Month: January 2016

African Men And Polygamy

Are African men naturally polygamous?

I got thinking about this after a story surfaced on the internet sometime last week concerning the African country of Eritrea. It was alleged by an unknown source, that the Eritrean government had passed a law requiring all men to take up two wives or a second wife or face life imprisonment. The story has since been proven to be a hoax according to http://www.tesfanews.net/eritrea-forced-polygamy-story-exposed/ 

Knowing how creative and hilarious Kenyans can get, the news immediately sparked a horde of memes mainly communicating the glee and anticipation that the story had caused in Kenyan men. Almost like they all couldn’t wait to get a go ahead to woo and marry Eritrean women considered very pretty together with their Ethiopian counterparts in the African continent. The author of the above post on the link provided, has quite some harsh words to say with regards to the reaction, the supposed hoax of a story caused.

I’m not basing my post only on Kenyan men but on African men in general. For generations, most African men have been painted to be polygamous by nature. The practice of polygamy is so deeply ingrained in some African countries that their own leaders have no qualms, getting several wives and being actually proud of it. After all, it is considered normal for an African man to prove his manliness by not sticking to one wife.

African women on the other hand are expected to go along with the flow and accommodate the additional wives. They should consider it healthy competition and accept that their men’s needs have to be met. They should actually keep up with the timetable if there happens to be one, dictating what days of the week or month the husband will visit particular homes of his many wives.

After the introduction of Christianity in my country, many Kenyan men felt embarrassed to openly exhibit their polygamous sides and therefore opted to keep concubines. For some whom the polygamous bug had bitten them to the point of no return, one woman could have been wedded in church thus paraded as the legitimate wife while the other could have been wedded traditionally.

Of course once the secret leaked that this man had more than one wife other than the one people were used to seeing, the man would indeed be at horrible pains to explain his situation and especially, if he had a position of some sort in the church. No wonder the need for our own president to sign a bill into law permitting men to marry additional wives even if the first wife does not approve of it in 2014. I have a feeling that the African patriarchal way of thinking regarding polygamy pushed the president to do this.

With the emergence of the HIV/AIDS virus at some point in time, a couple of polygamous homes suffered gravely. Many homes too, where the husband kept a concubine or side chick were not spared either from the spread of the deadly virus. Suddenly, polygamy did not seem all that fashionable if people in marriages got infected with HIV and had to suffer the consequences of living with the virus. But still, a huge section of African men felt that they could not survive with only one woman.

Is this really true? Could this be a myth that over time turned into a fact for some?

Polygamy in my view, is another form of cheating in a marriage that is only coated with terms of culture, tradition or male nature. In these times where the economy is never that favorable, you cannot quite convince me that a polygamous man will give his extensive family the very best of his abilities. As per my understanding, one cannot serve two masters.

Many Africans for the polygamy idea may argue that most men who take up additional wives are in fact capable of providing for the whole brood of children as well as the wives. After all, polygamy is yet another sign of wealth in Africa. However, a man with over 12 children from different women may find it difficult to give all of his children and wives his undivided attention, education and livelihood of a similar standard. Of course there is the school of thought that the women should understand the situation and live with it.

But could it be the reason why many co-wives suffer bitter rivalry among themselves all through their lives? There is no one woman who is similar to another and in such a situation, the man may tend to favor one woman over all the others. It is human nature to develop preferences over some things of a similar nature. Jealousy is bound to arise as well as unhealthy competition. It may be hidden in some situations but deep down, it will always exist only to further hamper the success of the whole family. You may even encounter children of a particular wife being more learned than children of the other wives or vice versa.

A section of people advocating for polygamy look at it from the Biblical point of view. Indeed some notable men in the Old Testament of the Bible had more than one wife and God endorsed it. Why is it now considered a taboo in some circles to be polygamous? It should be noted that in Biblical times, population was not as dense as it is in modern ages. Perhaps it was God’s way of fulfilling his multiply and fill the earth law if we choose to look at it that way. It should be remembered too that Jesus Christ in the New Testament came to amend many of the laws that had existed in previous times.

Patriarchal societies have however seemed to twist the whole idea to suit their patriarchal needs over time. African women are now expected to put up with this culturally endorsed form of cheating by turning a blind eye to their men’s philandering ways or welcoming a new wife in the house. Quite recently, there was a story of a Kenyan woman whose own adopted daughter ended up stealing her husband and her husband blaming her for it.

It is despicable really that many choose to justify their lustful transgressions by riding on the wave of polygamy being a male nature. However, polyandry should be frowned upon and such a woman stoned to death if possible. If African women should have no qualms whatsoever sharing their husbands, shouldn’t the African men too have no qualms sharing their wives?

Issues of polygamy in African societies can transform into a raging debate of sorts. I however firmly believe that polygamy is based on personal choice and not biology as many would like us to believe.

 

 

 

Would You Take Up Your Husband’s Name?

atlantablackstar.com

I belong to a highly interesting Whatsapp Group. Perhaps I should give you guys a brief history of the members of this group and why I find it that entertaining.

Well, all the members are people we schooled together in the same year in primary school. Most of the members are people I’ve shared a class with from age 6 all the way to 13. A couple of the members are people I’ve shared a class with from age 6 to 17 which is primary school and high school included. Plus we are at that stage in our lives where some of us are settled down with kids, others are in the wedding planning process and others are kind of starting to feel the heat, to find that someone and make a family.

Quite recently, we had quite a charged debate on the group on whether women should take up their husband’s names after marriage. Of course the opinions were varied with some stating that they would retain their maiden names, while others thought it best to take up the hubby’s name. I lay on the latter form of reasoning.

Marriage to me has always been some sort of fascination. I especially love how other cultures conduct their weddings. I love how the Hindu brides dress up for their big day. The intricate henna designs and the jewellery. Makes any woman anticipate marriage! I admire the Muslim Nikka and all the celebration that goes with it. I will always want to watch a program that is wedding themed. Indeed, the reader can already judge that weddings are a key factor in my fascination with marriages.

Over the years, I have kind of settled on the idea that an official marriage would be good for me in future. I would not fancy a “come-we-stay” arrangement as we refer to them in my country where we live under one roof as partners. That doesn’t mean that I frown upon people who haven’t made their marriages official. I’m of the idea that whatever floats your boat with regards to whom you want to spend the rest of your life with, then by all means, go for it!

However, I find an official marriage in my case to be some sort of a sense of security. I would yearn to make it official whether it will last only 2 years or a lifetime. Quite a number of people from the opposite sex may argue that weddings are an unnecessary expenditure. A tiresome chore for the man. Others of both sexes may conclude that if a marriage made official does not work, then divorce court proceedings will definitely be an otherwise, avoidable cause for sleepless nights. I tend to hear the reasoning “tujaribu” (we try) from some people when they talk of settling in marriage.

I personally would not want to “kujaribu”. I would want to make it work. I would want to go to a church and take my wedding vows from there because I believe in seeking God’s blessings in a marriage and where else, if not in his house! I know it’s probably very easy for me to talk about making it work when marriage for me is not even in the cards yet. I equally know that this whole union needs a lot of tolerance and may not always be “a happy ever after” affair. Heck, I’ve seen enough marriages break all around me to further confirm my fears that it’s quite rocky in that world. However, it wouldn’t hurt if I still did my best to make it work and that is just per my reasoning.

So yes, if my husband-to-be is willing to go through all the steps to be officially hitched to me, I will definitely take up his name. It wouldn’t be something I would think twice of doing. If I’m in love with him and willing to spend the rest of my life with him, then I believe we are one unit and we can’t successfully achieve that one unit, if we are using different names. I would want to show my children the importance of having a family name. I can’t quite say that worked well for my parents but my mother ensured we used our father’s name. It didn’t matter to her that they were no longer together, she still insisted that the name should appear in our school certificates and national IDs.

Personally, I wouldn’t feel less of a woman for using my husband’s name. As a matter of fact, I will have a sense of pride for being accorded a Mrs. So and So status. It would only serve to remind me of the commitment I made to that special someone. I have witnessed many professional women still retain their maiden names then add a hyphen and their husband’s name at the end. That didn’t make them less professional per se. It didn’t make them lose their brand. It only proved that they have moved from one stage into another.

I view marriage as a transition. Of course with all the adjustments you have to make in your life once you get married, it is only befitting to accord it that status. A name change to me simply signifies the whole transitioning process.

So, would you take up your husband’s name?

 

 

Has Africa Done Enough To Cub FGM?

Should these girls face FGM? Photo courtesy of globalhealthstudents.blogs.ku.dk

Should these girls face FGM? Photo courtesy of globalhealthstudents.blogs.ku.dk

In 2011, Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) was outlawed in Kenya. A law was equally passed clearly outlining the illegality of practicing FGM or taking someone out of the country, to have the procedure done. However, despite a law banning FGM existing in my country, some communities still actively engage in the heinous practice till date.

According to a definition by WHO, UNICEF and UNFPA in 1997, FGM is the partial or total removal of the external female genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons. World Health Organisation (WHO) goes further to expound that an estimated 91.5 million girls and women above the age of 9 in Africa are currently living with the consequences of FGM. A further 3 million girls in reference to the report by WHO, are at a risk of undergoing the cut every year.

Indeed as I was going through the FGM related images on the Internet for this post, I couldn’t help but find a huge chunk of them to be too graphic for myself and I believe, my readers too. I chose to settle on a milder form of the images. But is there really a milder form of FGM for those women who have undergone the worst form of it and have to further undergo reconstructive surgery in order to consummate their marriages? Worst case scenario, die in the process or develop complications during delivery because of being victims of the cut?

I sought to understand what lies in the mindset of female circumcisers and ended up stumbling on an article dated July 3rd 2015, by Felicity Thistlethwaite on the website http://www.express.co.uk. Two female circumcisers had been interviewed by MailOnline in their village in Kenya (Names have been omitted for this post to avoid ethnic profiling).

Woman 1 had this to say about the deeply entrenched practice in her community;

Girls are cut to ensure they remain faithful because the sexual organ is not there anymore. When you are cut you will not be like a slut looking for men here and there like a prostitute. You are docile waiting for your husband because after you are cut, sex is for having children not for anything else.

Woman 2 further added;

When you are cut, that is when you grow healthily into a woman because the bad blood is not there anymore. In the body, there is good blood and bad blood. After a girl is cut, the bad blood is gone.

Just by looking at these women’s reasoning, it was quite evident to me that a female’s sexuality has always proven to be a bone of contention. In most societies in Africa and across the world practicing FGM, the main intention is usually to tame the girl child from being sexually active before marriage. We can also capture a patriarchal kind of brainwashing in women toward what marital sex constitutes.

If sex in marriage is only for making babies and nothing else, then happens a situation whereby the husband craves sex but with no intention of getting his wife pregnant, then will sex in marriage have lost its meaning? And is it in order to conclude that women do not desire to engage in intercourse with their husbands except in situations where they have a plan to conceive? How then can we explain troubled marriages whose main cause is them being devoid of sex?

Indeed, there lies quite deep connotations of patriarchy in this whole business of FGM in societies which actively pursue the practice. It may come out as cheap feminism banter if we decided to question the liberal nature that has been accorded men when it comes to their sexuality, in comparison to the subdued nature accorded to the women’s sexuality?

And while FGM has always been painted to seem like it advocates for morality in matters sex, truly, its main intention is to further oppress the weaker sex in society, and that is the woman. To deny her a voice and a right to own her sexuality. To equally deny her a right to exercise her own self control while giving the stronger sex, the upper hand to decide what to do with regards to what should actually be a female responsibility.

Some of you may argue that no man participates in the cutting of women and that women, in most cases are actually willing to undergo it. I attribute this fact to the patriarchal brainwashing I previously mentioned. When you live in a society where the major decisions are being undertaken by one gender, then it becomes acceptable over time and a way of life. Unless enlightened, sadly, the situation remains the same and you will find women echoing what has been put in place for generations. They will not even think of questioning its validity in their lives.

You may agree with me that most of the societies engaging in active FGM are societies that lie on the deeply entrenched patriarchal spectrum. And that after the girls are circumcised then they are considered ready for marriage. Why not ready for other aspects pertaining to their lives as women? I leave that for you to judge. Yet FGM is considered a must for women in these societies and a woman who has failed to undergo it is subject to malicious gossip, shunning and taunts.

Apart from the sexual aspect of FGM, the girls are equally exposed to a horde of other risks. There is the risk of contracting the virus due to the poor sterilization standards of the crude razor blades used, bleeding to death, experiencing difficulty in delivery as well as the whole experience being traumatic for the girl.

I once watched a docu series where a circumcised girl in one of the communities in my country, had to walk kilometers after the practice under the hot sun in pain and bleeding. And all the while villagers awarded her with notes of cash. How that is supposed to prepare someone for womanhood beats my logic as the only interpretation I’m getting from it is that, this girl will probably conclude that womanhood is often traumatic. I fear that she may never view her womanhood as a cause for celebration and equally fulfilling.

An expose at the turn of the year by NTV’s Enock Sikolia on FGM among one of the communities in Kenya where the practice is heavily rampant, revealed that some trained nurses also perform the cut on unsuspecting, uncircumcised, pregnant women as soon as they go into labor. I found this unsettling in so many different angles.

First, a nurse is someone who has been to medical school and is therefore literate as well as enlightened on the dangers of FGM. Second, a nurse is someone a patient trusts to handle them professionally. Third, circumcising a vulnerable woman in the throes of labor pain is akin to maliciously abusing this woman physically and emotionally, while overlooking her right to stay uncircumcised. It would therefore be in order for parliament to pass a law that will ensure such rogue nurses, are liable for prosecution if it is ascertained that they indeed did circumcise a pregnant woman in labor.

The expose further shed light on the circumcisers change of tact. Instead of performing the practice during the expected periods by authorities, keen on pouncing on such offenders, they opted to circumcise girls at a much younger age or in hospitals. Here is where the role of some of the nurses came in. However, as a result of pressure from the community, many married women had voluntarily decided to get circumcised in a bid to save face. A sad state of affairs.

WHO states that the prevalence of FGM varies significantly between regions with ethnicity as the most decisive factor. The specific FGM procedure performed also varies by ethnicity. As of 2008/9 the prevalence of FGM in Kenyan women and girls between the ages of 15-49 years was 27.1% (www.compassion.com)

An article by Silas Irungu, a Compassion Kenya, Field Communications Specialist titled Fleeing the Knife on the website mentioned above narrates;

Young (insert tribe name) women undergo female circumcision as part of an elaborate rite of passage that initiates young girls into adulthood and ultimately early marriage.

The practice is deeply ingrained in the culture such that women who have not gone through it are not considered for marriage or if married, the bride price is heavily discounted much to the disappointment of the bride’s family.

Silas Irungu goes on to state;

The law in Kenya prohibits female circumcision and other cultural practices considered to be violence against women. It is difficult to prosecute the perpetrators of FGM because of cultural allegiance. Usually the practice is done in private under the cover of darkness.

To sum it all up, FGM is a thorn in the flesh and it is quite refreshing to witness many anti-FGM women crusaders up in arms against the practice in Kenya. Educational centres have been set up in communities where the practice is rampant, with an aim to shield young girls keen on pursuing their education, from undergoing the cut and being married off. Former Marakwet East MP, Linah Jebii Kilimo is one of the many high profile women against the heinous practice of FGM. She rose up to become a female leader in her community, despite being uncut.

Which firmly proves that if the African girl child is to truly prosper, then the practice of FGM needs to transform into a thing of the past. A retrogressive aspect of culture to be shunned and forgotten. Despite the many loopholes that we face in completely eradicating this practice, with one voice as Africa, it can be achieved.

What has your African country done to cub FGM?

 

Must You Be Gay To Work In A Hair Salon As A Male?

A Hair Salon. en.wikipedia.org

A Hair Salon. en.wikipedia.org

My  current employment entails a lot of moving around. Just the other day, I walked into a hair salon for non-hair related errands. As I was chatting with the female employees, mostly explaining why I was there and what I wanted, in sauntered a girlish looking male. I could have been forgiven to think he was a woman with a quick glance at him, judging by his equally very female walking style and demeanor. I had to look again just to be sure that he was indeed a man. And yep, he happened to be one of the employees at the salon.

Encountering this man made me look back at all the other instances where I had walked into a salon and met a male employee who by all means acted female and looked female. I do not wish to jump into conclusions but such occurrences are usually attributed to the fact that these kinds of men, who act all girlish definitely have to be gay, in my country.

True to the assumption, some of them are indeed gay and not ashamed of that fact. It could also be a contributing reason for them to have a preference to work in the salon industry, seeing that their girlish tendencies could not be accommodated in the tough, male dominated fields.To be honest, rarely would you find a male with girlish tendencies working kazi ya mjengo (construction work in Swahili) or in the Jua Kali sector (informal sector) mainly a preserve for male workers.

But are we indeed right in dismissing all the men in the salon industry as gay “weak” men??

A few years back, there is a salon I loved to frequent. Two of the workers happened to be every inch the Meru (a Kenyan ethnic group they both belonged to) men. Both of them were married with a child each yet these same men, could give you the best nail services you would have ever wished for. I remember one of them sharing tips with me, on how I should file my nails so that they wouldn’t break easily if they were long and I had to do house chores. Eventually, they moved away and opened their own salon.

Seeing how Meru men in my country are considered males deeply in touch with their masculinity, would we then have been justified in concluding that these two men of the same community were gay? Better yet, do we consider the woman fraternity so fickle to the extent where people of the opposite sex, who choose to work in fields where there is a lot of interaction with women, are considered weak or having an abnormality of sorts?

If you ask me, I would prefer male hairdressers, manicurists and pedicurists any time over their female counterparts. I find men more sincere with their work and thorough than a couple of women in the salon industry.

In recent times, we have seen the word metrosexual being thrown around. Again this reminds me of an incident in the same salon where the two men I have talked about worked. One weekend, I decided to get a pedicure done. Lo and behold, just sitting opposite me was a father who had brought his lovely daughter to the salon, with really long natural hair which caught my attention the minute I walked in, to have it braided. Instead of leaving her in the capable hands of the hairdresser, this dad had decided to keep her company and while away the time getting a full pedicure done. He had even rolled up his trousers to the knees for the exercise!

And while I was a bit taken aback then, I really admired his parenting style. I mean, this was a typical African man, Black man even, for those who are more comfortable with that term, who had opted to do what has for years been reserved for the mothers and wives and that was, accompany his daughter to the salon and actually keep her company! I felt like other fathers could learn a thing or two from him. And so what if he was getting a full pedicure done?! Couldn’t a man be allowed to pamper himself at times?! Can we confidently call this man a metrosexual or gay even?!

I find the idea behind assuming all men in the salon industry to be gays as stereotypical and bordering on the homophobic. I’m no advocate for gays, don’t get me wrong. However, I wouldn’t spend my time hating on them and lumping them together in a category, I assume is befitting for them like working in a hair salon for example. As much as we would like to live in denial as Kenyans, the gay community is in fact in most of the fields in our country. Some of them we can’t even easily tell that they are gays yet they are bankers, economists, lawyers, businessmen, your cab guy, you name it.

Just because a section of men tend to be inclined to act more of female than male does not automatically translate to them being gay. And no, it is not a requirement to be gay in order to handle women in a salon. As a matter of fact, it would be insulting to insinuate that women matters such as hair dos, manicures and pedicures have to  be done by men who are “out of ordinary” in their sexual orientation. And if we would like to stick to that stereotypical thought, then would it equally be in order to state that women in the matatu (public transport) industry are lesbians as well?

Being a rough, male dominated field, these women have to literally discard their femininity in order to fit in. They have to dress in trousers, have their voices transformed into a hoarse rasp just from all that yelling for commuters on a daily basis and actually act tough to be able to compete effectively with the men in the same field. Why doesn’t anyone feel inclined to call them lesbians for acting male and for choosing a field, that for years was reserved exclusively for men? Is it because we come from a society where everything associated with men is more serious, as opposed to what is associated with women and therefore, women who venture into it are meant to be applauded for it not branded?

Have we actually taken time to understand the motivation behind these women choosing to work in the matatu industry? Have we thought of something to do for them in order to uplift them and in the process get them back in touch with their femininity? Most of these women are single mothers fending for their children and with the non-employment issue in our country, even a male dominated field could do for them. For some, being in this industry is actually a passion. Something they love to do.

Isn’t it time that we also thought of viewing men working in the salon industry as people of the opposite sex who were passionate with everything beauty related? Perhaps it could have been the only thing that they are really good at and if at all it puts food on the table, why not?

 

 

 

African Women And Sexism: Sara Baartman

As I was going through my Facebook Newsfeed earlier in the day, a status update caught my attention. It was something to do with an African woman once upon a time in history, being displayed to curious onlookers as a result of her unusually large derriere. As is my nature, I quickly Googled the story and what I read presented to me the worst form of sexism and racial discrimination that an African woman has ever had to endure.

I have to say that being a Kenyan, I have been very lucky to be spared racial discrimination of any kind during my lifetime. Not that I’m gloating over that fact knowing that there are quite a number of Africans in their own respective African nations, who have unfortunately had to endure being treated as minorities by foreigners in their land. My forefathers did suffer racial discrimination and especially during the colonial times. I’m sure it was a really tough and annoying time for them. Other people from races considered minorities by some backward minded individuals, still continue to suffer racial discrimination in this day and era.

Again, I consider myself very lucky to have been spared most of the harsh sexism that other women have unfortunately had to endure or grapple with on a daily basis. That doesn’t mean that acts of sexism do not elicit any form of reaction from me! As a matter of fact, just the mere thought of a woman being discriminated against because of her sex makes my blood boil with rage!

I consider it an injustice of the highest order for this poor woman called Sara ‘saartjie’ Baartman to be lured from her home country of South Africa under the guise of going overseas to work as a domestic servant and to be exhibited for entertainment purposes. It is said that she did sign a contract for it before leaving which is highly unlikely considering the fact that she definitely was illiterate. For my readers who are getting a bit confused, Sara is the woman I read about today after seeing the status update concerning her.

Born in the 1700s in the current Eastern Cape of South Africa, Sara was a Khoikhoi woman who was sold to London to work as a domestic servant as well as for the entertainment purposes. She was about 20 years old at the time. She would later be nicknamed Hottentot Venus. The reason why she was considered an entertainment of sorts was the fact that due to a medical condition, she had unusually large buttocks.

In addition to that, it was rumored that Khoikhoi women had elongated labias which hang down almost 3 to 4 inches in some women. This was attributed to the fact that since Africans were considered savages then, the body parts that were of normal size in other normal  human beings had to be abnormal in size in the so called “relatives of apes”. Don’t ask me why but I simply do not know what kind of weed the scholars of that age were smoking.

A disturbing picture indeed of onlookers "marveling" at Sara's so called unusual asset. Picture courtesy of www.telegraph.co.uk

A disturbing picture indeed of onlookers “marveling” at Sara’s so called unusual asset. Picture courtesy of http://www.telegraph.co.uk

You see, being from a community that definitely practiced labia elongation in women, Sara could not have been spared from the practice. Labia stretching, also referred to as labia elongation or labia pulling, is the act of elongating the labia minora through manual manipulation (pulling) or physical equipment (such as weights), according to a definition by Wikipedia. The practice happens in Rwanda, Uganda, Burundi, Malawi and some countries in Sub Saharan Africa. The Khoisan were equally known for it.

However, to the onlookers on Piccadilly street in London where Sara was paraded due to her skin coloring and the behind, her elongated labia was equally an oddity attributed to some African sexual stereotype. But Sara refused to expose her private parts considered sacred in her community though many would have liked to gawk at them and always had them covered in a small piece of garment.

Her exploitation caused an uproar among abolitionist circles. However the fact that it was claimed and proven that she had signed a contract, her exploitation was made to appear consensual on her part. Eventually, Sara was sold to a French man who took her to Paris where she continued to be exhibited in a cage together with a baby rhinoceros. She would later end up prostituting and bordering on alcoholism.

After her death at around 26 years of age, naturalist George Cuvier was given custody of her body which he made a plaster cast of, took out her brains and genitalia which he preserved in laboratory bottles.It is said that as late as 1975, Sara’s genitalia and brains were being displayed in a museum in Paris.

When I look at this whole narration of what this woman was put through I can only attribute it to the fact that her naivete was thoroughly taken advantage of. In addition, the racial stereotypes of the time contributed greatly to her exploitation. I find it the worst form of women degradation bordering on the primitive. The fact that a woman’s body part considered out of the ordinary can be put on show for people to amuse themselves is truly sickening. Worst case scenario is the go ahead given to the naturalist to continue making fun of her bodily aspects in death in the name of research.

I am indeed glad that I was born in the 20th century where racial stereotypes of such a magnitude had somehow been completely done away with. It is clear that even in primitive societies, there was objectification of women based on what was considered curious or sexually odd by their onlookers as opposed to sexually enticing in this age. Perhaps the stress of one’s private part being put on display, gawked at, groped, made fun of and  equally the pain of being equated to a wild animal on a daily basis is what drove Sara to a life of prostitution and alcoholism in the end.

It may have been painted to seem like she was a savage without feelings yet this was an African woman who was as normal as the women of other races then. The only difference was her skin color and level of exposure or education! And maybe what was considered an unusually large butt then could just have been an average big butt today! How times change that big butts nowadays are considered a must have by a section of women and men alike!

Seeing how disturbing her story is, I can now understand why a South African chief told off celebrity,  Beyonce, for wanting to write and star in a film based on the life of Sara. South Africans still have a long way to go when it comes to matters healing. This is a country that suffered the extremities of colonial injustices for the longest time possible on the African continent. I can only understand why they would not want to stir up the racial discrimination they have endured in the past, with a film on a fellow country woman who underwent the worst form of it starred by a foreigner.

Perhaps they have a preference to let the past remain in the past if at all it only conjures painful memories. And isn’t it time that Sara was finally allowed to rest in peace?

Additional sources from a couple of articles on the Internet on the life and times of Sara Baartmann.

 

No Strings Attached And The Many Strings Attached

For many people, the term “No Strings Attached” evokes a scenario where two people of the opposite sex, are just in it for the sex and nothing more.

It is downright ungodly for many. Risky business for those who firmly believe in solid relationships and yet a constraints-free kind of arrangement for the liberals.

” No Strings Attached”, “Friends With Benefits” arrangements are the preferred choice for daters who have previously suffered a sequence of failed relationships, are on the verge of giving up on ever finding true love and are therefore, tired of the drama.

They are equally very preferable for independents who dislike being pinned down by relationship demands at that particular point in time. A common feature amongst commitment phobes for that line of reasoning.

While the initial intention of such arrangements is to minimize as much as possible the drama that comes with being in a committed relationship, No Strings Attached scenarios have a reputation of going all haywire for either party. Most have suddenly transformed into a “many strings attached” bother after very short periods of success.

However, despite the shaky ground characterized by such, these kinds of arrangements are quite common among young adults. A juicy script for filmmakers.

So for someone wishing to get into a strictly “No strings attached” situation with another, what are the things you need to firstly consider?

no stringsYour Feelings

This is the ultimate deal breaker for such arrangements. Once the feelings surface and usually from one of the parties, then the whole arrangement fast scuttles to destruction.

When considering getting into an NSA (No Strings Attached) arrangement, be sure that the candidate you pick is someone you have interacted with in the recent past.Preferably a friend you have no intention whatsoever of dating and have NEVER had any intention of doing so in the past.

Unlike a complete stranger whom you risk disappearing from your life once the deal is done or have no way of telling how h/she will treat you once the thrill of uncommitted sex wears off, a friend is someone you have previously bonded with on a whole lot of other different levels. In most cases, you have an in depth if not slight knowledge of their past sex life and their habits with men or women.

A friend is someone you can smoothly transition back to friendship with no benefits once the arrangement for sex is terminated.

A lot of people who have had NSA stints in the past thought of doing it with people they have just met. That way, they figured it would be way easier not to develop feelings toward each other, right? Wrong!

An NSA is a highly risky business and you definitely would want to do it with someone you know will have your back when it’s long done. Someone you can easily communicate with considering the stigma attached to the whole scenario. Someone you hope and may even have a knowledge that h/she will handle the ultimate deal breaker (deeper feelings developed) maturely and amicably.

Who else other than a friend?

Transparency

It is always wise to be straightforward with your intentions before anything more than friendship happens between you two. Be sure that you are both on the same page in this. Discuss the pros and cons of doing it and possibly how you are going to ease off it once the thrill wears off or you finally meet other people and decide to be exclusive with them. Agree on the contraceptive method.

Before wading into the murky waters of NSAs full of uncertainties and the all too real fear of getting attached you need to be sure that no miscommunication between you two will occur. You don’t fancy unpleasant surprises to crop up in the form of bouts of jealousy, an unplanned pregnancy or ugly accusations.

Discretion

Considering the nature of this arrangement, the last thing you need is a blabber mouth. Nobody likes their sex life being aired to all and sundry and especially if it borders on the “unusual” kind. The parties involved have to therefore agree on the amount of discretion to exercise.

Would you be OK with your close friends knowing about it? Better yet, his or her close friends knowing about it? How is it going to impact your life if it comes to light? These are questions that need to be tackled and addressed before taking the plunge.

In conventional societies, NSAs are viewed as some form of immorality and it would be wise to keep that in mind if you fall in the said category.

Integrity

There are values that certain people possess. I would therefore highly discourage women or men, who prefer exclusivity and solid relationships from agreeing to an NSA, in the hopes of it growing into something deeper with time.

A lot of daters make that silly mistake of getting into undefined relationships, only to end up thoroughly hurt and broken when the truth finally dawns on them that it was just the sex. Religion equally plays a role here. If you are the religious type who follows his or her religion doctrines to the letter, steer clear of NSAs.

Most Holy books talk of a pure love, preach chastity and virginity before marriage. Rather than engage in something you are not comfortable with only to suffer intense guilt afterward, it would be best to stick to your values and the doctrines of the religion you profess.

However, the choice to get into a “No Strings Attached” arrangement or not remains solely with an individual and how they plan on handling it.

 

Happy New Year Fellow Bloggers and Readers!!!