Saturday, July 14, 2018

Bringing rural women to the frontline

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, United Nations

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, United Nations Under-Secretary-General and executive director of UN Women 

By Woman Reporter

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, United Nations Under-Secretary-General and executive director of UN Women, recently began a second term in office. In her first term, she drew attention to women’s issues globally, getting some countries to change gender discrimination laws. In this interview with Africa Renewal’s Kingsley Ighobor, Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka discusses her vision and the hurdles that African women continue to face.

What were the key accomplishments and challenges of your first term?

In the last four years, we focused on encouraging countries to pass legislation and adopt norms that enhance gender equality, to the point that annually we helped pass laws that address domestic violence or criminalise rape in more than 60 countries, and where these violations are tolerated or not punished, we challenged countries to amend or repeal those laws. We still have about 150 countries with legislation that discriminates against women. We have strengthened the trust between governments and us [UN Women] as an honest broker. Of course, we could do with more resources.

Are there African countries that have reduced or eliminated gender discriminatory laws?

Yes, we are proud of Malawi for passing legislation that changed the age of marriage [to at least 18 years], outlawing child marriage. In Kenya there are legal and electoral reforms that enable greater participation of women in politics. Egypt passed laws to facilitate women’s participation at local government levels, and we saw an exponential number of women standing for and winning elections.

What are you focusing on next?

Implementation of laws. Since Beijing [the World Conference on Women, 1995], countries are passing laws that address gender inequality, but the impact has not been great because of weak implementation, and as a result, the norms and traditions that the laws address have not changed. In the last two years, we have been working with traditional chiefs and the religious community at the grassroots level to change the norms. We are also working with men and boys as stakeholders and role players in changing discriminatory norms and practices.

What do you mean by discriminatory norms and practices?

For example, people will say, “We believe in human rights, but we have our traditions.” But community leaders are helping to address those issues. In Zambia, for instance, there is a chief who, after the government passed a law to raise the age of marriage to 18, raised the age of marriage to 21 in his district. He says at 18, a girl is supposed to go to university, not get married. In Uganda, the president emphasized the importance of education for girls in the fight against child marriage. Uganda passed a related law, and they are working on community-based initiatives to make the law a success. The country is highlighting women’s economic empowerment so that poverty is not an accelerator of child marriage.

Are people reluctant to change age-old practices?

Actually, it’s not been too bad. But we are investing in local communities so that our organization doesn’t have to be there all the time. In Malawi, a woman chief, Theresa Kachindamoto, with whom we had established a really good working relationship, has since 2004 terminated a total of 2,549 child marriages in a breakthrough that has cost some subchiefs their positions.

The other focus area of our work is women’s empowerment. We formed the African Women Leaders Network, which is establishing leadership that has a constituency and a leadership that works for the needs of that constituency. We want to see grassroots women in Africa standing up together on issues they care about, such as ending child marriage.

What’s the endgame?

The endgame is to have people who can stand on their own with or without the UN, so that we are just a support system. No single country in the world has attained gender equality or a robust democracy without the women’s movement, without civil society, without a certain degree of feminist thinking.

How bad is the situation of women in African conflict zones?

It is bad. In South Sudan, the level of violence against women is heartbreaking. Women in camps are violated by law enforcers and security personnel who are supposed to protect them, by the men living in the camps and sometimes by their own family. If they move outside the camps, they are at risk of abduction and rape. The perpetrators target women to punish their opponents. We have the same pattern in Central African Republic, where, because of religious or political conflicts or general lawlessness, women bear the brunt of the humiliation and pain that come with the war. In Sudan, things are not perfect. In Burundi, there are problems. But it should also be said that women in these places are fighting back. Women in South Sudan are standing up. Women in Burundi are playing a significant role in averting conflict by being community mediators. In Somalia, women are organising themselves to increase their participation in parliament.

A recent study shows that when women are actively involved in conflict resolution, peace is sustainable.

When you negotiate peace and women are empowered negotiators, the quality of the negotiated peace is better. Women sit at the table not to settle scores, but to seek genuine reconciliation. Women want reconstruction to be about clinics that heal, schools that teach, agriculture that feeds the village, etc. They want reparations that benefit the community. For peace to be sustainable, it must be inclusive. Women form at least 50 per cent of the population in most countries, they bear the brunt of conflict and they need to have room to put forward their needs and priorities and have them adequately captured and represented when negotiating peace.

In Liberia, women played a major role in ushering in and sustaining peace, and they have never disbanded as peace activists. If you look at South Africa, a postconflict country, women played a significant role leading to the end of apartheid, to the negotiations, to the constitution—and ticked a lot of the critical boxes to sustain democracy. We saw that to some extent in Mozambique and in Namibia.

In Rwanda too?

Yes, in Rwanda, and, although not a post-conflict country, Ghana too.

Apart from Rwanda, where women constitute 64% of parliamentarians, the gender parity goal in political representation is far from being achieved in Africa.

Compared with other regions of the world, Africa is doing better. South Africa is above the global average in the level of women’s political participation. There are more countries in Africa with a higher representation of women than you will find even in countries without conflict and that are much richer. But we should not be satisfied, because our best is not good enough.

Why the focus on women living in rural areas lately?

If there’s anyone left behind, it is women and girls in rural areas. We want to take those at the back of the line to the front of the line. We are putting their critical issues high on the agenda, looking at different solutions, exchanging and sharing best practices.

How does poverty in rural areas affect child marriages?

Because poverty is higher in the rural areas, girls in these areas face a higher risk of forced and early marriage. It is important for us to break with child marriage in the rural areas, where traditional authority and cultural practices are still strong.

Is there hope for young women in terms of economic empowerment and political participation?

We have a CSW [Commission on the Status of Women] for youth, which generates recommendations and insights that are taken to the main CSW. We are also ensuring that in the CSW we begin to get the young people to address and tackle the norms that hinder gender equality so that they are not steeped in the traditions of the generations before them.

The UN Secretary-General recently declared gender parity had been achieved in senior UN leadership. What can the African Union learn from that?

Decisiveness and leading from the front. The pace at which women have been recruited into the UN has a lot to do with the resolve of the secretary-general who has used his authority and power to make the appointments. He has had to assert himself, not take no for an answer.

Women earn 30% less than men in Africa. Is that an issue for you?

Yes. We are partnering with the ILO [International Labour Organisation] and civil society to promote equal pay. We want to see a breakthrough much sooner than 2030. It is one of the biggest but simplest campaigns: everyone understands the difference between a big pay cheque and a small pay cheque. Political leaders and heads of organisations must speak up and have policies that ensure women and men are paid equally.

What is your vision for the African woman?

The African woman is a pillar of the family and society. African women have leadership qualities. They care for their communities. I would like to see more women heads of state in Africa.

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Saturday, July 7, 2018

Dealing with the pressured to get married

 

By Mpoki Thomson

It is every woman’s dream that when they reach a certain age they will find Mr Right to walk them down the aisle.

But things sometimes don’t go according to plan and soon pressure begins to mount from all corners.

Christine Chacha, 31, was on the verge of getting married. However, she developed cold feet after introduction formalities were done, and consequently called off the wedding altogether after getting engaged. “I was more focused on marriage than settling down with the right guy,” she says.

The now single woman says she was pressured by family and friends to get married, something which clouded her judgment and made her make decisions in haste.

Christine, however, acknowledges the desirability of having somebody to spend the rest of your life with. Instead of marriage, she would much rather have a partner in her life – someone she shares mutual affection with, without the need of marriage complications.

When women reach a certain age, there erupts this sudden pressure to settle down. Family members, relatives and friends start constantly nagging you with questions on when you’ll get married.

Women in their 30s endure a lot. Worse still, if it happens you have a child out of wedlock, you’ll be criticised for it, and questions about getting married will still linger.

For those who are well into their 30s but aren’t married and don’t have children, you get a double dosage of scrutiny not only over your biological clock, but relationship clock, too.

Marriage isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. This is a clear standpoint embraced by Ndanshau Hellen (not her real name). The single mother to a 3-year-old son has never fancied getting married.

She believes that marriage should be a choice one makes out of their own volition – there needn’t be any external pressure from either friends or family members. “I and the father to my child recently ended things, but it’s not because of the pressure to get married, far from it, he too wasn’t too eager to put a ring on it. We ended our relationship because we grew apart as a couple.

We knew that our situation wasn’t healthy for the upbringing of our child. So we decided to amicably call it quits,” she reveals.

She says that after she ended things with her man, her family members have been on her back ever since. They had hoped that she’d end up marrying the father to her child, but were shocked when the relationship ran its course.

Ndanshau’s last resort; turning a deaf ear to her family’s pleas. This is something that Monica Hungi doesn’t have a privilege of. The 32-year-old paralegal hasn’t been able to evade her family’s bickering over her ‘single’ situation.

Worse still, due to her profession, they believe she’ll die a single woman. “My mum says I am too focused on reading legal books but can’t read clear signs that show I need to get married,” she says.

Even though she’s been on a few dates, Monica doesn’t see her ‘single status’ changing anytime soon.

Imagine coming from a family of three girls, you being the oldest of them, with both of your younger sisters living a happily married life.

This is a situation that Kasubi Agnes identifies with. Being the oldest of three sisters means she is supposed to be exemplary in most things she does. Unfortunate for her, getting married hasn’t been one of those things.

Kasubi yearns to get married one day, and even though she doesn’t fit into society’s category of ‘right’ age for marriage, having lived way past 40, she still hasn’t lost hope.

She lives a lavish life, boasting a beautiful home. To some men, this might be a bit intimidating.

Dating a woman who is accomplished is hard enough, imagine marrying one. Kasubi maintains herself well, there is no viable reason she’s not married. She’s been in and out of flings, some men she meets are already married, and playing second fiddle is unthinkable to her.

The pressure from her family and society at large gets to her at times. Seeing her younger siblings living the life that her parents had hoped she’d have achieved by now, is something that she has to accept.

For now, she lives a single life, but is ready for marriage soon as the chance presents itself.

Burden of pressure

Pressure from society can be quite burdening. 26 year-old Rahma Salim (not her real name) knows too well how the people that surround you can put immense pressure on you to get married. “When you reach a certain age, people around you feel like marriage should be next on your ‘to-do’ list,” she says, adding that people feel like marriage is the final answer to all problems.

Rahma is woefully stressed by all the pressure to get married. “People surrounding me think that a girl doesn’t have a settled life until she is married. You eventually tend to think that too. So often times I am left stressed and unhappy,” she speaks.

Rushing into things without thinking them through is a resultant effect of the pressure from society. “It makes me rush into things, and then I find out it’s not the guy I will be happy with. Then I’m left with disappointment,” Rahma says.

Dar es Salaam-based psychologist, Dr Chris Mauki cautions couples against tying the knot too early. He says that those who rush to the altar do not last long in marriage. “I will train singles and couples on proper preparation for marriage,” he says. This stems from the premature dissolution of marriages recently.

Dr Chris Hart, a psychologist based in Nairobi and the author of Single & Searching says that pressure from families and society, and the fear that time is flying by too fast are some of the leading causes of why people marry wrong partners or marry when they’re not ready. This pressure is a booby trap you should never fall into.

“Getting married because you feel lonely or want someone to complete you is a mistake. You must understand that it is alright to relish your independence” he says.

Nonetheless, there are ways through which you can determine if you are ready to get married. Relationship coach Lori Fradkin says that if you are doing well in many spheres of your life, then you might as well be ready for a marital commitment. “It will be an indication that you are aware you would be alright on your own, but still know that you need a partner in your life.

You don’t feel desperate or left out just because you’re not married and your close friends are or just because everyone else is saying that you should get married.”

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Saturday, July 7, 2018

One man’s view: Don’t starve yourself for looks

 

By Marete Wa Marete

African women are sexier because they are not flat-chested and scrawny. Indeed, they are fleshy, amply endowed and curvy.

You do not have to be a student of philosophy to understand the aesthetics behind this kind of beauty.

You have seen men open mouthed gawping at a woman’s backside, their cleavages or busts (I cannot resist and sometimes, I stare even in front of my woman – its natural).

Compare this endowed African beauty with the women who, in the name of ill-understood concept “beauty” starve themselves to near-death.

They look so lanky like they need a couple of stones in their handbags to weigh them down lest they get blown away be the wind. They look sickly and sallow like they can do with fattening after having spent a month in a hospital bed. Add this to a jeans trouser torn all over – one that looks like it has been eaten by rats and an overdose of makeup that make them look like a vampire after drinking human blood.

You feel like pitying them. They really do not know that although mzungus may view such women as beautiful, there is something un-African about starving one’s self to look more appealing in the name of dieting - it is stupid unless you have exceeded the standard Body Mass Index (BMI) and are advised by your doctor.

African art and music has always praised well-endowed women. Now ladies, if some guy tells you to slim, just tell them to marry or date a snake. It makes sense!

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Saturday, July 7, 2018

Pressure to get married



Janet Otieno

Janet Otieno 

No one should be pressured or forced into marriage. It’s something that happens when one decides it’s the right time.

Family members and friends can really make one’s life miserable by constantly inquiring on when they’ll get married. Marriage is something that is so personal that it requires proper reflection before deciding to get onboard.

There are many marriages that have ended prematurely simply because the woman was forced or pressured into it. Due to its intensity, there should be utmost caution observed before one decides that marriage is the right path for them.

Whether 30 or 40, you marry when your heart consents, not because you are pressured.

No one will be living with you when those marital problems come knocking on your door. It will be you and your husband to find ways to resolve the matter. So why decide to marry due to pressure?

Take your time, find the right partner. Know everything about them – their character, likes and dislikes, future plans, family plans – all these are important factors to be considered before deciding to marry someone. You’d rather know everything early on, instead of being shocked in later stages of your relationship.

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Saturday, July 7, 2018

When it’s better to break your own heart

 

By Christine Chacha

How many times have you tried to get your friend, relative or colleague to break up with some guy who is treating her like crap but your pleas fall on deaf ears.

It’s very frustrating because you know they are heading for a heartbreak and there is nothing you can do.

Love is a strange thing, it turns people blind, deaf and sick. We have all seen it; close friends and family, pleading with their loved one to break up with some douche but they won’t listen. Believe me, it is not just the women, it happens to men also.

No matter how obvious the abuse and disrespect is, they won’t leave. That person could have all the evidence of cheating, mental abuse, physical abuse and even financial abuse, but they just can’t find the strength to leave. At this point, love becomes a sickness.

Sometimes love is like being in chains, you want out but you just don’t know how to. It is not meant to be like that.

You have to break your own heart to save yourself. You cannot wait for the abuser to do it for you - he has no desire or interest in doing it for you. Stop trying to figure out why they don’t love you, or why they are treating you like this. It is a waste of time.

So, what can the lovesick do when all the red flags are flaring? You must find the courage and strength to break your own heart before you become a slave of your love. I know it is easier said than done, but that is the key.

For your own sake you have to make a hard decision to save your own heart.

How many times have you gotten all worked up sexually and slept with someone you knew you would regret later? Then the crazy part is, right after you finish, you return to your right state of mind and pain and regret kicks in. It has happened to me and I can tell you it’s not a pleasant feeling.

Be smart and brave enough to recognise a potential bad relationship before you take the plunge. It is painful at first, but nothing as painful as losing precious years to abuse and mistreatment. There will be withdrawals: you may be tempted to call or text.

He or she will keep calling and tempting you through apologies. Loneliness will rear its ugly head. Stand your ground!

When you do break your own heart, don’t just lay there listening to sad love songs. Now there is a void and you could easily become desperate to fill it with another bad relationship. Instead fill it with friends, family and kids if you have them. Find things to do.

Start a business, go back to school, join an organization, work it out in the gym but don’t just sit there checking your phone! One cute emoji can ruin your life and you are back to the cycle of destruction!

Ladies, don’t just break your own heart, smash it for your own good. Meaning, break up with that fool before he makes a fool of you! I know it is easier said than done, but it can be done if you really love yourself and want to be free.

Nobody deserves to be treated like a dog, especially by a dog! Think about what advice you would give your best friend who is in a similar situation, and make it your own!

When you are finally free, you will be like “what the hell was wrong with me! What was I thinking? How could I be so stupid?” You weren’t stupid, you were just in love, and love can be a dangerous thing. That is, when it is not respected.

chacha.kristin@yahoo.com

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Saturday, July 7, 2018

THE PUB: Everyone here, even a journo, is important

 

By Wa Muyanza

You’re on the slopes of Mount Kamwala. Seasoned readers of this column must be wondering why you’re here while it’s not Xmas yet.

Like most modern-day Wabongo, you only travel to your ancestral village when there’s something really serious to attend to. Like when some mzee declares he’s certain he’s going to die very soon, and you must go home to receive his last blessings or else, shauri yako!”

There’s nothing that scares a typical African like the prospect of being denied one’s parent’s blessings. Kukosa radhi, we call it in Kiswahili. It’s even worse when parent utters a curse against you for being stubborn—kuachiwa laana, which is when your mzee reaches the extent of pronouncing with his own mouth he has cursed you. Very scary, isn’t it?

All this explains why we strongly revere our elderly kin and kith. And when they die, nothing will stop us from going to participate in their burial, which is one way to pacify their spirits. Yeah, just in case you had unwittingly wronged them during their lifetime.

This is why you travelled, against all odds, 500km to the hillsides last week. A younger sibling of your late mom passed away at the “ripe old age” of 82 on July 27 and you had to be there to see him off to his final resting place the next day.

A sad occasion but, as they say, every cloud has a silver lining. The burial ceremony of Liana Chachika, a retired teacher and village elder of great stature, provided a reunion opportunity to many of us.

You encounter many old schoolmates and ndugus, including some you had last seen over 30 years ago.

One such person is Tesua (read Tethua). The guy goes agog upon learning you’re “the Muyanza” who pens ‘The Pub’ He introduces you to his two grown children, a daughter (a teacher) and a son (a computer expert). Both youngsters declare that they too, like their mzee, are avowed readers of this crap you call “my column”. Indeed, the son, Eman, excitedly narrates in detail a couple of “episodes” you can hardly recall, written quite some time ago.

In due course, after the younger Tesuas have left, the guy literally grabs you and leads you, together with a certain ndugu, to Kwa Anna’s Pub. We find Eman is already there.

You’re all welcomed with a beer by the young man. You’re hardly through with Junior’s offer when Tesua gives an order entailing one-one for himself and Junior, plus three for you!

“Why three for me,” you ask.

“You deserve it… it’s not everyday I meet and share a drink with an important person… journalists are very important people,” he says.

Journalists are important people? Where? Since when? You want to laugh, but you don’t, for in any case, we’re in the village where everybody, including journalists, is considered respectable.

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Saturday, June 30, 2018

Signs of an abusive relationship

Domestic abuse can happen to anyone. No one

Domestic abuse can happen to anyone. No one should live in fear of the person they love. PHOTO | COURTESY 

When you meet victims of abusive relationships, one thing that’s common among them, is that none of them knew from the get-go that they are entering in to an abusive relationship, even when the signs are obvious.

Some even fail to tell the signs months in to the relationship, despite of all that unfolds.

It takes an average of five to seven acts of violence before a woman finally leaves her abuser. In some cases, women refuse to acknowledge that they are in an abusive relationship.

Instead of having to go through the ordeal of being with an abusive partner, why not avoid entering in to an abusive relationship in the first place?

Abuse manifests itself in different forms. It doesn’t have to be physical; there are other acts that lead to emotional and psychological abuse.

Mwantumu Mohammed, 35, a fruit vendor in Tandika, Dar es Salaam, is a surviving victim of gender violence. The ordeal that she had to go through at the hands of her abusive partners made her not to want to get married ever again.

It all started when she was first introduced to her now Ex-husband, Mr Shabani Iddy. In the beginning he was the most caring man she had ever met.

“He made me believe in love, something that I never thought of before. By then I was only 17, and even though he was 14 years older than me, that didn’t matter to me, all I thought about was our future together – spending the rest of my life with him,” says Mwantumu.

Things started off on the right footing. The couple lived harmoniously, but after some time, Mwantumu discovered that her husband had another wife prior to marrying her. Such discovery, however, didn’t leave her completely distraught; this is because her husband was a Muslim and so his religion made it permissible for him to marry more than one woman.

After a few months of living harmoniously together, things took a sudden turn when Mwantumu became pregnant.

“Shabani was no longer the man I met and fell in love with, he would from time to time make negative remarks about my appearance, out of the blue he started saying that I was dirty and smelling, an issue he had never raised before,” she says.

Mwantumu tried to withstand the verbal abuse, but before long, she started hearing rumours that her husband was having an affair with another woman he wasn’t married to. Before she could even wrap her head around the situation, Shabani moved the ‘other woman’ into their matrimonial home.

“The woman would insult me in front of him and he did nothing. I finally had enough of the insults and decided to leave and went to give birth at home. While at my parents place he sent me divorce papers,” she says.

Even though her husband never abused her physically, the constant insults made her have low self-esteem, to a point where she questioned her worth as a human being. Mwantumu often wondered whether she’d be able to find anyone who’ll love her for who she is.

Mwantumu, distraught and now with a baby to worry about, decided to move on with her life. She however didn’t fully give up on love. A few years later, a rejuvenated Mwantumu met another man and things started heating up very quickly.

“From early on in our relationship every one warned me about his drunken behaviour and how he slept around with different women but I was so blinded that I never saw all his shortcomings as big issues to worry about,” she explained.

They went ahead and got married and had a child. After a while Mwantumu started to see what everyone was warning her about.

“He would go out to drink and come back home very drunk and sometimes he wouldn’t return home for several days,” she says. This behaviour went on for several years and only got worse with time.

Mwantumu had survived an abusive relationship that wasn’t physical before, unfortunate for her; this time around the abuse was physical. “He’d spend all the money we earned on alcohol and women and whenever I confronted him he’d hit me or threaten to leave the house together with the child I had with him,” she says.

After putting up with the abuse for long enough, Mwantumu one day decided to leave with her children. She’s now living an independent life free of any form of abuse.

One of the common occurrences in domestic violence cases is the naivety and ignorance of the victims who are mostly women, when it comes to dealing with the matter.

Gender desks put up at police stations to deal with such cases, often report on situations where women continue to live with the abuser even after the matter has been reported to the authorities.

For Mwantumu, after having survived an abusive relationship before, she fell in to the same trap once again. As a result, she was a victim of both physical and verbal abuse.

According to Tanzania Demographic and Health Statistics and Malaria Indicator Survey (TDHS-MIS) 2015-16, one in every 10 women has experienced physical violence since the age of 15.

“Experience of violence increases with age, with 22 per cent of women aged 15-19 being victims of physical violence compared to 48 per cent of women aged 40-49,” reads the survey.

The statement further explains that 17 per cent of women have ever experienced sexual and physical violence. The experience increases with age. From 11 per cent for women under 19 to 18 per cent for women aged 40-49.

Signs of abuse

Speaking on early signs that show that a man is violent, Ms Lilian Liundi, the Executive Director of Tanzania Gender Networking Programme (TGNP), said that women should not only consider physical abuse as the sole sign of violence in a relationship.

According to her, women either in a relationship or married should watch out for men who say it clearly that one day he will do something bad to them with the intention of harming them.

“When someone says they will hit, kill or slaughter you, just know that one day he will do so, and a person saying he will do harm to you in any way, is one of the signs of violence”, she says.

Another sign, says Lillian, is a man who progressively uses disgraceful words to women for no specific reason.

“When a person continuously uses bad speech and insults women, this causes psychological damage because it breeds inferiority complex among women. As such, they should learn to run away from such type of men,” she adds.

Another sign which many women fail to consider before starting a relationship is upbringing. When a person is brought up in a family that has history of violence it is very likely for that person to also be violent.

“Most people starting a relationship don’t consider background, but it is important to know someone’s upbringing. Most children who have grown up in a violent environment either physical or psychological take that with them to adulthood,” she points.

Furthermore, a man with superiority complex, according to Lillian, is someone to be watchful of because they tend to take someone’s achievements negatively.

Lillian says violence doesn’t start out of the blue, “it begins with someone’s thoughts, thoughts that are mostly driven by anger,” she says.

Lillian further says that the solution for violence in relationships is counselling, seeking psychological help. She says that violent men also deserve an opportunity to seek help because if left alone the situation continuous, and can potentially escalate.

Sebastian Mwiru, a Dar es Salaam resident, said most men tend to become violent when provoked but according to him, anger and depression does not justify violence.

“Most of the time you find a man angered by other people and when they get home they manifest their anger to their wives either physically or verbally,”says Sebastian.

He further adds that women should sometimes learn to study the mood of their spouses and know when not to provoke them in order to avoid situations which can lead to violence.

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Saturday, June 23, 2018

DEAR DIARY: Widows also have rights



Janet Otieno

Janet Otieno 

By Janet Otieno

Losing a spouse brings immeasurable pain. Now imagine fending off vultures in form of relatives who come knocking on your door soon after your husband’s passing, trying to strip you of your owning rights to property.

Often times here in Africa, a woman cannot properly grieve the loss of her spouse without being harassed by relatives. This is inconsideration at its highest level.

Even with a plethora of responsibilities staring at you, the greedy relatives will turn a blind eye and come for every single property your husband left behind.

Worse still, some African cultures, stemming back to the old days, do not favour a woman inheriting property. This means that you are left with children to look after, but no means of how to take care of them.

Society needs to change. We need to safeguard the rights of women and children.

If it happens that a spouse dies, leaving behind children and a wife, priority in as far as property is concerned should be given to the person left with the responsibility of looking after the children of the deceased, often times it’s the mother.

Widows are going through many challenges that need to be addressed.

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Saturday, June 23, 2018

THE DIVA: Love can make people do crazy things

 

By Christine Chacha

Love, in its purest form, makes people do weird things. While some of us get better at masking them with age, we all have those undeniable urges to do weird things we would never normally do in the name of love. For example, when I was in campus I was smitten by this guy who was sort of a bad boy. I remember one time I smoked weed and almost died because I was asthmatic, all in an ill-fated attempted to prove to my crush I was a cool girl who liked to party. I even got a tattoo of a boyfriend because I foolishly believed we would last forever and now I have a tattoo that reminds me of my foolish days.

Many of us have done questionable things for love. Sometimes I look back at all the sacrifices and dumb things I did in the name of love and just laugh at myself- No regrets there, just plain humor at my naivety. I bet you can relate, whether it’s attending a church to be with them despite not even being a Christian or accepting unfair treatment because you thought he was “the one”, it’s common to be blinded by emotions and a desire to be coupled up.

And it’s nothing to be ashamed of, people out there have done crazier things for love.

I read on the internet about this couple who were so in love with each other that they decided to get plastic surgery so they could be identical. May sound crazy and mental but trust me we’ve all been there, whether it’s a psycho moment, emotional moment, or completely selfless gesture. Love can push us to do things we never thought we’d do.

But in all honesty, there are some things that people do for love that leave you wondering what the hell!

Kill: it’s become a common thing nowadays. Crimes of passion have become rampant and you gotta wonder is it really worth it? Is love really having blood stained hands? Don’t let your feelings convince you to do anything crazy. If the person you love hurts you, you can always let them go – there really are more fish out there.

Get into physical fights: the whole idea of some guy fighting for your love is theoretically charming but come on!!Nowadays fights escalate so quick, the next thing you know some guy is dead because of you. And ladies please never hurt your pretty face fighting another woman for a man, he is not worth it. There’s no reason to compete for their affection

Trap pregnancy: I know a good number of women who h+ave ended up in unhappy relationships because they thought if they got pregnant, it’ll keep their man around. Of course, that’s a horrible idea, because he will still leave if he doesn’t want to stay

Lower your standards: Do not lower your standards. It’s better to be single than in a relationship with someone who treats you poorly and disregards your values.

Love is a beautiful thing, so don’t ruin its reputation by doing these horrible things. I know people who have ruined their lives because they made bad choices and decisions all for love. Don’t let that happen to you. There are easier ways to show love that won’t strip you of your dignity.

chacha.kristin@yahoo.com

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Saturday, June 23, 2018

ONE MAN'S VIEW: He’s handsome, generous, caring and oh....so rich

 

By Marete Wa Marete

No matter how many attributes a man may have, money is always the deciding factor in many relationships. Not even one woman in her right senses wants to be tethered with a Tom, Dick or Harry who is past thirty and living with his parents. I have heard many so-called super women (the independent type) proclaim lies that love is what matters and not money. That is indeed a white lie. Getting strutted with a poor bloke is no woman’s cup of tea.

Women trying to prove to the world that they can go beyond materialism have ended up on the bosom of the men of no substance, only for their relationship to fall by the wayside. The silver lining in women’s inbuilt intuition is that women can easily identify a promising man even if he were as poor as a church mouse. From merely talking to a woman, she can handpick a man with prospects from a multitude.

Men on their part have inbuilt urge to be showy – flashy cars, houses and all the mumbo jumbo. You can bet that the reason some men work themselves to the bone is to impress a woman somewhere – a concubine, girlfriend, mother or wife. Women are wired by Mother Nature to expect from men even if they earn six figures per month while their men earn peanuts.

All relationship woes: It goes without saying that money is an elixir for all relationships. It oils its cogwheels. Sometimes, lack of money is not necessarily the reason why many relationships fall apart.

The way we spend it counts. While women are endowed with uncanny thriftiness most men spend liberally. A man sees no problem in spending even what he has not earned. I can assure you that men who do not listen to their women’s judgment on money matters can as well consider themselves bankrupt at some point in future unless one is yoked to a gold digger. While infidelity counts as a major relationship breaker, money comes second.

Mr do-it-all: A man whose name I wish to preserve had it all going well. His only problem is that he never let the reigns of his coins. He spent all the time in the office (he is a teetotaller). When it came to household shopping, he kept strict control on every coin. He monitored even match boxes purchased. Finally, his wife of many years eloped with another man. She couldn’t handle the stifle. Sometimes, it is important to give women some leeway in expenditure.

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Saturday, June 23, 2018

THE PUB: Why you can’t escape the Word Cup mania

 

By Wa Muyanza

It’s crazy, this World Cup thing in Russia! Everybody seems to have gone bananas about it and, who are you to distance yourself? Oh yeah, you aren’t that much into football, be it European League, English Premier, Bundesliga or whatever.

Well, you somewhat care about Simba and Yanga, whereby you cheer the former, even when they play badly, and jeer the latter, even when they perform well. You even boo Yanga when they’re playing a foreign team, the same way your kid bro, Kipupwe, will cheer a foreign team, urging it to eat up Simba at the National Stadium!

So, you reiterate, besides the Msimbazi Reds (first) and Jangwani Yellows, you aren’t really keen on any two squads, each comprising 11 adults, bruising each other as they chase an inflated, round cowhide. But then, let’s face it: the World Cup is something else. It’s more than just football. It’s a global phenomenon that engulfs all, including citizens of the African Continent which, out of its 53 nations, is fielding only five in the tourney bringing together 32 national teams. Oh yeah, we’ve only Egypt, Morocco, Nigeria, Tunisia and Senegal. And as you file this article, already Morocco has played Iran (June 15) and lost 1-0; Egypt was walloped by Russia 3-1 on June 19! Nigeria played Croatia on June 16 and received a 2-0 beating while Tunisia faced England on June 18 and went down 2-1. Latest updates show that two African nations, Egypt and Morocco, have already been sent packing. You’ve been sucked into the World Cup mania mainly because every drinking place in your neighbourhood has installed a TV with a “bundle” that ensures patrons can watch the World Cup. You’re told it is either that, or drinkers abandon the grocery! It means you can’t find a grocery where you can have your warm “Castro Laiti” in peace and quiet.

Our teams are losing alright, but so what? Wabongo are still enjoying ‘poetry in motion” displayed by world’s finest kabumbu players.

And one thing, most of us are now supporting Denmark since there’s a “M’bongo” in the team, Yussuf Poulsen, who scored the winning (and the only) goal when the Nordic country’s team played Peru on June 16. Well, Yussuf is actually not a M’bongo, but his late father, Shihe Yurary, was from Tanga. So, he’s ours! Yes, the way Barrack Hussein Obama is Kenyan because his late father was born and brought up in Kisumu.

You suspend the penning of this column and head to a grocery to join others cheering Senegal who are playing Poland and, oh my! We beat the Polish 2-1! The Lions of Teranga have done us proud! You’re informed this is just a group stage victory and the fight is still on, but that’s not important right now. Of importance is: we Africans have beaten someone for the first time since the craze opened on June 14.

It’s your dream the Lions will maul their way to the finals; amen! You ask Lucy the barmaid to give everyone at your table—plus her—one-one in celebration.

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Saturday, June 23, 2018

How widows moved from grief to growth

 

By Esther Kibakaya

Today the world is celebrating the International Widows Day, a day recognised by United Nations to address the poverty and injustice faced by millions of widows and their dependents in many countries. This year’s theme is ‘Invisible women, invisible problems’, signifying the lack of recognition towards challenges that widows face.

In Tanzania, just like many parts of the world, especially in the African continent, women once widowed, are often faced with a number of injustices including denial of inheritance and land rights, some are evicted from their homes and physically abused, while others are killed by relatives.

In the African setting, once a husband dies, his wife loses her place in society because in many communities, a woman’s social status is inseparably linked to her husband’s, that’s why losing a husband is considered one of the toughest challenges in a woman’s lifetime.

However, despite facing a number of challenges such as being stigmatised and seen as a source of shame, some widows have refused to let their pain and suffering pull them back by playing both roles as mother and father to ensure that their lives and that of their children become better.

Among such women is Eliada Bihere, a 44-year-old mother of eight. A resident of Temeke, she lost her husband nine months ago from diabetes. The loss meant she’d shoulder all responsibilities as a single parent. “My husband was diagnosed with diabetes back in 2007. He was an architect, however, after he got sick his working efficiency also went down the drain, he later developed eye problems which further worsened the situation,” she sadly recalls.

The widow says her husband’s deteroriating heath status forced him to quit his job in 2016, a situation which caused a lot of stress for the family, especially considering the number of children they had.

“My late husband felt hopeless and couldn’t go out for two days, but as a wife I did my best to encourage him. He was the type of man who didn’t want me to work, but I had to find work even though he wasn’t happy about it. His state meant that we needed to find a way to survive,” she says, adding, “His passing was very tough, considering the fact that our last three children are still young, the last born being five years old. I had to come up with ways of putting food on the table, take care of school fees and other expenses.”

Her children were also affected, both emotionally and financially. Supporting her family alone isn’t easy. At one time she was on the verge of withdrawing her children from school. “There’s a time family members advised me to stop taking one of my children to the school he was attending because I could no longer afford to pay school fees and they were not ready to support me. I considered the option but later on God heard my cry and the school owner allowed my child to study for free,” she explains.

The mother of 8 is able to support her family through poultry business. She supplies eggs to different clients and earns an average of Sh400,000 per month.

Only someone who has gone through a similar situation can understand the pain of losing a husband. “For instance you might call someone with the intension of greeting them but instead they think that you are calling to ask for money. They brand us as beggars, women who can’t depend on ourselves, something which is very wrong. I refused to be looked down upon that’s why I am working hard to make sure that we don’t starve, my children go to school and we don’t end up on the streets begging,” Eliada says.

She wishes the government would come up with a plan to empower widows economically, because most widows are not only left with lots of pain and suffering but also with lots of financial difficulties, especially when it comes to shouldering family responsibilities.

Widows Association

Rose Sarwatt is a widow and founder of Tanzania Widows Associations (TAWIA). Having gone through a lot as a widow herself, she decided to come up with an organisation which helps other widows to have a place that will give them hope and support.

She officially started the association in 2014 and within a few months more than 3700 widows were registered in Dar es Salaam alone and within six months they registered more than 7000 widows from Dar es Salaam and nearby regions including, Morogoro, Coastal region, Arusha and Kilimanjaro.

“We currently have more than ten thousand registered widows in our organization and we have others working closely to identify more widows in different places such as churches and mosques. Last year we started collecting their information so that we can have a clear number of them, this will help us assist them closely,” she explains.

She says many women lose hope after becoming widows and instead resort to begging on the streets. Through her association, she finds a way of helping these women by taking their children to school and finding activities for them to do. Rose identifies economic challenge as one of the common challenges that most widows face. “Most widows are in a bad financial situation and this is caused by a number of reasons: one is most of these women have no skills or certain expertise because they had to stop going to school in order to get married and so they ended up becoming housewives dependent on their husbands. Once a person who was providing for them dies, the situation becomes worse because they can’t manage to run the family on their own,” she explains.

Rose says some of the widows are forced to sell their assets so they can support their families. “There are also those who are faced with financial difficulties because they were forced to give up their assets by relatives. Some of these women decide to go to court but are frustrated along the way so they decide to stop pursuing the case altogether,” she notes.

Rose says the widows association trains and advises women on how they can be productive instead of being dependent. “Through groups we teach them how to save and use money to support each other by coming up with projects they are capable of doing. This includes sewing, farming, animal keeping and so forth,” she highlights.

“We also provide legal counsel for widows who were denied of their inheritance by relatives,” she adds.

Rose says a comprehensive national policy that safeguards the rights of widows and their children is needed. She also points to the shortfalls of customary laws that recognize a male child as the only inheritor in a family. “Having religious and traditional laws which are contradictory creates problems for widows,” she says.

Mwenda Jacobs, a human rights lawyer working in Dar es Salaam says that the legal framework in the country doesn’t favour women when it comes to property rights. As a result, when a husband dies, the wife, left with children faces an uphill batlle fending off greedy relatives. “We need definitive laws that safegaurd the rights of widows,” he says.

Before starting the widows association, Rose had to overcome trials and tribulations after her husband died. It’s these hardships that influenced her to make a keen follow-up on the challenges that widows face, consequently starting the widows association.

Her husband died eight years ago. At the time of his death the couple had four children. Their first born, who’s currently working, was in form four then, the second born who is currently in University pursuing a degree in Medicine was in form two, third born who is about to complete standard seven this year was in nursery school and the last born who was almost three is currently in standard four.

“As a wife, I was denied the right by relatives to bury my late husband. I was told that in their clan, a woman cannot decide on anything. My husband wished to be buried at a specific location, something he intimated to me when he was alive. However, his relatives were against his wishes. This created a huge misunderstanding and so his body had to stay in the mortuary for nine days. I had to fight for my right till I managed to rest my husband where he wished to be laid,” Rose speaks.

But that wasn’t the only challenge the widow went through. “They wanted to have the rights to the property my husband and I owned, because of that I had to give up a six acre farm. I tried my best to fight for my family’s interest,” she reveals.

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Saturday, June 16, 2018

How social media won’t let you forget the past

 

By Salome Gregory

Forgetting the past requires time, concentration, and – most importantly – space. However, social media is making it harder than ever to let go of your past.

It is believed that ‘out of sight, out of mind,’ but the downside of using social media is that bygones are never bygones. Often times you’ll find yourself reminded of a period in time which you wish to forget. Somehow, the internet finds a way of digging up your past.

Bongo flava artists Nandy and Billnas were the topic of a heated online discussion following leakage of their steamy video which showed the two canoodling. When the artistes addressed the matter, they said that the video footage was taken at a time when they were in a relationship. They expressed their regret and apologised for the unsightly video, considering that both artistes had moved on to other relationships.

Other examples of the past coming back to haunt you online are widely seen in the US, especially Hollywood, where celebrities find themselves in heated water following an online tweet or video they posted years back.

Just recently, a racist, Islamophobic joke against a former adviser to Barack Obama on Twitter made by actress Roseanne Barr, led to the show being cancelled. Even though the joke was made in the past, the rise in popularity of the show ‘Roseanne’ meant that people would start digging in to her life, revealing her long forgotten skeletons. The actress deleted the tweet and has since apologised, but that one tweet marked the end of her career.

At times people vent online, they express things that they probably shouldn’t on a public platform. When they come to their senses, it is often too late to make amends. They learn the hard way that whatever goes online, is never forgotten.

Kim Kardashian, a mother, wife, reality tv star and fashion icon, went through a horrid time after her sex tape surfaced online. Though it was taken years back when she was dating singer RayJ, it still haunted her even after she married rapper Kanye West. It is believed that a lot of money had to be paid to a porn site that had the exclusive rights to the video. It was also deleted from all online platforms, including social media.

Past relationships

Online, the past can seem like the present. An ex you broke up with years ago can reappear in an instant. Women for the most part find solace interacting online. If it happens that an ex pops up out of the blue during absentminded scrolling, it can become challenging to overcome the reappearance of a lost love.

When James, 30, and Paulina, 28, ended their relationship two years ago after a dispute, none of them could ever have imagined that they’d still end up together.

A disagreement over a trip to Nairobi two years ago, prompted James to call it quits when his fiancée insisted on traveling despite his disapproval.

It only took a text message for James to put a sword to their relationship following Paulina’s insistence on travelling. .

“I was shocked when I got the text. We had so many future plans together,” Paulina says on her reaction following the breakup. During her trip, she’d often post stuff on social media. James never commented on any of her posts, but he did see all of them, thanks to Whatsapp’s status update that lets you see the people who’ve viewed your status.

Even when you “unfollow” or block someone on social media, they can still find a way to contact you, and some ex’s don’t take it kindly to being blocked, which is why some people just decide not to bother blocking an ex. Though it’s believed that unfollwoing your ex across all social media platforms is a good place to start in your new journey to recovery.

According to Paulina, after a month James started posting photos of him hanging out with female friends he knew Paulina never liked. Splitting up is hard enough, but seeing someone’s new life without you can be torturous. This is one of the ways ex’s try to get at each other. Online, it is believed that when you see your former object of affection sharing funny GIFs on a new girl’s wall and your heart sinks, you might not be too far off from the truth.

James and Paulina remained virtually present in each other’s life even though they had broken up for over a month. It is therefore no surprise that nine months later, a facebook post from Paulina stating she was admitted to Muhimbili National Hospital, was enough to see James rushing to her bedside. Upon seeing her, their love was rekindled and they plan on getting married later this year.

Physiologist Charles Nduku, based in Dar es Salaam, affirms that social media does make it very difficult to overcome an ex-lover. Most of the times one will end up seeing tags from other friends who are not aware of your breakup.

“I’ve seen a lot of cases where ex’s start secetly canoodling again after being reconnected through social media. It might seem like a good idea but things could spiral down real quick,” says Nduku.

Social media tends to surface the best parts of our lives, that’s why it was particularly hard for Irene Jonas and her ex-boyfriend David, to go their separate ways after a breakup.

Contrasting family plans made them end their relationship. A year later Irene was married to someone else, but still remained in touch with David.

“We first stayed in touch via facebook but soon as I got engaged I decided to block him,” she says, adding, “It is not easy to forget all about David. We never fought, we just decided to part ways. After blocking him he kept on calling on my phone but I never answered.”

From Facebook, David started contacting Irene via whatsapp. He’d often comment on her whatsapp status updates. She still ignored him but never bothered to block him. David later made a bold move by sending Irene more than ten photos of their time together as a couple.

“The photos reminded me of our old love and how happy we used to be. I remember texting him back with smile emojis and that is how we started talking until now,” says Irene.

The two meet up for lunch once in a while. However they both agree that it is not right to continue seeing each other despite the fact that they are not dating and don’t have plans to do so.

Rashid Rashid is a relationship expert based in Dar es Salaam, he says Irene and her ex are running a risk of starting an affair due to their constant interaction and considering the fact that their breakup was amicable.

He further says that if you’re still feeling the burn of your breakup, it’s probably too soon for you guys to be connected in any way. It is therefore wise to cease using social media or alternatively you can block your ex online.

“Everyone has their own way of healing after a breakup but keeping your ex active on social media only makes it harder for you to forget the past,” says Rashid.

This year Facebook released data showing that single people who are into each other publicly engage with one another online—much more so than people who are solidly in relationships. This shows the power over relationship that social media has.

Leila Said, 32, a banker agrees that forgetting an ex is never easy. On her part, she only managed to do it after she completely blocked him on every corner of social media.

She says breakups require space to build new life and forget about the past. Her experience with her ex-boyfriend involved physical abuse. In all instances she’d still allow him back in her life because of social media.

“It is just six months since I recovered from social media hangover. My ex is a good guy but cannot control his temper when he drinks. We kept on breaking up and getting back together for the past four years. But now, I will never go back to him,” says Leila.

She adds that someone going through a breakup needs to grieve in peace – without any interruption.

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Saturday, June 16, 2018

DEAR DIARY: The internet remembers



Janet Otieno

Janet Otieno 

By Janet Otieno

Ladies, the internet will indeed remind you about your past. All those things you post online in your moments of anger and craziness might come back to haunt you. This is because internet does not forget.

You might one day delete your social media account altogether but it some creepy fellow might have taken screenshots of it.

Just ask your self this question; will you be happy looking back at what you posted for the whole world to see? Once you have posted a message, you have to remember that history is also being made. Is it something you will like to be remembered about?

Well, it is understandable that internet permeates every facet of modern life and there is nothing wrong about it. By our own conduct and what we share, we create our own persona in public on social media and this can have far reaching implications.

This is why one needs to be extremely careful before laying it bare on the internet. What might have looked exciting to post a few years ago might be a big embarrassment and even devastate your career development and aspirations.

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Saturday, June 16, 2018

THE PUB: Shock as ‘daughter’ confronts her rival

 

By Wa Muyanza

You’re sharing a table with this guy who everybody calls Doctor, and two ladies. Beer is flowing freely.

One of the ladies (call her Enika), a regular here, refers to you as dad. Can’t understand why exactly, but does it matter? In any case, she looks young enough to be your daughter.

The other lady (call her Stella) is also a regular here. Used to run this grocery’s kitchen department before abandoning it two years ago. Rumour has it she failed because she was drinking most of the proceeds instead of ploughing it back into the business. Her husband, it’s said, gave a categorical no to her request to pump in more capital to her venture and, as we say, the rest is history.

Doctor is unusually generous today and, thanks to his wallet, we’ve been treated to an ample serving of roast goat and bananas. Seated between Stella and Enika, Doctor is equally charming to both. Which is okay, you tell yourself, since, in any case, Enika, like Stella, is also somebody’s wife, or so she always says. Doctor must be a close friend to these ladies’ husbands, you tell yourself.

“I’ve a wonderful husband; he doesn’t drink as much as I do, so each of us goes their way, so long as each of us is back home before sunrise,” she normally tells whoever asks her why the hubby never accompanies her for a drink.

Stella’s hubby, it’s rumoured, is a born-again. He’s said to have turned to God wholesomely and kicked the drinking habit after his doctor challenged him to choose between his booze and his life, for his liver was being eaten up by sclerosis, an alcohol-associated disease.

Everything has been okay at our table since you joined it two hours ago. But now, as you return from the gents where you went to empty some of the “Castros” you’ve taken so far, you find that things are no longer at ease. Kimenuka.

Enika is standing up, wagging her finger at Stella as her mouth emits words most of which are beneath printing in this family paper.

“You! You Stella; it’s now clear to me you also like my man, eh? Is there such a scarcity of men that you’ve to want my man? Okay, I’ll let you have him, you…!”

At this moment, Doctor is out of the way, taking a call from across the road since the music here is too loud.

“Hey, my daughter, are you suggesting Stella is dating your husband? That can’t be!” you say.

“It’s not my husband I’m talking about, dad.”

“Who are you taking about then?” you ask.

“I’m talking about Doctor. He’s my man and Stella knows it, yet she’s making moves to steal him from me…is that fair, dad?”

You’ve no answer for that. Tell yourself you’re in the wrong company as you stand up and head for the counter where you pay your part of the bill and leave quickly.

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Saturday, June 16, 2018

ONE MAN'S VIEW: Even small things matter to women

 

By Marete Wa Marete

I have been married for more than two decades but it seems, I still cannot fully understand my spouse. For example, I forget even my own birthday and that of my wifey.

To me, it’s like any other day – am too busy trying to keep bread on the table and in the process, forget that she takes her birthday seriously. Lest you forget, what you consider insignificant is very significant.

All gestures to keep the relationship going must be religiously observed.

When was the last time you bought her a lacy bra or lingerie? I am as guilty as charged when it comes to dispensing affectionate gestures and this is an unhealthy lifestyle.

On average, women remember each of your birthdays and we should reciprocate the gestures. Some men have turned their homes into military training camps – they holler, shout and make their women insecure.

If you feel romantic, say it. Make sure that the woman feels appreciated by dropping your male machismo – it serves no practical purpose. Sometimes it pays when let down your inhibitions and let yourself be childlike.

You might have forgotten how to be one after you’re an adult and especially when you’re a couple.

Being childish together shows that you are comfortable with each other, that you have embraced one another and could be a great reminder why you fell for each other in the first place – a couple who can laugh and play together is a happy one.

Complement, complement and complement a woman

For a hardened man like me, complements are trivia. To any woman, it has the opposite effect – they are wonderful - an instant lift when someone acknowledges a woman in a positive light, especially when it’s coming from someone they love. She feels noticed, appreciated and admired.

Talk positively on their looks, their personality, their positive spirit or whatever else you admire or love about them is something you can’t do too much of

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Saturday, June 16, 2018

THE DIVA: If you’re itching for a relationship, go on a date

 

By Christine Chacha

If you are an avid reader of my columns then you do know that I’ve been single for most of my 20s. I’ve done the “seeing someone” thing for a few weeks and a few months. I’ve had flings that stretch precisely from February 1 to Valentine’s Day just so am not alone during the lover’s day. I’ve had between two and four half-relationships, depending on how you count them. What I haven’t done is a lot of “dating” — going on dates with new people regularly. I used to blame my singledom on the fact that I have a demanding job and and/or my dismissive personality. The truth is: I’m lazy. If you don’t put yourself out there, it is quite literally impossible to meet someone other than your Seamless delivery person.

I feel like I have some perspective on dating now for a very strange reason — my friends share all their relationship issues with me so I vicariously date through them. I have seen all the happiness, madness and in-betweens that comes with relationships. I once took a dating hiatus for almost 2 years and enjoyed being on my own a bit too much. But then I caved in to societal pressure since I thought I was supposed to want a partner. I joined the dating pool with full speed, I even installed tinder, and went on a dating spree every week. I did meet some really excellent men. Some of them were extremely high-caliber when it comes to kindness and emotional availability and for the first time in a long time, I could see myself actually falling for someone.

I want to be incredibly clear about something: You don’t need a relationship to be happy. In fact, going on all of these dates taught me that you might actually be really happy as a single person, even if you complain about not having a partner. I realize that I was complaining about being single without doing anything about it — well, anything other than going on the occasional set-up dates organized by my friends. I would meet a nice person but at some point my independence (and fear of intimacy) came right back to rear their heads and say “NO! he has issues and I would self-sabotage because I am unsure about coupling up.

But that’s just me. I always hear people complain about being single but at the same time are too scared to go out and try other ways of dating like online, set ups or speed dating, If you really do want that dream partner in your life, you must take some sort of action. Your dream school, dream job, or dream apartment didn’t just fall into your lap. So why would your dream relationship? If you want that, you need to put in the work.

One simple way to put yourself out there is to download dating apps and start swiping. Even if you’ve always fantasized about the perfect meet-up in which a prince sweeps you off your feet at a ball or casually bumps you into at a coffee shop let it go. Lasting relationships can stem from any beginning.

If dating apps aren’t your thing, that’s fine (but I’d highly recommend giving them another shot- they are a fun way to meet random people). Instead, next time your aunt or friend offers to set you up, or a friend asks you to go to a singles’ mixer with them, say yes! You will go on bad dates. You will go on good dates. You will go on mediocre dates. You will go on weird and exhilarating and boring and tragic and all of the kinds of dates. But dating is a numbers game, and you will meet someone eventually.

You don’t necessarily need to put yourself out there. It’s cool to stay comfortably single. But if you’re itching for a relationship, stop complaining about it and put in the effort to get what you want. GO ON A DATE.

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Saturday, June 9, 2018

Surviving and thriving as single mothers

 

By Esther Kibakaya

Being a parent isn’t easy, and being a single parent is even harder. Due to various reasons such as divorce, death of a spouse, abandonment and choice, women at any age can become single parents. When this happens, they are faced with a task of raising a family on their own. Woman looks into the lives of women who’ve managed to survive and thrive being single parents, and went on to help others cope with the situation.

Aveline Mallya, 34, went through a torrid experience that led to her pregnancy.

She dated a man whom after evaluation didn’t meet her standards. She later decided to end the relationship. Unfortunately for her, the man didn’t take the news lightly.

According to Aveline, the man she was trying to end the relationship with forced himself on her. Three weeks later Aveline found out she was pregnant.

“I was a bit shocked when I found out I was pregnant; I took the initiative to call my ex and told him the news. The response I received was very negative. He wanted nothing to do with the child, stating that he would never impregnate a woman like me,” she recalls.

After a week the father of the child tried to contact Aveline to apologise, but that is as far as his apology went, he still didn’t want anything to do with the child. This was the beginning of a long journey for Aveline as a single parent.

After some time, the single mother managed to get back on her feet and ventured out. “It was a very difficult time for me but one thing I learnt during my pregnancy was to accept the situation and learn to be happy by having positive prospects about the baby that was growing inside of me,” Aveline says, further adding, “Through acceptance, I managed to focus on a brighter future. As time passed, the idea of being a single mother didn’t seem so scary.”

Today, Aveline is happy to be a mother to a beautiful daughter. How she feels about her child is personified in the name she gave her, ‘Precious’. “She gives me courage to work hard because I know that there is someone in my life who depends on me and has managed to fill a void in my heart,” the proud mother says.

Being a single parent comes with a number of challenges and responsibilities, most of which are not different to those of a married couple.

From coping with sleeplessness nights to paying bills, all these demands are there, however, the major difference here is that a parent would be going through them alone. Despite that, single mothers agree that even when overwhelmed, there’s usually a way to overcome the challenges.

“You can learn to let go or live with hatred all your life,” is what Grace Zenobi, a 31-year-old professional accountant and entrepreneur based in Dar es Salaam, told herself when she and the father of her baby went their separate ways.

“We started a relationship in 2007 while I was still in college, and in 2010 that’s when I gave birth. However, three years later we went our separate ways. If someone is to ask me how or why we were separated, I can’t give them a clear answer because I and the father of my child never had any disagreement whatsoever,” she says.

Even though she gets occasional support from the father of her child, Grace is still tasked with carrying out all parenting duties.

She wishes that the father of her child would be able to be there for his daughter more often. “She misses that fatherly love,” Grace says.

Grace admits that it’s a good thing for a woman to have a husband because society tends to respect women who are married. She however cautions against women who decide to remain in abusive relationships just because they want to remain married.

“Women should learn to value themselves and understand how valuable they are,” Grace says.

She further notes that many women who are now single mothers had different expectations when they started their relationships. “We expect that these men will end up being our husbands but it doesn’t always work that way,” she points.

Acceptance

Grace and Aveline both agree that there are a number of challenges attached to being a single parent. However through accepting the reality you are able to focus on being the best parent you can be, filling the void left by the father of the child.

“I always make sure my child gets all the basic needs a child should get. This can be a challenge because it will require you to work extra-hard and above all to have that inner peace and calmness because if you fail to have that, it means you will start to struggle and you might end up failing as a mother,” she advises.

As a single mother, Aveline understands that it will reach a time when her daughter will want to know her father, but for now she does her best to paint him in a positive image by telling her how much he loves her and that one day they will meet.

One thing Aveline advises other single mothers out there is not to plant seeds of hatred to their children against their father because that can have a very bad effect in the future. “When my child reaches the age of five, I will tell her the truth of what happened so that she can make a choice on whether she wants to spend time with her father because it is her right as his child. I don’t want our misunderstandings to come between her and her father,” she says.

Single mothers organisation

The many challenges that single mothers go through, such as those that Grace and Aveline have endured, have prompted for the initiation of a single mothers organisation. The organisation, a brainchild of an event Grace and Aveline attended 2 years ago that focused on helping single mothers, tackles a number of issues single mothers go through, including the challenges they face when raising children on their own.

They also look for ways they can reach other single mothers living in rural areas.

“During the event we had an opportunity to talk to psychologists on how to cope with the challenges of being single mothers. The term ‘single mother’ isn’t exclusive to only women who are abandoned by men but even the widows.

For instance 90 per cent of my life I was raised by my mother. It’s not that my father had abandoned us, but because he died while I was still very young. As a result I grew up seeing how my mother struggled to raise me and my other four siblings,” explains Aveline, who is a member of the organisation.

During the event, the single mothers saw the need of having a big platform that will bring them together and not just for a short while, but something that will be able to reach out to a large number of single parents, including men in the long run.

“We decided to have our union which has a total of 26 women. Our target is to be able to reach single mothers in rural Tanzania who are struggling more than we are,” Aveline reveals.

One of the struggles that single mothers in rural Tanzania face is lack of education and awareness. They don’t know of their rights and values as human beings. “Some of them believe that once they get pregnant and men abandon them, all dignity is lost. The situation becomes worse in some communities where women are stigmatized for being single mothers,” explains Aveline.

One of the things the organisation wants to teach struggling single mothers, is entrepreneurship, so that they can be able to take care of their children.

Today, the organisation visited Salvation Army orphanage in Mbagala. While there they talked to young girls about motherhood and offered their moral support.

Beneficiary

Esther John, 29, a single mother of two children, is a beneficiary of single mothers group. She was also abandoned when pregnant. Her family was so disappointed in her. She eventually had to leave home and moved in with a friend. She however also had to move out from her friend’s place and started living with her aunty.

After giving birth to her second child Esther went through a very tough period. Thanks to single parents organization, who have become her helping hand ever since she joined the group.

“They’ve supported me financially by helping me cover some hospital bills whenever I and my newborn are admitted to the hospital or when I need to go for clinic,” she says.

Family to the rescue

27-year-old Insurance expert, Anna Richard, got pregnant when she was in college in 2013. Living with her parents at that time, she was petrified over how they’d react upon finding out she became pregnant out of wedlock. Unfortunately for her, the man responsible for her pregnancy didn’t want to hear anything to do with it.

However, her concern over her family’s reaction was far from wrong; they embraced her and gave her the confidence to carry on. She gave birth to a beautiful baby who’s now 4 years old. Anna takes care of all expenses such as school fees and other bills. She says the father of her child doesn’t even know how old the baby is.

Dr. Chris Mauki, a psychologist and relationship expert published on his website, chrismauki.com an article about the health and psychological challenges single mothers face when raising their children. He said it’s true that parenting for a single parent can be a challenge for both parents and their children.

He says researches have shown that there is a high possibility for children raised by single parents to have mental health issues which can result into depression, although these challenges can differ depending on the environment or areas where they live.

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Saturday, June 9, 2018

THE PUB: Yes, hell has no anger like a cheated mama!

 

By Wa Muyanza

At your table are, besides you, three other guys—Mark, Sele and Frank—plus two ladies. We’ve just polished off a huge tray of mchemsho of Kilimanjaro bananas accompanied by a whole kuku wa kienyeji and we’re now busy washing down the meal with drinks, each with their choice brand. If you ask Wa Muyanza, there’s nothing in the Bongo culinary scene to beat bananas from Kilimanjaro (ndizi za Moshi), cooked tender with indigenous chicken; haki ya nani!

With a stomach happily filled, your warm “Castro” Lite is unusually enjoyable. And you can bet it’s the same case with Mark with his Safari Lager, Frank and with his big Serengeti and the ladies with their Savannas. Oh yeah, Savannas.

No formal, comprehensive intros have been done, but, thanks to body language, it soon becomes clear to you one of the ladies (call her Salome) is Mark’s “something” while the other (call her Chiku) is Sele’s. The two, therefore, are shemejis to us guys, for that’s how it goes in Bongo. When a young woman is romantically linked to you, even when the romance is just imaginary, that one, to herself and your friends, is your wife!

Which is to say, we’ve two couples here: Mr and Mrs Mark plus Mr and Mrs Sele. Ha! Ha! Ha! It’s no wonder, that in the Kiswahili media, we’ve so many otherwise intelligent scribes who write of so-and-so’s “mke wa ndoa” (i.e. so-and-so’s wife by marriage)!

Everything goes on well, very well actually; until one of our tablemates, Chiku, grabs her purse and rushes out through one of the many exits of this open air grocery. No goodbye, no excuse me, no nothing!

And she’s so fast that we guys didn’t get the chance to ask: shemeji vipi? Nor did Salome manage to ask: Shoga’ngu kunani? Even Sele didn’t get a chance to ask: wife vipi?

We soon know. Sele’s “wife by marriage” is standing by our table, hissing and puffing! Anatoa povu, we say. It means Chiku, had seen her “co-wife” coming before any of us could. Our genuine sister-in-law, seething with anger, can hardly say anything coherent:

“Sele! You, Sele! You mean, this is the Morogoro you told me yesterday you were travelling to for an official meeting, eh? And that slut who has run away like a thief is the board chairperson who you claim ordered that you travel even when your daughter is admitted to hospital? You! You!”

We are all mum and have problems looking at Mrs Sele. One man’s shame is every other man’s shame, the Waswahili say. And then, in one quick move, our genuine shemeji bends down and in one swift move, she overturns the table. It’s all we can do making sure we don’t end up on the floor together with our beer bottles, mobile phones and Salome’s purse.

Grabbing her husband by the scruff, the enraged woman grabs our poor friend by the scruff and leads him to his car.

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Saturday, June 9, 2018

ONE MAN'S VIEW: When private investigator or DNA testing expertise is needed

 

By Marete Wa Marete

Marriage counseling has always topped the job list of the hot careers. What with many marriages headed for the rocks? Even with fanfare and aplomb that is synonymous with our weddings, very few of those will see to their fifth year. But even if they do, chances are that they will remain wobbly engagements that at a point down the road might end up exploding like a grenade in the hands of a terrorist. I am not a pessimist but lifestyles are today pointing to a time when private investigators and DNA expertise will come in handy – private investigators to help catch men and women literally with their pants down and DNA experts to unravel the mysteries of bastards.

Those who believe in the sacrosanct nature of marriage have every reason to frown about the new developments as far as relationships are concerned. Shockwaves of heart-rending trends are threatening to tear into shreds the very core of our cultural fabric – the marriage sector. And since it is only the married people who know what goes on behind their walls, it is safe to say that the overflows that come to the public notice can only be a tip of the iceberg.

Recent report findings in Kenya as reported by one newspaper point to the fact that DNA tests carried out have shown that a sizeable percentage of the children born claim no paternal relationships with their fathers and may well not go unnoticed. Of course, traditional method of looking at children and merely matching resemblance like a jigsaw is now proven wrong. To me, all children look alike. This may be in Kenya but Kenya and Tanzania share a lot of characteristics including ethnic affiliations. It is safe to believe that the trends are the same. So, do not be surprised when one or two of your children has pointed ears that remind you of a Cheshire cat – like those of your neighbor or friend.

Another report indicates that women have been beating men hands down in their sneaky infidelity. Unlike men who are often crass and careless in their illicit sexual escapades, women know how to cover their tracks. It would take the skill of Mossad or FBI operatives to trail their moves. Well, this is the world we are living in. I am gravely worried by the trends.

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Saturday, June 9, 2018

THE DIVA: There are so many reasons why women cheat

 

By Christine Chacha

The other day I was having a very interesting conversation with a dear friend on why women cheat. This came after we found out a common friend was having an affair yet she had an awesome husband or so we thought. While I was partly shocked about the whole situation my pal was not and went on to tell me that she knows so many married women who are cheating that it does not surprise her anymore. For a long time, infidelity was seen as a man’s game but the landscape for cheating in the last few decades has changed and experts even say women are cheating just as much as men.

When we confronted our friend she was unapologetic saying “I am not cheating to look for love because I still love my husband, I simply want to be satisfied in bed.” She went on to explain her logic adding that if she does not do something to address her sexless marriage, she might end up leaving. “I have tried to talk to my husband about my sexual desires but he brushes me off so it’s either I cheat or break the marriage which means breaking up my family, breaking my children’s hearts, breaking my husband’s heart, and I just don’t need that.” Basically she was cheating to stay married- ironic but you got to admit, she does have a point.

It’s commonly thought that men are not really wired for monogamy while women are more naturally inclined to be content with commitment or exclusiveness. That is why no one is shocked when a man cheats but everyone is appalled when a woman cheats. That is a very archaic thinking because the reality is that women, just like men have sexual urges which when not met will look for satisfaction elsewhere.

Women cheat when they are not satisfied by their men not only when it comes to sexual matters but other issues like emotional and intimacy needs. Gone are the days when women sat at home for the sole purpose of giving sexual gratification to their men, procreation and home care. The modern woman has needs too that she wants met.

There are so many reasons why women cheat but that’s now what I want to talk about. You see cheating is not something to be taken lightly and more so by women. So when you find a woman who is cheating know that her decision is very pragmatic and well thought out. It says a lot about her and the things she values- it’s a well-known fact that if you want to understand what a woman wants, look at her affairs not her relationship.

It’s always been wildly known that women do not cheat for sex rather for emotional needs but it seems the tables have turned. There are so many reasons why women cheat nowadays ranging from boredom, revenge, sexual incompatibility, to spice things to others like low self-esteem.

Although affairs may be considered a moral issue, many times they’re merely a wake-up call, indicators of deeper problems in a relationship or marriage. Most of the times both parties are to blame because it takes two to tango. Unaddressed issues in a relationship have the potential to either kill a relationship or make it stronger it all depends on how they address it. But, too often the moral stigma of infidelity locks couples in a power struggle over right and wrong, rather than fixing the underlying issues that led to the infidelity first.

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Saturday, June 9, 2018

DEAR DIARY: Out of kitchen beauty



Janet Otieno

Janet Otieno 

By Janet Otieno

Do you know that you can get beauty products out of your kitchen? There are many natural beauty products that are hiding right inside your kitchen. From that jar of honey to the can of turmeric to that yoghurt and many more are great products that can be used.

Many times, we believe that spending a lot of money in stores to buy beauty products is the only way to acquire that natural glow.

For instance, did you know that sugar is a great scrub for the face, lips and body? If you think this is a false claim then go and ask a few celebrities what products they use and you will be amazed.

And wait until you discover the power of eggs, it can do wonders to your skin and hair if you try it out.

Another natural cleanser and moisturizer is honey, which is lying idle in your kitchen cabinet.

Even tomatoes work wonders in removing excess oil and tightening the skin.

There are just numerous others that can be used to give your skin that natural glow instead of spending a lot of money to buy artificial ones if you are into nature and its goodness.

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Saturday, June 2, 2018

THE DIVA: Woman, let the man make the first move!

 

By Karimi Gatimi

Call me old school if you must, but I still believe that a man should make the first move in matters of commitment.

Women are brilliant -- they can see the answer to a man’s problems.

We know that his chronic back pain will disappear if he can lead a more active lifestyle, for example taking those long romantic walks with us.

We know his gastritis issues will be a thing of the past if he regularly joined us for our healthy dinners, instead of going out with the boys.

And most importantly, we know that his grouchy mood and cloudy attitude will be a thing of the past if he faithfully stuck to our warm beds.

But despite all this brilliance, women still get into seriously dumb situations.

Take for example: Juma meets Mwajuma, the chemistry is palpable. After a few months of dating, Mwajuma feels that Juma needs a wife. Juma, on the other hand, has not figured this bit yet. In fact, it has not even occurred to him that they are dating. While Mwajuma has edited her contact and now renamed him hubby or bae, Juma’s phone listing for her remains Mwajuma Sinza.

By month four of this relationship, Mwajuma has already moved her basic essentials into Juma’s house – toothbrush, towel, half of her inner wear, clothes and, strangely, a comb. She is blind to the fact that Juma is careful not to leave even his threadbare socks behind when he visits her.

So, she deliberately takes his jacket and keeps it in her closet. She makes a dozen other Delilah moves, including firing his cleaning lady and taking charge of his bachelor pad. Meanwhile, she barely knows his surname. Then she becomes pregnant. This suddenly jolts him out of his stupor. He wants his space. He is not and was never ready for a serious relationship, leave alone a wife and baby; at least not in the near future, he says. She screams murder but he feels caged in, manipulated into something bigger than he ever bargained for.

Choices: From this point, Juma finally takes charge of this situation. It can go a thousand different ways. If he was raised well, he might take responsibility and even hastily, albeit resentfully, arrange to officially make it known that he is now a husband. How that marriage will pan out will be the stuff that thrilling soap operas are made of. There is a responsibility of taking lead in a romantic relationship that we should let the man handle. Period. Stop forcing him, stop manipulating him, and stop taking charge of his life. If he can’t manage his diet, morals and dishes, what makes you think that he can take care of a wife and children? A responsible man will make his intentions clear and follow them with clear and definite actions, such as introducing you to his mother and setting a date to meet your father. He will also be careful about who moves into his space. And most definitely, he will be the one who makes the decision of when and who to ask for their hand in marriage. When you pack and move in with Juma and start calling him your husband, soon enough you will be seeking help from social media. Rushing a man to make a marriage commitment to you only leads to heartbreak. As women, we have the unfortunate propensity to do what the Swahili call shida za kujiletea (looking for problems). We walk into a problem with our eyes wide open.

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Saturday, June 2, 2018

Maintaining good menstrual hygiene

Hyasinta Ntuyeko conducting menstrual hygiene

Hyasinta Ntuyeko conducting menstrual hygiene training for medical students and trainers in Kilimanjaro. PHOTO | SALOME GREGORY 

By Salome Gregory

Menstruation is a term that most of us are familiar with. A woman’s monthly period is a biological process that is out of human control, one which occurs by default. In as much as we address issues of menstruation in a cautious manner, we need to go further and be bolder in highlighting everything that has to do with menstruation.

Menstrual hygiene cannot be over-emphasised. It is fundamental for every woman and girl to understand what entails menstrual hygiene. What really should one do when facing the monthly period?

As the world commemorated the Menstrual Hygiene Day (MHD) themed ‘No More Limits’, on May 28, Woman Magazine has taken focus on highlighting the importance of proper menstrual hygiene practices and breaking the silence on talking about menstruation in our community.

First off, before one can comfortably tackle the hygiene part of menstruation, they need to have access to right information that explains the whole process of how to properly maintain a clean monthly cycle.

Available information from menstrualhygieneday.org shows that, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the World Health Organization (WHO) suggest that it is important to raise awareness and confidence to manage menstruation with safety and dignity. This can partly be done through commemoration of the menstrual hygiene day globally.

Furthermore, it’s suggested that opening up a discussion on the use of safe hygienic materials, together with adequate water and spaces for washing and bathing and disposal of used material, along with privacy and dignity will help in the whole process of maintaining proper hygiene during the monthly cycle.

Access to disposable facilities

Flora Ikanye, 32, a banker, is well aware of the challenges that women face during the monthly cycle. Even though she hasn’t gotten her head around the global commemoration of menstrual hygiene, as a woman, she fully supports the course.

She says, at her work place there’s access to clean water. However soap and disposal facilities are not enough. The latter often get filled up by mid-day.

“Sometimes the disposable facilities in the washroom get filled up real quick, to the point that some women decide to leave used pads out in the open in the ladies washrooms,” she says.

But that’s not the end of the hygiene paradox at her workplace, the banker says that soap, and essential part of the hygiene process, is at times inaccessible in the washrooms.

Hamis Malebo, Principal Research Scientist at the National Institute for Medical Research (NIMR), looks at how inadequate hygiene facilities during the monthly periods affect school-going girls. Commenting on the disposal of used menstrual materials, he says absence of clean and private sanitation facilities that allow for menstrual hygiene discourage girls from attending school when they menstruate.

According to the researcher, every building must have menstrual hygiene infrastructure and facilities such as lockable toilets, closed bin for sanitary item disposal, sink for hand washing and cleaning of clothes.

Adding to that he says, in Tanzania 1 in 10 school-age girls do not attend school during menstruation or drop out of school due to absence of menstrual hygiene infrastructure and facilities.

Juhudi Nyambuka, a health officer with Water, Health, Education and Community Development (WAHECO) in Temeke, says it is important for ladies to keep clean during menstruation. The health officer says cleanliness is one of the ways of keeping their health on track hence enjoy their womanhood.

Changing of sanitary pads

Commenting on how often one should change a sanitary pad, the health officer says this depends on the flow as it differs from one woman to another. However no matter how heavy the flow is, one should change a tampoon after every two hours and a pad should be three to four hours.

“Changing sanitary pads on time helps minimise bad odour and bacterial infection that can be formulated in the blood,” she says, adding that apart from endangering your health you will be very uncomfortable around your colleagues because you will be self-conscious about the stain and the possible smell that can result from it.

Juhudi also touched on the topic of proper disposal of sanitary pads. She says that sanitary towels and other menstrual hygiene materials can have a negative impact on the environment with system blockages or failures that result to problems in sewers or wastewater treatment plants.

She says that the impact is significant because an average woman uses about 125 to 150 kilograms of tampons, napkins, and pads during her lifetime.

Another important facility to have in order to maintain proper menstrual hygiene is adequate number of toilets.

Aisha Abdalla, a primary teacher in Dar es Salaam, says that lack of enough toilets as well as disposable facilities forces them to carry used pads from school and dispose them at home.

She says menstruating at a place that has no proper facilities is never easy. Apart from the mood swings one goes through during menstruation, adding an unfriendly environment doesn’t help with the already uncomfortable situation.

“It takes a strong woman to manage her menstruation period with no stress.

This is a very stressful time and majority of women fall under pressure during their cycle due to the challenges as well as the biological factor that affects a woman during this period,” says Aisha.

She points to the fact that grown up women have a better understanding of how to maintain proper menstrual hygiene even when facilities are non-existent, however, for the younger generation it becomes a bit hard, a situation that leads to wrong disposal of used pads everywhere.

The monthly period has a chain reaction. If a woman is unable to have access to hygienic facilities during that time of the month, her mood swings become heightened. Commenting on that, Dr Julius Twoli, who works at Bagamoyo district hospital, says mood swings are caused by hormonal change in a woman’s body which is responsible for temper variation during, before and after a woman’s period.

Minimising stress during monthly period can help a woman concentrate on maintaining hygienic menses.

The doctor further states that mood swings vary on how they affect women. Some become angry and some even cry for no apparent reason. It is because of the production of the hormone called estrogen.

He further elaborates on the effects of the hormone, by stating that it can result to bloating, cravings, tension, cramps etc and this situation contributes to the amount of mood swings during menstruation period thereby affecting how a woman handles her days.

He lists different ways a woman can soothe the pain through taking a warm bath, hold a hot water bottle or heating pad over the cramp zone, taking gentle exercise, avoid foods with too much sugar as well as drinking warm drinks.

Barriers to proper menstrual hygiene

Hyasintha Ntuyeko is the Director of Kasole Secrets Co. Ltd, a company that produces and distributes Glory Pads but also runs the Hedhi Salama Campaign in schools and communities

She says the menstrual hygiene day is the best platform for addressing the barriers, success and way forward in menstrual matters as a country, while placing a call of action to the government, community, religious and traditional leaders.

“As a country we lack latest researches that will back-up the menstrual agenda especially one that addresses the challenges that women and girls face. However a number of baseline surveys that have been done by different stakeholders across the country cited a lot of barriers that menstruating women/girls are experiencing to be in the form of education, health, water, disposal systems and availability/affordability of menstrual materials,” says Ntuyeko.

So proper menstrual hygiene practices boil down to things such as changing of sanitary pads, good disposal of used pads, washing hands to remove germs, using clean and private washrooms, controlling mood swings, and soothing cramps.

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Saturday, June 9, 2018

THE PUB: Yes, hell has no anger like a cheated mama!

 

By Wa Muyanza

At your table are, besides you, three other guys—Mark, Sele and Frank—plus two ladies. We’ve just polished off a huge tray of mchemsho of Kilimanjaro bananas accompanied by a whole kuku wa kienyeji and we’re now busy washing down the meal with drinks, each with their choice brand. If you ask Wa Muyanza, there’s nothing in the Bongo culinary scene to beat bananas from Kilimanjaro (ndizi za Moshi), cooked tender with indigenous chicken; haki ya nani!

With a stomach happily filled, your warm “Castro” Lite is unusually enjoyable. And you can bet it’s the same case with Mark with his Safari Lager, Frank and with his big Serengeti and the ladies with their Savannas. Oh yeah, Savannas.

No formal, comprehensive intros have been done, but, thanks to body language, it soon becomes clear to you one of the ladies (call her Salome) is Mark’s “something” while the other (call her Chiku) is Sele’s. The two, therefore, are shemejis to us guys, for that’s how it goes in Bongo. When a young woman is romantically linked to you, even when the romance is just imaginary, that one, to herself and your friends, is your wife!

Which is to say, we’ve two couples here: Mr and Mrs Mark plus Mr and Mrs Sele. Ha! Ha! Ha! It’s no wonder, that in the Kiswahili media, we’ve so many otherwise intelligent scribes who write of so-and-so’s “mke wa ndoa” (i.e. so-and-so’s wife by marriage)!

Everything goes on well, very well actually; until one of our tablemates, Chiku, grabs her purse and rushes out through one of the many exits of this open air grocery. No goodbye, no excuse me, no nothing!

And she’s so fast that we guys didn’t get the chance to ask: shemeji vipi? Nor did Salome manage to ask: Shoga’ngu kunani? Even Sele didn’t get a chance to ask: wife vipi?

We soon know. Sele’s “wife by marriage” is standing by our table, hissing and puffing! Anatoa povu, we say. It means Chiku, had seen her “co-wife” coming before any of us could. Our genuine sister-in-law, seething with anger, can hardly say anything coherent:

“Sele! You, Sele! You mean, this is the Morogoro you told me yesterday you were travelling to for an official meeting, eh? And that slut who has run away like a thief is the board chairperson who you claim ordered that you travel even when your daughter is admitted to hospital? You! You!”

We are all mum and have problems looking at Mrs Sele. One man’s shame is every other man’s shame, the Waswahili say. And then, in one quick move, our genuine shemeji bends down and in one swift move, she overturns the table. It’s all we can do making sure we don’t end up on the floor together with our beer bottles, mobile phones and Salome’s purse.

Grabbing her husband by the scruff, the enraged woman grabs our poor friend by the scruff and leads him to his car.

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Saturday, June 2, 2018

THE PUB: You insist on receipt, bargirl not amused!

 

By Wa Muyanza

Cautious drinkers like this Kandeman normally insist on a receipt. Needs to be sure he pays not a cent more than what he owes. Quite clearly, girls at the kind of groceries Wa Muyanza goes for a drink dislike issuing receipts. All they want to is serve you, on and on, and when you tell them you want to leave, they’ll casually say: “You owe me money for three beers…oh, no; five, when you include the two you offered that jamaa over there.” One might think their conduct is about dodging the taxman, far from it. Actually, the girls are least concerned about taxation. They don’t care about it; it’s none of their business. Indeed, your view is, they’re not even aware receipts have something to do with their employers’ obligation to the taxman, to ensure TRA gets its cut. All they know is, the bill is meant to make the patron see what he needs to pay. Seeing the bill in writing enables the drinker to scrutinize things: the number of drinks he has taken and the cash totals—do they match? Now tell that to somebody else, but not Nuru, this barmaid at a popular grocery in your part of town! “Mzee, I’ve clearly told you that you owe me money for two beers, that’s three thousand; and from the kitchen, it’s only two thousand five hundred for the utumbo soup and a chapati,” she says, “now, what do you need a receipt for?” “A receipt is a basic right, I want to have it… anything on a piece of paper, please!” you say. “Okay, if you say so,” she says. As she turns to walk to the counter for the receipt, you ask her to “add you” another small Serengeti. She takes more time than you’d expect. She’s probably doing that to fix you for demanding unnecessary things. Usumbufu! Soon your drink is on the table, plus a receipt. You look at the receipt as she opens your beer. Your bill adds up to seven thou. Very good, you say to yourself, you give a ten-thousand shillings note and she turns around to leave. “Hey, Nuru! How about my change?” you say. “I will bring it, don’t worry, mzee,” she says and walks away fast, most likely to avoid a lecture on the importance of customers’ change. You soon finish your beer and should be leaving, but, of course, not without your change, a whole three thou! But Nuru is clearly not in a hurry with your change, for she’s busy serving other customers as you sit here idly. Luckily, you’re carrying a newspaper to while away time meaningfully. Your patience soon wears off and you shout for her attention. She’s some four tables away. She walks to you gingerly, taking her time. Then she extracts your change from her purse and hands it over to you—without a word—and walks away. Real customer care, this! You say to yourself as you stand up to leave.

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Saturday, June 2, 2018

DEAR DIARY: Let’s talk about menses

 

By Janet Otieno

It is time to talk about menstrual hygiene. We have always talked about making sanitary towels accessible to young girls and all the women but today we are talking about something else. It is time to have some conversation about how older women should take care of their menstrual hygiene. Some women do not know that wearing a sanitary towel without changing it for a long period of time might cause health issues. Well they say, it depends on how heavy the flow is but it doesn’t matter even if you have lesser flow, pads need to be changed at intervals. Medical experts say that one should avoid using one pad for more than 3 top four hours as it can become a breeding ground for bacteria. This could end up leading to urinary infections, vaginal infections or even rashes. Tampons on the other hand should be changed every two hours And also remember to wash your hands before and after changing your pads as the toilet doors that you touch also habour germs . It is also advisable to use one method of sanitation at a time. To avoid accidents in your workplace, always walk with a piece of pad in your handbag wherever you go especially for those with irregular periods. Finally remember to drink plenty of water and take a good bath.

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Saturday, June 2, 2018

ONE MAN'S VIEW: Man, you are not a mat, put down your foot firmly

 

By Marete Wa Marete

Over the years, I have known men who yodel, crawl, grovel, snivel and do what puppies do best - if only to please their women. They are whipped men who if left at home will mop the floor, wash the dishes and do the laundry. They will change diapers with no qualms. These emasculated men no longer find time to hang out for a beer with buddies but will literally run home to their women. They unabashedly watch those lousy Brazilian or Philippines soap operas instead of a football match – they have lost the manly thing – they are in dire need for resuscitation. This cadre of men has been suckered into emasculating obedience to female whims and find it as normal as breathing. Depending on kind of a woman that they have landed (some women find a lot of fun riding on a man’s back), the situations vary. Someone out there might be tempted to say that a man’s authority ended with women lib of the yesteryears but that is not so. A real man knows the boundaries. In Tanzanian (African) context, a man who succumbs to acts of self-effacement is deemed to have been fed with tons of limbwata (love potion) that emasculates them to the level of an animal. Of course, while I may not agree with limbwata narrative, there is always the need for a man not to perpetuate the image of women as their domestic guardian angels but as partners instead. In other words do not allow a woman to walk all over you emotionally, mentally, and in certain extremes, physically (in the case of weaklings). Never trade your manhood and your own happiness for what you perceive to be the greater good of your girlfriend or wife’s happiness if it is unidirectional. Be a leader in your relationship!

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Thursday, May 31, 2018

#Tunaweza: Together we can tame gender violence in the country

Mogu Street chairman in Kipawa, Temeke Distroct

Mogu Street chairman in Kipawa, Temeke Distroct in Dar es Salaam, George Mtambalike (left) and Faraja Komba from the Gender and Children Desk at Mwanza Police Station. PHOTO | FILE 

By Jafari Juma, The Citizen news@thecitizen.co.tz

A five years campaign dubbed Tunaweza, aimed at sensitizing the communities to eradicate all forms of abuse against women in Tanzania. The campaign targets to build a community in which people are sensitive to gender based violence.

A group of people identifying themselves under the banner people who are ready to bring changes (Wanamabadiliko) alongside friendly institutions, are the major implementers of the campaigns.  The campaigns seeks to help people change their behavior towards women abuse.

A person who aspires to bring changes is any person, a man or woman, a boy or a girl, who is committed to change his or her behavior on the women abuse practices.

To show the commitment, he or she should be able to encourage ten or more people to willingly change their behaviours on women abuse. Wanamabadiliko can work as a group of as individuals.

Major functions of Wanamabadiliko include to identify four major abuses against women (emotionally, economically, gender and physically), sensitize people near him to change their conducts on women abuse.

They should also think together with the community in various forums on norms and traditions which helps women to take actions once they encounter abuse. Such forums include schools, social meetings, health centres and street leadership. Mwanamabadiliko should be bold enough with firm stand in defending and resist abuse against women.

Beatrice Mkenda

Beatrice Mkenda is a student at Bwiru Secondary School in Ilemela District, Mwanza Region. She narrates how they participate in fighting gender based violence as a result of training she received through Tunaweza campaign.

“There are main four types of gender violence; there is sex abuse, economic abuse, psychological and physical abuse,” says Beatrice.

Beatrice says the training through Tunaweza campaign has shaped her into a poison who knows and understands how to defend herself when demanding for her rights. She says the training has equipped her with skills on how to live with her colleagues jovially.

“There are times when, we as young people, were committing abuse against one another without knowing it,” she says.

Beatrice is grateful after being trained on gender based violence and she promised to spread the education in her community. “There are many communities in which women are still being looked down. This education will help us to stand and defend them,” she says.

Beatrice says she will start to defend women vigorously and if she cannot do it she will persuade the victims to report the abuse at gender desks established in Police Stations for further assistance.

“When you receive training and use it to deal with the situation is when people regard you as a wise person,” says Beatrice adding that development can be attained by a community which lives amicably, free of any form of abuses.

Janeth Mawinza

“Tunaweza campaign has changed me tremendously,” narrates Janeth Mawinza, a resident of Dar es Salaam. “My children, my grandchildren and the community around me now live in peace because of the campaign.”

Janeth, a mother, says through the training she received, she has witnessed a lot of changes personally, in her family and in the community in general. “When I witness abuse, I immediately take actions,” she says.

“People in my family have also changed. They have been pushing forward the campaign everywhere they go after I joined Wanamabadiliko,” says Janeth.

Janeth insists that in order to succeed in eradicating any form of abuse, the entire community should be committed. “Every person has a responsibility to stop gender violence,” says Janeth.

“Women are special people in the community. Communities rely on women in many issues,” she says adding that for the nation to attain its development dreams, women should not be left behind and their contributions should be recognized and valued.

Janeth says to defend women rights is not easy and it needs seriousness and analysis of abuse which a woman go through. 

“Every person should use opportunity where he or she is, he or she should use his or her position, age and everything at his or her disposal to safeguard and defend a woman,” she says.

George Mtambalike

George Mtambalike is a chairman at Mogu Street in Kipawa in Temeke District in Dar es Salaam.

George says after people received training through Tunaweza campaign, many have changed and promised to do away with their old perceptions and habits of abusing women. “Understanding gender issues within the community has expanded and many women are now conscious of their rights,” he says

He notes that in his community women are now involved in decision making especially on loans issues. “As a result of these changes, now women are respected and they enjoy their rights.”

George is of opinion that issues on women rights including right to own land and gender violence should be made part of curricular so that they can be taught from primary schools all the way to universities. “This will help in building a community which clear and common understanding of these issues.”

Gender and Children Desk

Betinisimbo Shija says among challenges they face as gender and children desk include delay in reporting abuses occurring in the societies as well as lack of cooperation from members of the community. “When you visit a crime scene you can hardly get evidence which will enable you to make a follow up of the case.”

Faraja Komba from Mwanza Police Station gender and Children desk says the desk deal with all cases on abuses quickly and in privacy.  She says they use a special register to record and catalogue all abuse cases around the year.

Prisca Komba from gender and Children Desk in Dar es Salaam lists challenges they face as a tendency of people colluding after the case has been filed and disappear. “You file a case properly, you send it to court but when you reach out to the victim to go and testify, you don’t get her,” she says.

Komba says in other incidents, the victim and the suspect settler the issue and the victim is paid. But she asks the community to take into consideration permanent effect which victims of gender abuse surfer.

Inspector Komba urges people who file gender abuse cases to continue with the cases until justice is done.

Rehema Mayuya

“Before I experienced Tunaweza campaign, I was constantly subjected to certain habits but I was not aware that such habits were abusive to me,” says Rehema Mayuya, a campaigner from Dar es Salaam.

Rehema narrates that in the past she was beaten by her husband who also took their plots. “He took all plots and he hidden the title deeds,” she says.

Rehema says after joining the Tunaweza campaign in 2013 she has been exposed to knowledge on her rights as a citizen of Tanzania. “This campaign has changed me. Who I was before is different person from who I am now,” she says.

“Abuse should be rebuked. As a woman I must stand and fight to defend my rights and rights of fellow women who go through gender abuse,” she adds.

Elizabeth Frank

Elizabeth Frank is a student at Lumala Secondary School in Mwanza. She says step parents were the people who mainly abuse their children or wives. Children are denied food and are occasionally beaten by step parents.

“This is abuse which should not be tolerated,” says Elizabeth.

“In schools there are times when teachers who seduce students. The student has nowhere to report,” she says adding: “Boys also abuse girls because they know that they are muscular than girls.” 

Elizabeth elaborates that there are times when girls are threatened by boys to percent them from reporting the abuses to teachers. “When you report the boys follow you home or attack you on your way and beat you,” she says.

After being trained through Tunaweza campaign, Elizabeth says she has changed as she now knows her rights and knows the importance of reporting abuses in relevant organs.

Neofita Kunambi

“I hate gender abuses,” says Neofita Kunambi, a businessperson resident of Dar es Salaam.

Neofita joined the group of the campaigners and she deals with defending rights of women and children.

She narrates how she has participated in various abuse cases including taking to police station a woman who slashed her child using a razor blade. “I took that women to gender and children desk at the police station, later the case was sent to Social Welfare before she was prosecuted in Sinza, where she was warned.”

“The campaign has changed me to the extent that now I do not tolerate any form of abuse to children or woman,” says Neofita.

Neofita urges the communities to stand firm and report all incidents of abuse in relevant organs so that appropriate actions could be taken.

Pamela Kijazi

“Many abuse incidents are not reported. People in the community turn a blind face and neglect them,” says Pamela Kijazi, Community Development officer in Ilemela Division in Mwanza.

Pamela says many abuse incidents which occur in communities end up being discussed at family level where they are being resolved. “For instance a girl might be impregnated, but the family sits and agree that the issue should be concluded,” says Pamela.

Pamela says Tunaweza campaign has helped the communities to have wider understanding on gender violence and abuse and that “people have started to report abuses.”

Pamela says the Council work very hard in accordance with the prevailing Policies and laws including Children Act of 2009, National Education Policy etc. “We collaborate with stakeholders such as Police to make sure that all abuse incidents are reported.”

Pamela advises relevant organs dealing with gender violence to work together so as to have tangible results in the fight against gender violence. She says such organs include Community Welfare.

She has also appealed to the community to report abuses to these relevant organs as that was important step in fighting the abuses. “I ask people to raise their voices against gender violence.”

Fatma Hussein

Fatma Hussein is a student at Bwiru Girls Secondary School in Ilemela in Mwanza. She is part of the campaigners who was trained on gender violence through Tunaweza campaign.

Fatma says Tunaweza campaign has helped her to recognize different forms of abuse including physical abuses some of which are meted as punishment in schools such as flogging. “Strokes which have no count is physical abuse to that child and this lead to poor performance by many students,” says Fatma.

Elaborating, Fatma says abuse is something done to a person against the law and its effects are immense. Fatma also notes that there were many forms of abuses include sexual violence, physical abuse, psychological abuse and economic abuses.

“Tunaweza campaign has helped me to change and start fighting all forms of abuses.”

Fatma says in collaboration with fellow students they talked to their teachers and managed to persuade them to reduce number of strokes they met to students leading to many students perform well in their studies.

“For long time students have been subjected to physical abuse in schools without knowing it,” adds Fatma.

Fatma advises all people subjected to abuses to immediately report such incidents in relevant bodies.

Metrida Shija

“Many students did not know what abuse entails. As a result they were subjected to many incidents which they were doing among themselves without knowing that they amounted to gender abuse which hurts other people,” says Metrida Shija, a headmistress at Bwiru Girls Secondary School in Ilemela District, Mwanza region.

Metrida says many students have been subjected to abuses and they accept them as normal without knowing that it was abuse against their rights. “There are other issues which they practiced without knowing that they were perpetrating abuse. Or instance, many girls were absconding after being persuaded by boys,” says Metrida.

Metrida says Tunaweza campaign has helped teachers and students to understand many issues on gender violence which they took for granted.

She says; “Earlier, girls regarded as normal when a boy persuade one of them using money but after being trained through Tunaweza campaign girls now appreciate that this was detriment to their performance in school.”

“I urge the government to intervene to ensure that this educatuon is issued everywhere. Communities should be made to understand what entails abuse,” says Metrida.

Metrida insists on the importance of educating the communities, from the family level. “There are some families in which a girl there is a certain age when she is supposed to be married and if she does not work hard, she will end up without being married.”

Visit https://tanzania.oxfam.orgfor more information about the Tunaweza campaign. 

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Saturday, May 19, 2018

How Markle redefined royalty

 

By Mpoki Thomson mthomson@tz.nationmedia.com

It’s every woman’s fairytale to marry a Prince and live like a Princess. Meghan Markle, a retired American actress best known for her role in the American legal drama television series ‘Suits’ will today marry into royalty at Windsor Castle in England. Markle will be the second American and the first person of mixed race heritage to marry into the British royal family.

This is not your average wedding, today; millions of people across the world, a sizeable number living here in Tanzania will be glued to their screens watching history being made.

Questions are being asked about what time the wedding will be broadcast locally and on what channel.

One thing is for certain; the royal wedding has attracted a lot of media attention and will be televised in different parts of the world. In Tanzania, a few hotels are offering packages for guests to watch the live broadcast of the ceremony. Hyatt Regency Dar es Salaam, The Kilimanjaro, one of Tanzania’s most popular hotels will televise the royal wedding during an afternoon tea party at the hotel’s Palm tree Coffee shop. Dress code for the event is ‘UK Royal hats’. “We’ve received great responses from guests who are eagerly waiting for the big day,” says Lilian Kisasa, the hotel’s Marketing Manager.

While a hotel in Tanzania charges Sh35,000 per person attending the live broadcast of the royal wedding, in neighbouring Kenya it has been widely reported that a Kenyan hotel is charging couples up to $10,000 (about Sh22million) for a package to watch the televised proceedings of Britain’s royal wedding today.

A poster of the event dubbed “A Royal Wedding Celebration” informed guests to dress in their “finest wedding guest attire” to the viewing party at the Windsor Golf Hotel and Country Club in Nairobi.

Narindwa Msongole, an office administrator at a local law firm in Dar, says she’s super excited about the royal wedding. “I’m a fan of Meghan Markle, I’ve been her fan ever since she was on Suits,” she says. Narindwa is up-to-speed on the date and time of the live broadcast of the royal wedding.

About the bride

Born and raised in Los Angeles California in 1981, Markle, 36, attended Northwestern University, where she attained a degree in theatre and international studies in 2003. Her acting career has seen her play small roles in several American television series.

Her credits on screen include roles in movies such as Remember Me, Get Him to the Greek and Horrible Bosses. What attracted her onscreen persona to the public is her top notch portrayal of Rachel Zane in Suits. In the series which started airing in 2011, her character, unlike most that we normally see in series of such genre, was both quirky and smart. Markle played the role up until her engagement to Prince Harry, when she officially retired from acting.

But even as social media has been super excited that an African-American woman will be part of the royal family, Markle’s rise to the top wasn’t set on a silver platter.

The now-so-famous American sweetheart didn’t have it all easy in Hollywood when she first started. She had to work as a freelance calligrapher to support herself between early acting jobs. Being a woman of mixed race, she found it difficult aligning to one side of the race. In a 2015 essay for Elle UK, she wrote: “I wasn’t black enough for the black roles and I wasn’t white enough for the white ones, leaving me somewhere in the middle as the ethnic chameleon who couldn’t book a job.”

Just like her soon-to-be husband, Markle was also a child of divorce. Her father, Thomas Markle, and her mother, Doria Ragland, split when she was young.

It’s only after her relationship with Prince Harry was publicized, that Markle was on everyone’s search engine. Throughout her career in Hollywood, she managed to remain under wraps and avoided to have any bad publicity for tabloids to feed on.

For those obsessed with staying up-to-date with the royal family, Markle’s addition to British royal family provides that perfect diverse appeal. However, due to the status of the royal family, Markle has had to cut ties with social media. She closed her blog ‘The Tig’ that focused on lifestyle and fashion and also deactivated her instagram account.

The known feminist who advocates for women rights will have to tone down her rhetoric on different worldly views now that she’s part of the royal family.

First marriage

It is due to her reserved lifestyle that many people, mostly those outside the US might be surprised to learn that Markle was once married. Her marriage to Prince Harry will be her second time down the aisle.

Back in 2004, she started a relationship with actor and producer Trevor Engelson. They got married in 2011, and divorced in 2013.

Dating the Prince

Markle and Prince Harry managed to keep their relationship under the radar for a while. But soon as a whiff of suspicion was raised, onslaughts of insults targeting Markle prompted the royal family to issue a statement through the family’s communications secretary addressing the “wave of abuse and harassment” directed toward Markle.

The couple met on a blind date that a mutual friend set up. They started dating in June 2016, their relationship became public in October 2016, and on November the same year the royal family had to make a public announcement regarding the rumoured relationship.

Just like her choice of lifestyle, Markle’s engagement to Prince Harry was very simple. He proposed to her while they were enjoying a cozy night at home, trying to roast a chicken for dinner.

Markle’s Dad missing the wedding

As exciting as the weeks leading up to the royal wedding have been, it has equally been a turbulent time for Markle’s family. Apart from having feuds and conflicting preferences with some of her family members such as her half-brother and sister, there’s also been the issue with her Dad, Thomas Markle.

Thomas Markle Sr, 73, was subject to public humiliation after it was revealed that the photos published by a number of media outlets of him getting measured for his wedding suit, while reading a book on British history, working out with weights in a park, and looking up reports about his daughter’s wedding in an internet café were staged. CCTV footage later showed Mr Markle and the photographer entering the café together.

Later reports started circulating that Mr Markle would not attend the royal wedding at Windsor Castle. He however changed his mind and decided he’d walk his daughter down the aisle. However, latest reports came in and it was said that Meghan Markle’s father will not attend the wedding because he had a scheduled heart surgery on Wednesday this week.

As the world today witnesses history being made, this wedding will be written in history books as one of the most anticipated weddings ever. Be it in Europe, Asia, or Africa, millions of people have been following the royal couple ever since their relationship was made public.

In Tanzania, a country that’s known in the digital world for its rise in the use of the social media site instagram, the royal wedding is being keenly followed by a number of people. Just like local socialites such as Wema Sepetu, Jacqueline Wolper, Hamisa Mobeto have constantly stayed on the radar for their social media engagements, it is no surprise that the royal wedding has found some relevance in an African nation.

Also, there’s no denying that the British royal family loves visiting Africa. They’ve visited countries such as Lesotho, Botswana, Senegal, South Africa, Angola, Egypt, Kenya, and Nigeria.

Prince Harry’s older brother, Prince William, proposed to Kate Middleton during a getaway at a log cabin in the shadow of Mount Kenya. Prince Harry and Markle have also visited Africa together. They traveled to Botswana together, and even though Harry didn’t propose to Markle in the African nation, he still made Botswana a big part of his love story by giving Markle an engagement ring that features a diamond from Botswana. Markle described her ring as the perfect representation of their time there. “It’s incredibly special to be able to have this, which sort of links where you come from and Botswana, which is important to us,” she told CNN.

East Africa in general was colonized by the British, and to date some countries such as Kenya still maintain close ties to the monarchy.

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Saturday, May 19, 2018

DEAR DIARY: The royal wedding

 

By Janet Otieno Prospa

Some people might not understand this enthusiasm that surrounds the royal wedding. One might even ask why a country like Tanzania finds this ceremony of any interest. History books trace the roots of our political, social and geographical development back to colonial days. Days filled with foreign influence from the British.

Even after 50+ years of political independence, we can’t help but keep an eye on the British monarchy. Harry and Markle’s wedding is relevant to us as members of the commonwealth.

To-date we still keep ties with Britain be they economic or simply social. The royal family has traveled to Africa a number of times and each time they’ve left a mark on the continent.

Today the world celebrates a union of two people who represent different ethnicities and cultures. In Prince Harry we have a man who’s been brought up under the royal umbrella. His whole life has been surrounded by royal formalities. In Markle we have a mixed-race woman from the US whose life, prior to the royal engagement, was filled with Hollywood glitz and glamour.

Together these two represent diversity. As they enter into matrimonial ties, we can only wish them the very best in their marriage.

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Saturday, May 19, 2018

THE DIVA: Why I will never buy anything online ever again

 

By Caroline Njung’e

I am generally a Doubting Thomas, one of those people who actually have to see to believe. And not just see, I also insist on touching to ascertain that what my eye is seeing is actually there, that it is not a mirage. I also insist on testing the product before I buy it, besides asking a bucketful of trying questions.

I am such a die-hard sceptic, I had never bought anything online until recently, even though that is the route the world has taken, the argument being that online shopping not only saves you time and money, it also delivers the globe to your doorstep at the click of a button.

Anyway, a few weeks ago, against my better judgement I must say, I bought some water glasses online.

It all started with a relative who is familiar with the contents of my kitchen cabinet sending me photos of glasses on WhatsApp accompanied by a message that read, “Can you believe that 12 of these are going for just 1K?!”

Well, I couldn’t believe it because the glasses looked like something The Queen would have on her dining table, all delicate and slim with an elegant, expensive-looking cut.

The Doubting Thomas side of me typed, “Are you sure?” This relative assured me that the glasses were legit, that if I had 1,000 bob with me, they would be delivered to me that same day.

“Si you know, you remember you don’t have enough glasses when you get visitors?” She commented before going ahead to forward me a link to a website, saying that the company selling the glasses had other designs I could consider, if the one she sent me had not impressed me.

Still unconvinced, I clicked on the link, which, sure enough, revealed glossy photos of various household items on sale, including glasses.

I scrolled through and eventually settled on the set she had sent me. Even though an inner voice was screaming “Don’t!” repeatedly, I dialled the number at the bottom of the website and ordered the glasses, which I was assured would be delivered within the hour.

Forty-five minutes later, the delivery person informed me that she was outside the Nation Centre. I knew that I would not get what I had seen on the website immediately she handed me the package — the glasses were so heavy I almost toppled over.

Obviously, there was nothing delicate about the contents, and I was pretty sure that the glasses I was struggling to hold on to would never have gone anywhere near The Queen’s palace, leave alone her table.

Swallowing my trepidation, I handed the young woman Sh1,000 and took the package with me to the office. I gingerly unwrapped the glasses, only to be confronted by what can only be described as 12 very distant cousins of the glasses I had seen online.

Ladies and gentlemen, I was the proud owner of 12 dangerous weapons. I call them that because they are so heavy, if I smashed one on your head, you’d immediately keel over and die.

As you can imagine, there was also nothing elegant about the cut, what I was looking at were 12 functional heavy-duty glasses manufactured with tear and wear in mind, glasses that would easily survive a hurricane.

Nothing short of a miracle will convince me to buy anything online again, not even a handkerchief.

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Saturday, May 19, 2018

ONE MAN'S VIEW: When other people know us better

 

By Chris Hart

Have you noticed how good shop assistants always seem to know what you’re going to buy? That’s because they’re skilled at spotting the unconscious signals that show your intentions. Even though you’re completely unaware of them.

That also happens when you’re dating. Like no matter what you say about the people around you, your body language shows who really turns you on. So they’re the only ones who approach you. Or how your friends can see that your relationship’s over, long before you do. They’ve spotted the signs that say you’re falling out of love.

That isn’t as odd as it sounds. Because feelings like that are all entirely subconscious. They leak out as unconscious signals, but you only become aware of them as you put them into effect. So brain scanners can predict your plans, several seconds before that little ‘voice’ in your head knows anything about it. And the people around you constantly pick up those unconscious signals. So they often have a better idea of what you’re feeling than you do.

Especially as sometimes you’re completely unaware that you’re making a decision in your subconscious.

So for example, you probably don’t know why you choose what you wear when you go out. Like a woman who’s going clubbing without her regular partner, tends to wear more revealing clothing on her fertile days. The rest of the time, she dresses more modestly!

She’s also far more likely to have an affair when she’s ovulating. And if she does, she’ll choose a more masculine man as a partner. Her regular partner’s subconsciously tuned into all this, of course, so he tends to be more attentive around that time. What he’s really doing is making sure she’s not out on the town!

There are other reasons why our friends understand us better than we do ourselves. Like we pay more attention to feelings that reinforce our self-image, rather than those that conflict with it. So if you’re shy, for example, you’ll quickly forget how much fun you had at a party, and focus instead on your anxieties.

Your conscious mind also makes up stories to explain why you made a particular decision, even though it doesn’t actually know the real reason.

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Saturday, May 19, 2018

THE PUB: Dar rains mess us up

 

By Wa Muyanza

Downpours in Dar don’t make news any longer and it’s thanks to our Creator that they aren’t killing anyone nowadays as they used to kill in the past. We’ve learnt how to perch ourselves on the rooftops and treetops to remain safe! Or flee our endangered houses altogether—and return when the rains have gone away!

Motorists quickly abandon their cars and waddle to safety before their machines are all swallowed up…or dragged towards the Indian Ocean by speeding waters. “Gari kitu gani? Uhai wangu kwanza!” one car owner was heard saying as he settled for a beer in a roadside bar.

The man had just watched his saloon, which he had just escaped from, being swept away after he miraculously pulled himself out. The engine of his newly bought mtumba Toyota conked when it was just a couple of feet from the bank of a just-created river that was swelling rapidly.

As we partake of our drinks, the talk is on the ongoing rains messing up everybody and everywhere. Some houses, including those in the so-called planned areas, have been rendered unreachable by vehicles, including the normally unbeatable mashangingi. Commercial parking yards we call “Eneo la CCM” or simply, “CCM”, are doing good business—that is, when they too aren’t waterlogged and rendered unreachable.

“We’re paying the price of poor planning and underdeveloped infrastructure,” says a drinker at our table of four (today you missed a spot at the counter, which drinkers consider safer and a little comfortable, for there you escape the torture of having a drink with your feet ankle deep into water that at times fills the drinking arena).

Another drinker (call him Hatibu) agrees, but notes that it’s not the government alone which is to blame. “You see, even when the government constructs drainage systems, we clog them by converting them into garbage dumps,” says Hatibu. He’s right, you say to yourself.

Another drinker talks of violation of land development regulations. The man—call him Freddy— gives the example of Mbezi Beach, where only the affluent live. “This is a surveyed area where only the cream of Bongo’s elite can afford, but look at what they’ve done?” he poses.

“What have they done?” you ask, for much as you’ve an idea of what he’s lamenting about, you let him explain. It’s his story.

“They’ve ignored the plans and, like in most of Dar’s surveyed areas, Mbezi Beach has degenerated into a slum, an up-market slum,” charges Freddy.

He talks of open spaces that have been grabbed; two or even three medium density plots that some greedy developers have fenced as one, blocking ways through which floods would find their way to the sea… Properties neighbouring such stupidity get flooded, with water finding their way through the windows!

“And strangely, among such greedy developers are our most educated compatriots,” concludes Freddy

“Educated? Educated my foot!” spits this tablemate seated next to you. You understand.

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Saturday, May 12, 2018

Make Mother’s Day special for your mom

 

By Esther Kibakaya ekibakaya@tz.nationmedi

Tomorrow is Mother’s Day, a day which honours mothers as well as motherhood, maternal bonds and the influence of mothers in our societies. This day is celebrated in different countries and it gives many people a chance to show their appreciation towards their mothers in diverse ways.

Mother’s day is a special occasion not only for the mothers but also for the children. Children put lots of efforts to make this day a celebration for the most special person in their lives – the one who has not only raised them to be better people of today but the one who has stood by them through thick and thin. Though simple words and gestures like hugs is what our mothers find most special –there’s always room for that ‘extra’ thing to complement the affection we have for our mums. Then why not surprise her with something unusual.

In Tanzania, we have an abundance of ways you can make this day special for your mum. Woman magazine has compiled a list of tips on how you can your surprise your ‘superwoman’ on mother’s day.

Spend some quality time with your mother: Ever since she gave birth to her three daughters seven years ago, Angel Dominic admits that motherhood has completely changed how she sees and values her mother. “There is this love and appreciation for my mother that erupted after I too became a mother. I’m not saying I didn’t love my mother at all but, going through the same experience she had of being a parent taught me so much of what my mother had to go through for me and my siblings to be where we are today,” she says.

As a result, for the last four years, Angel and her siblings have been celebrating Mother’s day in a special way by going to their mother’s house and spending quality time with her. “We try our best to make her feel like a queen on that special day. We cook for her nice food and most importantly tell her how much we love her and appreciate everything she has done and continues to do for us,” she says.

Choose a thoughtful gift: This is also one of the things you can do to make your mother feel loved on this special day. The best thing to do to make or come up with the right choice of gift is to figure out what are some of her favourite things or what does she like to do most. This will show her that you know her well and you thought of her on this special day.

“If you are not sure of what to get her, there is no harm in asking around to get an idea on what to buy her. Family photo for instance, can also be a good idea of a gift. Having family members in one photo with her can be a good gift that will remind her of how blessed and loved she is,” explains Joanita Gabriel, a gift shop owner based in Msasani.

Buy her flowers: Flowers make your day and it is such a thoughtful gesture to gift anyone. What better occasion than mother’s day to put a smile on your superwoman. These flower shops are just a phone call away:

1. Al’s Flora

Al’s Flora is a floral shop headquartered in Arusha and they offer a variety of bouquets to choose from. Alice, the owner, is passionate about what she does and this translates into her customer service over a phone call. The online floral service offers not only a variety of flowers to choose from but also arrangement and door step delivery. My preferred pick was a mixed bouquet in a bowl vase. You can check their Instagram page ‘@alsflora’ for more details.

2. Petals and leaves

Petals and leaves is a flower shop based in Dar es Salaam in the city centre. With the choices of fresh and dried flowers, one cannot leave the shop empty handed. You can learn more about them through their Facebook page ‘petals and leaves – Dar es salaam’.

3. Little roses

Little roses, a floral shop based in Arusha, is a phone call away. They are the best judge when it comes to what you want according to your pocket size. Their friendly and quick responses will get you your bouquet delivered on time and at the door-step. You can get in touch with them through their facebook page – ‘little roses’.

Pamper her: Most of our mothers have worked tirelessly and are often times left with little or no time to take care of their looks. This day can be perfect to pamper your mother if you have some money to spend.

There’s a saying that goes, ‘nothing a massage can’t fix’. A spa time is what our mothers need – to relax and to rejuvenate. Instyle saloon based in Dar es Salaam’s city centre has Mother’s Day offer up for grabs. From their herbal ball compress body massages to their papaya hair spa – they have packages for all treatments and services.

“If you can’t afford that you can choose a simple treat at a salon where she or both of you (together) can get manicure, pedicure and makeover,” explains Zuhura Mohamed, a self-employed makeup artist.

She further explains that if one has run out of budget they can make a decision to pamper their mom at home by buying her a nice face mask and other beauty products to make her feel beautiful and loved.

Take her out for a nice dinner: Harold Clement and his two sisters lost their father 15 years ago. Their widowed mother then took both the role as a father and mother to raise them. Today, the three of them are married with children. They appreciate the sacrifices their mother made to ensure that they become who they are today.

“We always take our time to show our mother how much we love her and appreciate what she has done for us to be who we are today. I think we always try our best to make everyday a mother’s day for our mother,” explains Harold.

However, to make it a more special day he and his siblings have always come up with a different plan to celebrate their mother’s day. “We try to spend time with our mother away from home. Last year we took her to a National park, this year we plan to take her for a special dinner where she can eat and enjoy herself with her children and grandchildren. So when someone asks me for the best ideas to do on mother’s day, I would say go out to some place nice to have fun with your mother.

There are hundreds of restaurants in the city that have special meal offers on Mother’s Day. You can make arrangements for your mother on the special day. Restaurants such as Akemi, Southern Sun, Coral ridge spur all have special offers on Mother’s Day.

Gift hamper is another great idea to surprise your mother. Since it is a last-minute thing, you don’t want to go hip-hopping places assembling your mother’s favourites. Step into Confetti Tz, a gift shop located in Msasani, Dar es Salaam where they have customised gift items for this special day. Pick and Mix gift items are available for Mother’s Day at their store and plenty others for grabs.

Make contact: The single most important thing to do on Mother’s Day is to let your mother know that you love and appreciate her. If you can’t be there in person to celebrate your mom, give her a call.

If you’re living overseas or upcountry, you can send a card, but a phone call is even more important. If you have Internet connection and a computer, phone, or tablet with a camera, you can even video chat with your mother.

Sakina Shabbir Dossaji, a renowned poet from Tanga, is grateful for all that her mother has done for her. She attributes her success today to her mother. “At 40, a mother of 3 teenage kids and a fulltime working mother, all that I am, and what my children are, I owe it to my precious mother. A mother whom I call an Angel who has moulded me into what I am today. My morning is perfumed by her good morning messages and flower pics, I love her with every breath I take,” she says.

This mother’s day, Sakina has lots of plans for her mother. “Mother’s day I want to show appreciation and surprise her with a red velvet cake, a lovely bouquet of roses and a beautiful poem penned by me. Her kitchen will remain closed as we shall spend the day out. A lovely facial treatment and hair cut will await her at the salon. Then I will treat her to the most glamorous make-over and we shall spend time at the movies and treat her to a sumptuous lunch, sizzling prawns, her favourite to devour,” she plans,

Sakina further adds “As we believe in sharing joy, we shall visit the nearest orphanage and spread our love and hug the tiny sweethearts and watch joyous faces as they appreciate the treat given to them. Apart from material things, I want to hold my mother’s hand and promise her my time and attention, warm companionship and to listen to her in her darkest moments. Paradise lies under the feet of your mother and my life is heaven on earth because of her sublime presence and unconditional love. As they say, there is none like mother, treasure her while she is alive for it will be too late when you see her empty chair. Even the finest of silk pillows loses its essence of luxury, as you yearn to hug her one more time.”

Additional contribution by Tasneem Hassanali and Janet Otieno-Prosper

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Saturday, May 5, 2018

We are all beautiful



Janet Otieno

Janet Otieno 

Ladies, listen, God made us fearfully and wonderfully. Let that sink in first. We are all beautiful the way we are.

There are those who are not comfortable with their shapes, others don’t appreciate their height and for some their colour tone annoys them. I don’t know if it is just us or the society’s portrayal of a beautiful woman that make us hate our bodies or there is something more.

This is the moment to appreciate yourself the way you are. Whether old or young, bald, thin, full figure, short or tall. To be comfortable the way you are is the beginning of an inner strength and confidence.

The moment you have achieved this, then you can carry yourself with this inner power. Let us not accept and become what the world want us to conform into but what we want ourselves to be. The moment you live to please anyone, then life becomes boring.

We should be free from outside pressures and not live with the baggage of society’s expectations and definitions of beauty. So it up to us to choose, if we want to become what the world wants us to be or accept ourselves as we are and treat ourselves with respect without feeling inadequate.

@JanetOtieno

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Saturday, May 5, 2018

Do not adhere to every dating rule out there

 

By Christine Chacha

I once read somewhere that insanity is doing the same thing in the same way and expecting different results and it struck a chord in me. Once you make an entry into the dating game you realise there are rules of engagement that you are to adhere to. We’ve all experienced it. You go through a particular situation, and then someone says something like, “Oh no, you can’t be friends with your ex.” You ask why, only to get their life story, their experiences and somehow that’s meant to be applicable to you. We are expected to follow these rules, guidelines, restrictions, regulations in order to be successful in the dating game. And we dish them out to others, because it’s all we’ve ever known.

How did we get to a place in time where we no longer date with intuition and feelings but rather live our lives following a set of made-up rules when it comes to dating? Surprisingly not only do they complicate issues but the rules ensure that you date in the same way over and over again expecting things to work out every time. If that’s not insanity, I don’t know what is.

I say it’s time to throw the dating rule book out through the window. Technology and new ideas about sex and gender have dramatically changed the laws of love, from who pays for dinner to how long to wait to call after a date. Here are some key rules that I feel should go out the window.

The man should pay: Who says one person should have to foot the bill for a date just because of their sex? I know so many women who feel mortally offended if they have to contribute to their own date. Can we ditch this stupid “rule” please? It’s 2018. Both genders make enough to be able to cater for the date so why not contribute? If he wants to pay it all, good! But it shouldn’t be his obligation.

The man has to do the asking: Wishing, hoping, thinking and praying that someone will ask you out is giving someone you don’t even really know control of your life. Madness, right? In 2018 we shouldn’t sit around and wait for someone to ask us on dates. Woman up and take your fate into your own hands. Want someone? Go get them, girl. What’s the worst that could happen? If he says No then you can move on boldly.

No sex till date: For years women have been told to wait as long as possible before giving up the cookie. Getting naked with someone new should be done at your own pace, not when some arbitrary dating rule says so. And if someone loses interest after sleeping with you, they were always going to regardless of when you did the nasty. The new rule is to sex whenever you want to.

Play hard to get: So many games. Don’t say I love you first, don’t be the first to pick up the phone, wait three days to text. What all of these say is “Avoid being vulnerable at all costs”. The big problem with this is that a true relationship needs to be emotionally vulnerable to succeed; putting up walls won’t work. If you don’t express yourself because you need to “play the game”, you’ll never learn if your potential lover is emotionally capable and you’ll never learn to properly deal with rejection. And those who react poorly when you’re honest about who you are are not the guys you want to be dating. Quit the games and you’ll stop wasting your time on the wrong people. Its 2018 baby, nobody has the time or patience to await around for you.

The best way to get over someone, is to get under someone else: But this rule doesn’t work for everyone and should definitely not be a rule. I hear so many people give this advice and push recently heartbroken girls into something way too early for them leading them into tough situations. Only have sex when you feel ready and not to get over someone.

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Saturday, May 5, 2018

Man, put down your foot firmly

 

By Marete Wa Marete

Over the years, I have known men who yodel, crawl, grovel, snivel and do what puppies do - if only to please their women. They are whipped men who, if left at home will mop the floor, wash the dishes and do the laundry.

These men no longer find time to hang out for a beer. They watch those lousy soap operas and have lost the manly thing – they are in dire need for resuscitation. They’ve been suckered into emasculating obedience to female whims and find it as normal as breathing. Depending on the kind of a woman that you land (some find a lot of fun riding on a man’s back), the situations vary.

Someone out there might be tempted to say that a man’s authority ended with women lib of the yesteryears but that is not so. A real man knows the boundaries.

Understanding the boundaries

In Tanzanian (African) context, a man who succumbs to acts of self-effacement is deemed to have been fed with tons of limbwata (love portion) that emasculates men to the level of an animal.

Of course, while I may not agree with such crap, there is always the need for a man not to perpetuate the image of women as their domestic guardians but as partners. In other words do not allow a woman to walk all over you emotionally, mentally, and in certain extremes, physically.

Do not relinquish manhood and your own happiness for what you perceive to be the greater good of your girlfriend or wife’s happiness. Be a leader in your relationship!

kaumbuthupeter@yahoo.com

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Saturday, May 5, 2018

Rains not going away and villager in us is exposed!

 

By Wa Muayanza

It’s continually raining, wet and chilly at times. That’s the kind of weather we’re having currently and residents of Bongo’s commercial capital aren’t amused. You often hear the lament: Oh, it’s like we’re in Kilimanjaro! God! Are we in Njombe or what? Ah; we might as well be in Arusha! Woi! It’s like we’re in Mbeya! Fellows who happen to hail from the land of UhuRuto can be heard wondering why Dar is behaving like Nairobi; or Kericho!

As we all agree, beer tastes better when the weather is warm or when it’s hot even, the way Dar is most of the year. Yeah, here we normally talk about a man craving for a beer to quench his thirst. Kukata kiu, we say in Kiswahili. A desire to wet his throat.

Now besides the water pouring from the heavens, the wetness, mud, ponds and mini rivers everywhere, it’s kind of cold at times. It means, we no longer have our usual reason (read excuse) to have a beer. The present weather is not “drink friendly”, yet we still patronise the grocery “to have one or two”. It all goes to stress the truth about men: we just have to get our drink, come rain, come shine!

We’re on a weekend and you’re among patrons that are crowded at the counter at this neighbourhood grocery. It’s raining out there; and in here, there’re sections of the grocery where rain water is finding its way through the roof, with drops ending up in patrons’ drinks and meals. But we’re braving all that. It’s like everybody is saying: let it rain as it wants, but we won’t be deterred from having our booze.

The ongoing rains that aren’t showing any sign of stopping are a big nuisance alright, but at the same time, they are, in a way, a welcome situation. Why, they provide residents of the normally very hot Dar the opportunity to take out from the wardrobes old jackets and hats that were gathering moss. Gumboots that had virtually been forgotten in the family storeroom are coming out too. Women are forced to put on headgear, much as they deny them the pleasure of showing off their expensive weaves!

Today, for instance, this man, clad in a hat, a mtumba jacket, a polo-neck sweater plus a pair of gumboots and carrying an umbrella, walks into the grocery with a swagger characteristic of a Kilimanjaro coffee farming aristocrat. Or, a tea estate supervisor in Mufindi. Or, a big maize farm owner at Ismani in Iringa.

From the way other patrons turn their heads to look at our man in apparent envy and admiration—and he notices it—you’re sure he’s feeling very important. Which is understandable, given that despite our stay in cities, most of us—especially those who were born before the 1980s, are villagers at heart, our posturing as urbanites notwithstanding.

Quite surely, the long rains in Dar are exposing the village bums that most of us are, aren’t they?

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Saturday, May 5, 2018

Be comfortable in your own body

 

By Elizabeth Tungaraza @TheCitizenTz etungaraza@tz.nationmedia.com

There’s a saying that goes; “beauty is in the eye of the beholder”. And that’s what most people will tell you when asked about qualities that make them attracted to someone. The degree of beauty differs from one woman to another. It is a fact which even women themselves know and will strive at their best level to look beautiful before society.

Society has a certain set of standards when it comes to beauty. It specifies what colour, size, hairstyle, fashion and other things that women should be or should have in order to be considered beautiful.

But we all know that not everyone is comfortable with their body or how they look. We have women who think they are too fat or too thin to wear certain outfits or go to certain events. We have those who enhance their body parts just to look more appealing. To them, such perceived looks are what define beauty.

It has become common place today, especially in the western world to find women going for plastic surgery to change their facial appearance (Botox), go for breast, hips and butts enlargement, they do all these procedures simply to look more appealing.

Eunice Adam*, a university student, says she is very uncomfortable with her body and how she looks. She is particularly displeased with her small behind. “I’m flat like the way men are,” she says. For her to look good, she says she always wears a skin-tight which has a special sponge on its back just to make her have a feminine look.

“Without boosting my buttocks, I will not go anywhere because I’ll lack that confidence that I want,” she says, adding; “I want to look good in front of my friends and other people.” Another body part that Eunice is uncomfortable with is her big breasts. Having big breasts makes her uncomfortable, and that is why she has to wear sponge-fitted skin-tight pants to make her body look more proportional. Currently, she has seven skin-tight pants fitted with a special sponge for her to change each day.

Her state of feeling uncomfortable didn’t come out of the blue. “I remember I was walking down a street in Mara Region and I overheard some men talking about my body shape. I was truly hurt. Soon after coming to Dar es Salaam, I bought the skin-tight pants that have a sponge to help enhance my looks,” she recalls.

According to psychologytoday.com, “Women underestimate their attractiveness whereas men are overly complacent about theirs.”

“Why the difference?” The website poses the question, arguing that “it is tempting to imagine that this is simply a reflection of continuing power imbalances favouring men”.

The website goes further to answer the question, saying that there is a simpler explanation; “Women care more about their appearance because looks are more consequential for them”.

That is why women spend huge amounts of money on clothes, cosmetics and other beauty products and services just to enhance their physical appearance, something that clearly shows how insecure women are about their appearance.

Salustia Thobias, 25, from Tanga Region has had to live with a nickname that she finds repulsive. Her friends have chosen an ironic nickname for her, calling her ‘bonge’, a Swahili word that translates to ‘fat’, but in reality she is thin, a little too thin in the eyes of her peers, prompting such a nickname. “The nickname makes me feel uncomfortable. It draws people’s attention to my appearance whenever it is pronounced, making people eager to see how big I’m. When they see me they just burst into laughter. This makes me feel so bad; this is how God created me but some people find amusement at my expense,” she says.

Salustia states that despite the fact that body size and shape certainly contribute to physical attractiveness, they are not the only factors, and they certainly are not the most important ones! How you present yourself in social settings also plays a big role, she argues.

Pressure from society

For Jacqueline Mosha, a Dar resident, looking beautiful just to please people is not her first priority and there is nothing which makes her more uncomfortable. She says her parents raised her in a way that she has to accept herself no matter how she looks or what she has in life.

“My parents taught me to concentrate on more important things, like studies. I grew up in a family of six girls, I always remember what my mother used to tell us; “a girl must have beauty with brains and not just looks. So that was engrained in me and now body size and shape don’t bother me at all,” she says.

Josephine Tesha, a Psychologist and counsellor based in Dar es Salaam says many women are not happy with their bodies due to different circumstances. “For example, if you ask women who bleach their skin why they opt to do so, they will tell you that the pressure comes from their friends or partners,” says Josephine.

She says if a woman is not strong enough, she will find herself doing things just to impress other people. “This starts from home.

How parents or relatives raised their children matters a lot.

Parents are the ones who need to build children’s self-esteem because a child with high self-esteem feels loved, confident and generally happy. Parents need to compliment their children. Children who feel good about themselves will invariably act responsibly,” she explains.

Josephine says parents should appreciate their children and show them unconditional love. By doing so, they will be helping them to be more comfortable with their body shape and appearance.

At a young age, a girl should realise that she is beautiful in her own unique way. She doesn’t have to fit into the mould that the society has set for women just to feel good about herself. It should be instilled in her that she should be proud of who she is and what she is, no matter what that is.

Self-acceptance

“When you’re hard on yourself, the people around you usually jump on the bandwagon,” says Quebec-based nutritionist and body coach Robyn Jaquays. “They’re hard on you, too.” The more you honour and appreciate your body, the more likely it is you’ll attract positive, uplifting people into your life. “Stop telling yourself you’re fat, ugly or stupid,” she says.

“And stop comparing yourself to others…you’re doing yourself an injustice! Instead, focus on your best qualities.”

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Saturday, April 28, 2018

Ladies, steer clear of these men!

 

By Esther Kibakaya

Finding the right partner that you’re willing to spend the rest of your life with is not that easy. Women often times make the wrong choices and end up dating Mr Wrong instead of Mr Right. Men come in different shapes and sizes, all having unique qualities and characters – a hefty selection process for women.

There are women who prefer dating ‘bad boys’, while others find solace in the arms of men with a more collected persona – to each their own.

Generally, though, there are men who should be avoided like the plague, men who are not fit for any woman, those who fall short in all qualities deemed appealing to women.

Woman had an opportunity to talk to a few women who have been in relationships (including marriage) for a long period of time and they gave advice on the type of men women need to avoid if they want to have a good, long-lasting and healthy relationship.

Mama’s boy

Magreth Noah, 48, has been married for 20 years and her advice to young women out there is that they should avoid men who are ‘mama’s boy’. According to her, for any relationship to be strong it takes two people to put in equal effort, 3 is a crowd.

She says men of this type prefer to include their mothers in everything they do; they seek approval from their mum every single chance they get. “They cannot do anything without the go ahead from their mother, even if they have a wife and the decision they are about to make involves his family,” explains Magreth.

She says such type of men hail their mothers as the key decision makers in almost everything in their life. “The mother’s decision is always final, even if it contradicts that of the wife,” she says, adding, “as a woman who has been through the same experience, I think women should be more careful when they find themselves in a relationship with this type of a man and if possible try to avoid them altogether because it is a very frustrating experience to live with.”

Careless and irresponsible men

There is nothing worse than being with a man who is careless and utterly irresponsible. Such a man doesn’t own up to his role in a relationship and will only frustrate you more with each passing day.

Joan Waziri, 30, has had her share of such type of men. A professional accountant, Joan dated a man whom she grades as being irresponsible and careless. She dated the man three years ago and it’s no surprise that their relationship didn’t last long.

Joan was under pressure to find a husband and so when she started a relationship with the man, she didn’t pay much attention to his behaviour , “I was happy at first, and I did everything to make the relationship work, however with time I realised that I was dating a man who didn’t like to be independent and he preferred dating women who are well accomplished.

“He was the type of man of would sit and wait for me to do everything for him, even buying him air time. I tried to support him thinking that he’ll learn to be independent but my efforts were in vain. Basing on my experience, I think women should steer clear of such types of men who have these traits because the relationship is doomed to fail,” she says.

Con artist/Playboy

When you are in a relationship you do have a lot of expectations and beliefs about what you are getting into. But with a playboy, nothing is exact. You should expect a lot of surprises that are not really positive or thrilling when you are dating a playboy. Playboys often times share similar qualities with con artists – they dupe women in to falling for them under false pretence, harbouring a hidden agenda under their sleeves.

Rhoda Solomon, 29, was involved with a good looking man who worked in the same office building. She felt lucky dating a man who was the envy of many. “He captured my heart and made me feel so much loved but what I didn’t know is that he was involved in a series of other relationships as well. He had his own way of captivating the hearts of different women all at once without any of us knowing about the other,” she says.

Such men love to appear smart and this increases their chances of attracting women easily. “When he was with me he would make it seem like no other woman exists,” Rhoda says. However she was lucky to catch up on his act and left him, even though she had to endure the heartbreak. “I advise other women to avoid getting involved with such men, they will only hurt you in the end,” she says.

Men who refuse to grow (immature)

Some men mature physically but remain mentally immature. According to articles published by a renown relationship expert based in Dar es Salaam, Dr Chris Mauki on his website chrismauki.com, some men do not mature enough and some of the things they do can reflect to their level of immaturity. The relationship expert says some of the precursors in identifying such men is how they spend their money on things that are of no importance, the types of friends they keep are those who have also not matured well enough. These type of man is a big no for any woman who wants to have a serious relationship because they will cause you more trouble than you bargained for, especially when it comes to making important life decisions.

Sex addicts

To add on to the list, Dr Mauki points out that men who love sex too much are also to be avoided by women. He writes “There are men who are sex addicts. It doesn’t matter if you are a kind of woman who loves to get intimate often. What you need to understand is that a man who loves an undue amount of sex poses a real possibility that he will one day cheat on you once he gets bored of having sex with you. It is difficult to satisfy this type of man so once he finds that he can no longer get sexual gratification from you, he will look outside for satisfaction.

Mr Unavailable

According to Dr Mauki, there are some men who think the strength of their relationship is based on their ability to provide for their women.

For instance if you don’t have a phone, he will buy you two of them and even an extra one. If you don’t have air time he will send you more than you require. If you want him to rent you a house he can afford to buy you a mansion.

The problem comes when you want to have time to spend with him, he will have a number of excuses to give. This type of man will only show up when he wants to be intimate with you and once he is satisfied you won’t see him until when he needs you another time.

Chris says this has happened to a lot of women who have found themselves getting into a relationship with married men. “Never will a married man have a truthful and wholly satisfying relationship with another woman who is not his wife, you will have to agree to be play second fiddle after his wife and children,” he says.

Violent\ abusive men

Such types of men are very dangerous and can cause both physical and emotional wounds to women.

We often hear of domestic violence, it is men who are violent that propagate such kind of ordeal in relationships. No woman should ever date a man who physically or emotionally hurts her. You are better off single than being with such kind of a man.

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Saturday, April 28, 2018

Women should be smart with money

 

By Christine Chacha

“His money is our money but my money is mine alone,” is probably the one commandment that most women live by and those who don’t have paid a big price for it.

Relationships have changed but this one remains unwavering to this wind of change.

I have gathered knowledge about dating from people’s experiences, observation and reading and I can tell you that the issue of finances in a relationship is always a time bomb waiting to explode.

I remember this woman in my neighborhood, every now and then auctioneers would come to her house and take her furniture sometimes throw her out. Despite the fact that she was a nurse in a reputable hospital and earned enough this happened over and over again. All she ever did was call her husband and tell him what happened. I always though she was the stingiest woman I knew because she probably earned enough to pay the rent and make ends meet for her family but she chose to rely on her struggling business man of a husband. I used to pity the man who paid the rent and school fees with his meager income while the woman used hers to buy clothes, make-up and look pretty. But somehow despite all this they were a happy family and are still together to-date.

I never understood her behavior till I came of age and went to talk to her. She gave me some advise about dealing with men. “There are things in life that are a man’s responsibility” she said to me. According to her, a man has to do some things in a relationship regardless of his economic status; he should provide for basic needs of the family; clothing, food and shelter. The woman only comes in to complement his efforts or help when he really can’t meet these needs.

Like other mysteries that surround the female species, men have always wondered what women do with their money. If a man provides all the basic needs then where do women take their paychecks? We certainly spend it on clothes, shoes, handbags, cosmetics and all but majority of it goes to saving. Despite the fact that there is marriage, I have learnt that there is always uncertainty in relationships. Men are like chameleons they change depending on the environment so feminine instincts demand that woman be prepared for such time, the assurance of knowing that you can provide for your children should your husband take a hike. So men need not be offended if their woman has a secret bank account or hides her earnings, it’s for the good of all.

Nowadays women are financially independent; they can take care of themselves, shoulder family responsibilities and basically do anything. The fact is that unlike in the old days women do not need men to take care of them. While I celebrate this, I believe it has its own advantages and disadvantages especially when relationships are concerned. While we embrace the independent woman spirit, I feel it is making men take advantage of women.

How many men do you know who are living off a woman’s finances? It is not a strange sight to see financially capable women supporting a man one can consider good for nothing. It’s like the roles are reversing; men are the new gold diggers. Although I despise such men, I blame the women for it. Once you show a man that you can take care of yourself he backs off and takes a back seat letting you do all the work. Soon you will be the ‘man’ in the relationship while he takes his money to a mistress somewhere who probably needs it more. Women should let men be men, let him struggle to provide for his family and chip in only when he is unable to.

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Saturday, April 28, 2018

Destroy the bottle top or else you’re finished!

 

By Wa Muyanza

You’re having a drink with two guys. As you partake of your little Serengeti, one of them is having Konyagi while the other is taking K Vant delivered in the 200m bottle. These guys are serious drinkers, you conclude.

Why, your style and that of most gin drinkers you know, is that of pouring into the glass little amounts at a time; but these guys aren’t doing that. They pour everything into the glass, and the amount of water they add to soften the poison is just ceremonial—very little.

Well, people’s drinking style is an issue that’s neither here nor there, so let’s leave it aside. The issue here is, you fail to understand when the K Vant guy discards his bottle to the trash bin nearby, minus its cap. “Why didn’t you throw away the bottle with its cap intact—somebody could make good use of it in due course, but that can’t be when the cap isn’t there,” you say.

The guy (call him Joe) looks at you, his eyes clearly showing he’s surprised by what you’ve said. “Aisee, we don’t do that… it’s dangerous!” he says as he destroys the cap using his fingers, after which he casts away.

Dangerous? Well, he might be having a point. He’s most likely worried a used bottle collector would sell it to someone who would refill it with fake gin, you opine silently. Crooked entrepreneurs do that. Nodding in agreement with him, you say, “You’re right; we shouldn’t make it possible for crooks to misuse discarded bottles.”

“You don’t understand; that’s not why we destroy the tops,” Joe says with a tone that shows he’s baffled by your reaction. He therefore explains:

“You see, Mzee Muya, if you dispose the bottle together with its top, someone could refill it with something else… that would harm the person who drank its original contents!”

The other guy, who has no need to destroy his bottle top since the Konyagi makers have made that unnecessary as the top gets destroyed as you open it, nods in agreement. You ask them to explain further. The K Vant guy says: “When someone refills your bottle with anything, even water, it upsets your stomach, wherever you might be.”

“Duh!” that’s all you say. This is spiritual. Outright superstition. You’ve lived in Bongo long enough to know you cannot reason with anyone who seriously believes in the supernatural, in things that cannot stand the test of scientific verification.

And strangely, many otherwise educated people are into it too. That’s why self-declared prophets are taking advantage of that to win followers to whom they impress on the need to get divine intervention, via their hands of course, to get rid of bad omen, defeat mapepo, reincarnate misukule, wachawi, reclaim “stolen stars” and be rich and all such other crap.

That’s why you understand your drinking mates peculiar standpoint, even as we proclaim that we too are citizens of the 21st Century world of science and technology.

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