By Theresa Lungu
I was rather startled by a recent video report by Muvi TV. Their reporter, Mwaka Namfukwe was in Kantolomba Township in Ndola covering a story she titled, Some Civic Leaders in Ndola’s Kantolomba Township have resolved to start arresting women they find patronizing bars.
Here is her opening statement; Kantolomba is one township in Ndola where you find children playing all over the place, doesn’t matter what games or whatever the time, most of them are reportedly malnourished because their mothers spent much time patronizing bars so cannot cook proper food for their children.
After hearing Namfukwe’s statement I was left with the belief that Kantolomba is populated by reckless, beer guzzling, self inseminating women who have single handedly let their children go unfed and uneducated.[pullquote]I bet an ideal Zambian marriage is one in which the wife has a job outside the home, contributes financially to the home and comes home at the end of the day to engineer development in the home, community and the nation in general while the husband hangs out at a bar eating imichopo and entertaining girlfriends[/pullquote]
In concluding her report,there was a shot taken of women of Kantolomba dancing and holding plates of food,(WAIT, I thought she had reported earlier that these women don’t cook!), Namfukwe triumphantly stated that, women are engineers of development in the home, community and the nation in general. If indeed, Namfukwe believes that women are solely in charge of this gargantuan task, why didn’t she stand up in Kantolomba and challenge the actions of the men there? How do you expect women to solely carry the burdens of society without responsible, supportive men to work with?
Four women appeared on camera and testified that they were driven to drinking to drown the sorrows of poverty and abusive, philandering husbands. There were no men interviewed in the report which compounded my belief that Kantolomba is the first Zambian all women township. The only man in the report was the sexist civic leader (his name was not disclosed in the report) who has instructed bar owners in the area to refuse admittance to women. Essentially, he has declared that it is a constitutional right for men to drink and neglect their children but God forbid if women emulate them. Most disturbing in this report was the inability of the Kantolomba women to give any responsibility to their husbands. None of them stated that their husbands should be
banned from the bars as well.
Coming back to the reporter, I was left with the opinion that either Namfukwe doesn’t have a handle on women’s advancement or she is not a good investigative reporter. Reporters should not just chant catchy phrases, they ought to understand what they are reporting and give viewers or listeners clear and balanced news.
In hindsight, I don’t blame Namfukwe, after all she works for a station whose most popular show is Ready For Marriage, a spectacle that endeavors to mold ‘wayward’ women into wives. This show is developed and produced by a man who obviously doesn’t have very high expectations of women. Among other domestic chores that supposedly make a good wife, contestants of the show are tested on bed-making and dish-washing. The last time I checked, marriage constituted two people. So why is Muvi TV only schooling one half of the union? The sad part of this show is that the contestants are very happy to be on it and don’t seem to have any foresight on whether whomever they are getting ready to marry will be equally ready[pullquote]I was left with the belief that Kantolomba is populated by reckless, beer guzzling, self inseminating women who have single handedly let their children go unfed and uneducated.[/pullquote]
It seems Muvi TV has blinded itself to the fact that more and more husbands are becoming dependent on a second income, the wife’s! I bet an ideal Zambian marriage is one in which the wife has a job outside the home, contributes financially to the home and comes home at the end of the day to engineer development in the home, community and the nation in general while the husband hangs out at a bar eating imichopo and entertaining girlfriends
Heck, we are a nation that flaunts the notion that ubuchende bwamwaume tabutoba inganda (a man’s infidelity does not break a home). How steadfast will a home be when infidelity brings in AIDS, emotional and financial distress not to mention malnourished children?
Since the first Women’s Suffrage Movement in the 19th century, women around the world have continued to progress and get their men to respect them, except in Zambia where women still accept to be second class citizens. As the saying goes, you will be treated the way you allow to be treated. Clearly, some of our mothers and sisters do not know any better and they are teaching their daughters what they know;to be ill-treated and disrespected by their men and consider it perfectly normal. The one responsibility I would give to Zambian women is to strive to empower themselves and allow to be treated with respect and love and ultimately will we move forward as a people.
If our minds are stuck in the 12th Century, the country’s development will remain superficial. It is the third world mentality in Zambian minds that relegate the country to that status and not the country’s geographical location. We ought to be aware of what that means.
Muvi TV is in a powerful position of reaching Zambians all across the country and as such must help Zambia grow by truly empowering women not beheading them. Their show, Ready for Marriage, must include men who should be readied for marriage as well. Otherwise they should rename their show, Ready for Disaster.