Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Naphiri ndiwe Galu

Naphiri - my wife - you are a dog

The men are wearing zibiya – a skirt of some sort that is mostly worn by men who dance Ingoma.
Ngoma is well known among the Ngonis, a tribe in some parts of Malawi especially the Central districts of Ntcheu and Dedza. It is a warrior dance – the men dance stamping their feet to the ground; the women ulutate, clapping their hands and cheering the men on.
Some songs are led by men and one of the popular songs is titled “Naphiri ndiwe galu” which literally means “Naphiri you are a dog”.
The song is about a man who is reprimanding a woman for cooking what was supposed to be bean soup but ended up being dried beans.
“Waziphika bwanji nyemba; zopanda msuzi,” – how can bean soup have no soup in it?” Querries the man in the song. “Naphiri ndiwe galu”.......”Naphiri you are a dog”.
“Lu lu lu lu” – the women ululate while clapping hands for the men.
The big question here is: “why should women be happy with a song like that? Why should they rejoice over a song that belittles a fellow woman? Why should they clap hands and cheer men on as they stomp onto the ground showing off their muscles as they are scantily dressed – showing how strong they are – strong over a dog? Warrior over a dog.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Skirt

This skirt is being worn by so many women in Malawi – the average women who mostly are vulnerable, poor and are facing social injustice on a daily basis.
The skirt costs just about $2 – very cheap – just like many women in Malawi are treated – cheap.

I feel for these women. They put in so much but get back very little. They are the homemakers but most times are treated as second-class citizens.
Most of them are facing domestic violence – they are abused left, right and centre.
During this month of November, I want to advocate for the abused women of Malawi - today, this blog is speaking against gender-based violence as an add-on voice to the movement against gender-based violence.

“Domestic violence and abuse are used for one purpose and one purpose only: to gain and maintain total control over you. An abuser doesn’t play fair. Abusers use fear, guilt, shame, and intimidation to wear you down and keep you under his or her thumb. Your abuser may also threaten you, hurt you, or hurt those around you."

During the month of November and during the 16 Days of Activism – from November 25, 2010 and December 10, 2010, I am joining other activists around the world to to emphasise that such violence is a human rights violation.

Many Malawian women are experiencing violence as they are swimming against the current.................................................................