THE SOJOURNER: The Bongolander male species is under siege over child care issues

Saturday April 14 2018

Hundreds of mothers who showed up at Dar RC’s

Hundreds of mothers who showed up at Dar RC’s office over absent co-parents. PHOTO | FILE 

By Danford Mpumilwa

This is not the best of times to be a man in Bongoland. And that means to be a man worth his salt and respect in the community.

Unfortunately according to many African traditions a man who can join manly or rather elderly deliberations on issues affecting his community is one who has acquired a ‘jiko’ or rather got married and had already brought to this world some offspring.

In some Bongoland tribal traditions that was not enough. In these tribes a man could only join an elders’ group if he had acquired more than one ‘jiko’, that is if he married more than one wife, preferably not less than four.

Now, this is where traditions go against modern life trends which include, some modern religions calling polygamy a sin, actually pure adultery.

That is not enough. Modern trends compel a real man to feed, clothe, provide adequate shelter and educate his offspring. These tend to totally go against this honoured tradition where it was believed that the bigger the family the more the farm hands.

So here we are. Several Bongolander males in this category have already suffered this year from the attendant financial obligations which came with the marking and observing such revered celebrations beginning with the Eid festivities last year, followed by Christmas, then New Year, Zanzibar Revolution Day and the just ended Easter celebrations.

This is not to mention the hefty school fees, uniforms and books for the young ones attending the thousands of primary and secondary schools as well as colleges in Bongoland.

Lately the boys and girls who are attending these educational institutions were on Easter Holidays and are now going back to their studies. Some school and college fees are again required. Naturally these financial burdens are a terrible load over the suffering Bongolanders.

On top of this, the other day another legal and financial bombshell descended upon some of these suffering human beings. You see some of these Bongolander male species had decided to cut corners. That is, while they continue maintaining their historical traditions of keeping several wives and ‘michepukos’, or rather female side-kicks, they simply abandon the subsequent obligations which go with, among others, bringing up their biological children.

So a few weeks ago the firebrand Regional Governor of Dar es Salaam, Makonda, announced that he was inviting all those women who had been abandoned by their legal and illegal husbands and left alone to take care of the children, to report and present their cases to his office.

Indeed thousands of such women, some with harrowing tales of abandonment assembled at his office on a rainy Monday this week to present their cases.

Reports coming from the meeting allege that some of the alleged male absconders have already come forward to sort out the issues with their ‘wives’ or ‘michepukos’ and the attendant junior Bongolanders. Other reports allege that some men have also come forward, in the spirit of gender equality, to claim that they were also abandoned by their ‘wives’.

Others have claimed that there was indeed necessity to check on their DNAs and those of their alleged offspring before taking any action. Some sober minds have also intervened saying that there were Government departments which are legally entrusted with that task, and that Makonda should simply channel the cases to these ‘competent’ institutions.

Let us all wait and see. Whichever the case, I can safely say for sure that the Bongolander male specie is under siege. Though, again, there are some randy, immoral males who are simply irresponsible in this matter. Not to mention the presence of hard working and responsible single mothers in Bongoland.