YOU can tell a lot about a society in the way it treats women. If something happens to a black girl, it will be put on the back burner.
I dare you to so much as harm a white girl right now! It will be an event of the year short of gracing the cover of time. The whole world will stop.
Remember the unsolved disappearance of three-year-old British baby Madeline “Maddie” McCann in 2007? It is regarded as highly publicised as was the death of Diana Princess of Wales!
Social media trolls of a newly-launched Twitter started at that point. From a princess to an infant, the Western world goes into frenzy if its women are hurt.
Our women are beaten, raped, abducted, trafficked and, or murdered daily.
Want to know where it comes from? Lobola. Some traditions are silly and need to be called out for being such. I can bet that it was one guy, ages ago who needed a few coins and his daughter getting pregnant by a guy he didn’t approve of got the rap for it.
“Damages” they called it. It spread like gossip. Mothers told their girls to “close their legs” and fathers bemoaned how they didn’t want to be embarrassed.
Ever notice how any girl falling pregnant for the first time is a family embarrassment? Nosy aunts cause a commotion in discovering a new purpose in life of chairing round table committees, foaming and frothing at the mouth in blasting the poor girl for “bringing shame” to the family.
Damages in question happen to be best paid in cash as an upfront special fee for breaking a girl’s virginity. Pay her daddy up and he’s happy.
If a guy can successfully claim that the girl wasn’t a virgin, he wins – sort of. If that stage has been reached to begin with, chances are she has fallen pregnant.
Her virginity at the time will be thoroughly questioned by her in-laws who will obviously be avoiding releasing cash to the other side.
Oh how the boy’s side, though happy to be saving cash will admonish him for bringing home a non-virgin, a girl of “loose morals”! Excuse the pun for it will be meant in literal terms of the girl’s birth canal.
If she has a child from another relationship and they find out, those negotiations will quickly degenerate into a nasty get together!
A variety of monies, presents and livestock – preferably premium cattle – will be “charged” collectively as lobola under the pretence of saving for the couple’s children in the future.
What wisdom our elders have! They actually get to share those spoils among themselves! See why aunts are so vocal about the whole thing? The new couple is left to struggle alone later on.
So let me get this straight before you argue “it’s our culture”! You want to be praised and paid for having sired and raised your own child? Rubbish. Women get stuck in loveless and lifeless unions because of the fear that in leaving, thier in-laws would demand every cent back along with every piece of cow and goat her family ate!
Women who split several times get to be accused – along with her family – of being serial daters for the purpose of wealth enrichment using lobola. Aggravated pimping!
It’s prostitution without a racy night prowl. African parents are in the business of buying and selling the girl child and they don’t even know it! Our women are born with a price tag and men “own” them.
I was telling my parents the other day that my brother and I don’t know about them, but the two of us are not getting involved in accepting lobola for our sister if she gets to that point. We don’t get broke that way and we are not in the business of freeloading on other men’s monies.
The joke is on us. Likewise, expecting me to pay lobola will be like trying to find King Lobengula Khumalo’s last known address. I’m not buying anybody. The buck tradition stops right here.
Sonny Jermain writes in his private capacity. This piece is an excerpt from his book I Deserve To Be: Selfworth Is A Silent Killer, that is due end of year.