My people say the most ignorant things without even noticing it. I’m usually the only one who gets offended when certain comments are dropped in conversation because certain stereotypes have become the norm to mention. They are regarded as a universal truth and I find myself dumbfounded when I’m confronted with people who honestly believe what they think of the next
race,tribe,gender is the Gospel.
While visiting someone recently we struck up a conversation about how men tend to feel completely free at home, leaving the gate open while walking around at the back of the house, while a woman would make sure every door in the house is locked, lock herself in her room and spend the whole night on high alert. He responded “Ee..akere a random Zimbo guy might walk in and rape her.” To which I asked, why would he have to be Zimbabwean?
Understand that this happens all the time in Botswana. All the damn time. Any Motswana who tells you otherwise is a liar. A lot of Batswana are convinced those from our neighboring country are beneath us. They sneer at them in combis, they’re rude to them in Tswana, a language not all can understand. They judge them, they verbally abuse them and they are downright xenophobic.
Will they ever admit it when you call them out on it? Never. They never even have an excuse.
See, they forget that they came here for work because times were tough in Zim. That most of the time when you see them, they’re working. Most of them don’t have the luxury of being a layabout as my people like to refer to them as. Some say they’re dirty, without considering that they work for most of the day as plumbers, electricians, contractors..Where would you expect them to get the time to be as clean as you’d like them to be?
The majority of Zimbabwean women I know have stories reminiscent of those I imagine were in The Help. They’re raped by the men of the households they work at and can’t leave because they need the job. I knew a Lady who wasn’t allowed to eat anything but bread and was made to sleep on a floor in the garage with dogs. The family she worked for were seemingly morally correct, humane, progressive thinkers, and yet this is how they treated someone who they regarded as “different”.
At my cousin’s graduation party a few years ago, one of my aunts [those who you don’t really know how you’re related to but, whatever] said to my cousin, who’s the last born in his family, during her speech “Please delay moving out because we don’t want your parents to have to rent out the back to some Zimbabweans.” My two uncles, who’re from Uganda, and myself, were the only ones who flinched. I remember thinking “How can she be so old yet so dumb?” and getting up mid speech and leaving.
Do you understand how you look? Forget that though. Do you understand what you are? Listen. Insert that profound saying about logs, twigs and eyes here.
You guys are spoiled and with a false sense of importance and you know it even if you’ll never say it. Your kids are the ones drunk driving and killing people. They’re the ones having kids left, right and center for the sake of hosting baby showers. The failure rates at our schools are disgusting. Our water, electricity and food ain’t shit and you still have the confidence to go on and look down upon others? Y’all though.
But no, it isn’t just about the xenophobia here.
It’s comments like “The gays are the reasons I can’t watch TV anymore. They’re everywhere.” and “Kids are failing at school because they’re turning gay”.
“The feminists that are sprouting up everywhere are the reason why real men are raping. They must be put in their place.”
“I can’t love nor respect a woman who doesn’t know that her place is beneath me. I’ll beat her into submission.”
“Nna mme ga ise ke mmone a itira monna. Ke tlebe ke batlang mo mosading oo sa itseng gore ke mosadi? Banyana ba Gaborone tlhe lea i’classa. Dilo tse di rata dilo.”
And the “Satanist” stamp that’s thrown around.. People are so silly, my goodness. It doesn’t occur to them that in the event that someone even is Satanist, it’s a religion as is yours. But no, you’d rather use your internet connection to make an apple appear to be an orange rather than Google the characteristics of oranges wouldn’t you?
I had an experience a while ago whereby my ex attempted to pray for me and accused me of trying to steal his Soul because I went to his house wearing all black. Let me repeat that: Because I was wearing all black.
The ignorance defeats me. I cannot count the number of times I hear someone speak on a a taxi and all I can think is “Why are you like this? And aren’t you ashamed? Don’t you want to know better? Why is this The End for you?”
Ignorance is not bliss. The idiots annoy the shit out of the rest of us who’re trying to know and do better.
I’m saying, what you’ve been taught is not what is. Is that hard for you to fathom?
I’m saying, you need to read. Learn about the World. Learn about anything and everything.
And lastly, think. Just bloody think.