestic violence to relevant authorities because such cases will be treated with disgust by both men and women. We should remember too that patriarchy in our societies is perpetrated by women themselves. We women are our own enemies. (Remember genital cutting is done by women: grandmothers and aunties; thank God it is not practiced in Zimbabwe) Women are traditional defenders of many things going wrong in homes and clans. Traditions that should have been upheld have been forgotten or discarded if they did not augur well with “beautiful” Christian doctrines. The hierarchy within the family structures and strict authority carried out by custodians in homes suppresses and compresses domestic violence that accompanies the life of a woman in our societies.

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