The small house is reviled all over the world because of her placement in society as part of society but also someone who stays on the outskirts and dances on the fringes of propriety . She’s often accepted as the unofficial other wife without ceremony and blamed for a husband’s lack of care and attention to his official family. Beyond that, she is often blamed for introducing sexually transmitted diseases into the home.
There are many reasons to explain the small house factor and why men have them. These reasons range from the fact that they can, a need for external succor, love and for others it fulfils the need to have another woman at their beck and call. Many men with small houses often have other side distractions but in their case, it is clearly a choice when they choose to forego preventive measures in their search for pleasure.
The problem really lies in today’s small house. Gone are the days in which small houses were often solely faithful to their main benefactors but these days, because of the economy and also the aforementioned freedoms - many small houses have several benefactors. The main one who is known to everyone and smaller ones’ which she keeps to herself. Of course, this becomes problematic in societies where women are just recently gaining their voice in terms of their reproductive and sexual health. It is no surprise that the MP, a female said what she did.
HONORABLE THABITHA KHUMALO states that “ WOMEN must keep their husbands’ mistresses close in order to “safeguard their health”, an MDC-T lawmaker says. Thabitha Khumalo, the MP for Bulawayo East, says ALL men will cheat at some point – and it is up to their wives to strike an “understanding” with their mistresses to avoid transferring sexually-transmitted diseases” (source)
Okay, let’s clap for her. I believe the MP has shown a clear understanding of the issue at hand which is that with the do as you want attitude allowed to African men, many will have multiple relationships at the same time. That’s obvious but my problem with her statement does not lie in her asking wives to play nice to curb the spread of HIV but rather my problem lies in where her statement is stemming from. It is old knowledge, that the system of patriarchy is not only pushed forward by men but also by women who are the standard bearers of this institution. It is this woman with her statement that is saying that it is okay for men to have multiple relationships, it is okay for men to cheat and most importantly, that as women, we’ve to accept the status quo. It is women like her that ensures that the system of polygamy still continues on till today - either officially or unofficially.
I have a problem with her statements because it places women on a pedestal in which we are forced to accept systems that do not aid our personal, spiritual or emotional goals. We are held up to standards that men aren’t held up to. Most importantly, we are punished if we do not follow the status quo. Yes, that is, if women do not accept the fact that their men have external relationships then it is their fault whatever happens to them. If women do not accept the small house, then she should be held responsible for whatever happens to her marriage or her health. If women aren’t okay with this extra person in the relationship then she is being selfish.
I will repeat the same question I have asked several times - who sold us this lie? Who told us that we need to be superhuman? Who told us that we need to accept extra stressors in our relationships? Why are we giving men this gap to have a laissez faire attitude towards their marriages or relationships? Why must we accept it?
I ask that women start freeing themselves from the African mental slavery. They really need to understand that though their role might be supportive, it should not be at the cost of their souls or peace of mind. Any system that takes away a woman’s peace of mind should be shunned completely.
So prime minister, you got it wrong - you should have asked that men do something revolutionary like play nice with their wives, keep it in their pants and remember, that whatever seems nice outside in the bush can be created right at home.
Written by Pamela S.
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 23 May 2012 06:24 )