Tag Archive | fear

Of today’s “fast” young girls: #BIAAGZIM

I come from a society that believes in punishment rather than rehabilitation, a society that believes in reactionary methods of dealing with challenges rather than trying to prevent them, a society that is more in denial than accepts reality, and in so doing, would learn how to deal with them. And that is just the shame of it. Child marriage is sadly a scourge and the fight to end it has got to be very deep and, like a boil, it must be painfully ‘squeezed out from the root’. In a society where women are commodities to be owned, girls tend to be the ‘highest prized” of these commodities meant to help “turn around” the economic woes of families. Families sell their girl children, be it to be (cheap) labour or into marriage- to men who violate these young innocents’ childhood.  The Customary Marriages Act which looks at all customary marriages in the country does not even have an age limit as to what age people can get married, so a lot of young girls are married off under “customary marriages” and the law cannot do anything to punish those who abuse young girls in such scenarios.

It is fair and fine to look at marriage within the customary settings but I want to particularly look at child marriages in the modern set up where school going girls are impregnated by one person or the other and are forced out of school and sent packing into marriages they did not want or even think about. Child marriage, also known as early marriage, can be defined as “Any marriage carried out below the age of 18 years, before the girl is physically, physiologically, and psychologically ready to shoulder the responsibilities of marriage and childbearing.” I have followed a lot of debates on how “fast” or kuda zvinhu our young girls have become. I get it that we are a prude and uptight society that frowns upon sexual intercourse by women. I get it BUT…how then do we help these young in-school girls, at the peak of raging hormones and are that age where experimenting and exploration is rivalled by that of babies? Young people are having sex and my society had better accept this fact and deal with it. I am one of those who applauds the minister who wants condoms in schools as well as applaud those teens at the recent nude party who were  found in possession of condoms. That means that these kids are better prepared to engage in safer sex than be at the risk of such dangers as teenage pregnancy, which I view to be one of the number one reasons for child marriage.

I want to pose a series of questions:

If a baby loves the flickering of flames, do we leave that baby to play with it or we remove it from harm’s way? Do we punish a baby for their being attracted to flames? How come we child-proof homes why can we not ‘adult-proof’ our teens? Sex and pregnancy is meant for adults yet we do not talk to our teens about it but somehow expect them to just not indulge. We have a society that believes that whole grown men, heads of homes and even leaders in various circles, are incapable of controlling their sexual urges, how then do we expect these young people to be able to do what adults fail and are expected to fail to do? And when these kids fail and fall pregnant we punish them by sending them into an institution that accounts for more abuses of women than any. We send them to start a rite of passage that only a mature, informed and consenting adult should be willingly entering. I am particularly looking at those child marriages which take place because a school going girl has come home late or she has fallen pregnant and must “go kwaakapihwa nhumbu yake” (she must go to whoever made her pregnant)

People can get emotional all they want but a child who, despite acting all grown up and doing grown up business, has no business being thrust into a space that she is most likely to be abused repeatedly. This young girl-woman needs to be in school where an education can help her secure a better future for her. She needs the support of her family during this bewildering period in her life and not left in the hands of a man who most probably does not want anything to do with her or the baby she is now carrying. Sending her into marriage at such an early age and given the likely scenario she will face, IS punishing her, and punishing her terribly, if I may be so candid. Marriage should be a joy and not something that is founded on “mistakes”, fear and constant reminders that one is being punished and is unwanted.

Given that sex has taken place between a child-woman and (usually) an adult, why does my society see it fit that a few dollars, cows and some clothes and groceries are given in exchange for the entire future of this child? How much is a woman’s future worth anyway? Seems it carries a small price tag whichever way we look at it. Let us all remember that before we condemn this “wayward” child, for she still is a child, she is at the mercy of her hormones and we need to guide her through this difficult time of her life. I would dare challenge parents to take up the parenting mantle and equip their young girls with all the information they would need to get through this period in a manner that will allow them to avoid the pitfalls of teenage pregnancy and teenage sex. Marrying her off is not a solution and should not even be contemplated. Let us talk WITH our children about sexual intercourse so that they are better informed and ready to face or avoid it.

#BIAAGZIM

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#NoToXenophobia: of a confused and repressive police force

To say I am traumatized I would be lying because I don’t think that I know what trauma is.
To say that I am depressed I would be lying because I have been depressed before and it does not feel like this
I am in this numb state where feelings and thoughts are sort of hanging
In this state of awareness and yet one of ignorance
I long for amnesia yet I am recalling every single memory

part of the peaceful protesters walking from the South African embasy into Harare's CBD #NoToXenophobia

part of the peaceful protesters walking from the South African embasy into Harare’s CBD #NoToXenophobia

my mind keeps pressing “Play” and the memories flood through
my mind has now chosen a coping mechanism-
shutting down and ignoring completely-
ignoring the images of a lone body lying on the ground
lying on the ground surrounded by a baton wielding police officer
not just one or to or three
and they keep coming, they circle him and release the batons like it is a competition
a competition to see who hits him the most painful
they soon completely cut off all view of him as they descend on him
onlookers dash into nearby buildings
not a scream is heard
i cannot speak, my voice is caught up somewhere within me
my eyes are snared, like a kudu caught in the bright lights cutting through the dark night
it is a dark moment, one cannot look away from
and I look on as this man whom I fear to identify ceases to be just a man
and takes on the face that i know
he is familiar, he is someone i know
just the other day, we were laughing and swearing to set up camp together at the embassy
“get me a tent, too.” i said to him then
but today, i can only look from a distance

Riot police following crowds along Jason Moyo avenue after a peaceful demonstration at the South African embassy #NoToXenophobia

Riot police following crowds along Jason Moyo avenue after a peaceful demonstration at the South African embassy #NoToXenophobia

cars drive on, only slowing down to verify what their drivers are seeing
right there, in the middle of town
a man is being beaten up by a crowd of police officers in full uniform
and they drive on
it seems like forever yet it is only a matter of seconds, less than a minute, I later learn
but it was enough
it was enough to convince me
it was enough to convince me that we have monsters who have been mandated to “look after” us- the nation

a nation whose children have been forced out of its borders
whose children are seeking refuge and a better life in other countries
a nation whose children are among those being displaced, burned, butchered and tortured in the streets of a sister nation
and it is this very act that saw us marching down the streets of Harare
registering our displeasure and disgust at the manner our own siblings are being treated

protesters outside the SA embassy in Harare singing in solidarity with Africans being attacked in  South Africa #NoToXenophobia

protesters outside the SA embassy in Harare singing in solidarity with Africans being attacked in South Africa #NoToXenophobia

they took our banners and placards “#NoToXenophobia” they screamed
we marched on into town, towards the press conference
little did we know that these police officers would chase some of our own down the road
little did we know that we would witness police brutality on a peaceful march
little did i know that i would see my own friend lying helplessly on the ground
mobbed by a crowd of angry police officers

members of the ZRP give chase to protesters who were to attend a press conference at the Media Centre after successfully n peacefully registering their disgust at xenophobic attacks

members of the ZRP give chase to protesters who were to attend a press conference at the Media Centre after successfully n peacefully registering their disgust at xenophobic attacks

i want to understand their anger
i want to understand why they did not arrest him
i want to understand why, after beating him up, they left him lying there
i want…there are so many things that i want but my mind cannot cope right now
cannot cope with the question:
why did the police beat up people protesting the horrible crimes being done upon, not only fellow Zimbabweans, but fellow Africans by some South Africans?
i cannot cope with the nation my country is

a group of more than 15 cops armed with baton sticks descend on an armed Sydney Chisi

a group of more than 15 cops armed with baton sticks descend on an armed Sydney Chisi

cops leave

my mind is on shut down
i am not ignoring you
i am not traumatized
i am not depressed
i am just hanging in limbo until my mind awakens and can fully function

Sydney in hospital after a group of policemen attacked him.

Sydney in hospital after a group of policemen attacked him.

Facing previous failures: the ‘NOW’ is what matters most

I trust 2014 finds you well
I just wanna share with you my good news. Today, 09-01-2014, I became a holder of a valid Zimbabwean drivers licence.

It’s been a long time coming and I’ve often ‘quit’ and vowed to not go again for my road test whenever I failed but somehow, the words of one of the guys who examined me would ring loud and clearly ‘it’s ok, we’ll drive you’.    What? After coming so far and invested this much time, effort and money? No ways was I gonna quit!

When I went through today, I dint even expect to get it! I was late for my driving lesson and somehow the car seat was in the wrong place, my mirrors where not in the best position and all that jazz. I somehow managed to keep breathing through it all. I almost snapped at my instructor for making me drive to the depot but somehow, I kept it in.

I tried to reign in all those wayward thoughts and memories about my previous failures but somehow, THIS one time, they dint stop. To say I was nervous, I would lie. I was more anxious to get it over and done with so I could focus on getting the money for the next lessons, booking and car hire. (What a way to think.)

Anyway, it only hit me during my second encounter with ‘maDrum’ that I was actually doing this! I could literally picture my disc from that point on! And that was just the encouragement I needed. I quickly collected myself and began to work on the task at hand, one bit at a time. The funniest thing though is that ‘paChuru’ (aka Hill) start, my mind went blank. I literally stopped thinking and I heard my instructor seated in the passenger seat taking me through it! I was just doing what it is he was telling me and somehow that got me through it!! Of course, I was alone in that vehicle but I know that I wouldn’t have gone through it had I not recalled everything I had been learning all those months before! (Yes, it took me that long, almost a year, to be exact- I like being sure, hey)

Anyway,  the rest was ‘a breeze’ if you neglect to consider my occasional and frequent release of pent up breath. I tend to hold my breath when I’m tense or anxious. I also had developed a way to make it work for me (I’d take a deep breath when I started the car in the first gear and slowly release it-the breath- as I eased into the road, once out of breath, id then know that my car needed to breath, too, so I’d have to change up to gear two! Practical, right? I’ve learned to work with my flaws.)

I know that someone could be wondering why someone this ‘old’ would bother share about this! Well, for starters, I want someone to know that it’s never too late to achieve somethin that you want, despite your age. Secondly, as long as you’re willing to try again, it is possible to succeed but as long as you have given up, you have failed!

Thirdly, learn from each mistake you make, correct it and master the right thing. (I used to be complacent pamaDrum during practice because I would always navigate and maneuver myself in and out safely but it was the one point I’d fail during the road test!) I would then mentally log in the point I failed and make sure that the next time I dint fail there.

Forthly, each time you face the point you fell before, don’t allow the previous times of falling to discourage you. Remember that it’s the now that matters most.  Fifthly, it doesn’t matter how far behind you are in keeping up with milestones, once you cross a certain point/achieve a certain milestone, celebrate it! Make a huge noise about it! Write a blog about it! Paint the town red! What matters is that you’ve crossed the finish line in that particular race and that was a darn good one!

Lastly, give a mighty shout to the Lord who holds your hand through all tears and triumphs!

Fears in the heart

 

Opening my mouth and fearing to let go the words at the very tip of my tongue

How do I let them go when I am not sure of the fate that awaits me once I speak?

 

I want to tell you, to tell the world, to tell me in the presence of myself, you and someone else

I think twice, not because I am not sure of my words

I think twice because I am not sure of the reaction

I have said these words over and over and over again

I might say them many more times to myself

 

My blood grows warmer as my heart whispers to my head

My eyes dilate as my brain tells it what my heart means

My palms sweat in anticipation and

My throat constricts just s my voice releases

 

I feel my nostrils flaring, my breathing erratic

I feel my stomach churn as my thinking ceases

I feel all my senses numb

I suddenly come alive and y hands wrap themselves ‘round your throat,

My teeth sink into your neck as my tongue tastes your blood flowing onto it,

My mind fails to comprehend what is going on

The taste of blood is just as strong as the fresh smell of it,

Repulsed, I try to let go as I am suddenly aware that my ears have been deafened by the rage coursing through me

Disturbed, I am aware that I am weirdly satisfied at the sight of your blood,

I am oddly pleased that I am the cause of your pain and misery

 

I loved you, and maybe I will always

However, you have soured it for me and for anyone else to come

You have defiled my heart by desecrating my body and vandalising my mind

I am now an animal and as such, I relate to you

When in Rome… and now I have done as you, my Roman, do

 

I open my mouth and I fear that I may just let the words come out

I open my mouth and fear that which I have just dreamed of will occur

So, I open my mouth and take a deep breath and expel it on a shake of the head

                “Nothing, I think…Was I dreaming?” I ask you

It is time I left you, went back to the beginning, picked up my bags, my dignity and self-respect

I fear, my heart is now fraudulent and crooked

One day, I just might do what I dreamed I did to you

 

This is a deep fear in my heart, and I will not communicate it to you,

Lest you persuade me and this wickedly tempted body of mine will connive with this love-starved heart of mine

My attention-seeking arms will reach out to you and hold you close in a fatal embrace,

One that will seal my fate and these deaf ears of mine will not bother to listen to my dreams

 

And I just might