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Cut the head, get rid of the body

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There is some place in Blantyre, close to the police station, where pub talk is usually diverse. Within the complex, there are three bars: one for those who like loud music and the other two for gurus who like sipping their ‘stuff’ as they tackle all sorts of issues in debate.

It is in one of the latter where we are. We start with the more popular common bar before one of us suggest the subject our talk is centred on deserves a more ‘private’ place.

And this subject has come in a very funny way but has graduated into a serious debate.

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The talk ignites after one of the young men in our company talks of how his neighbour beat his wife and ended up becoming a subject of ridicule in the community.

“Eti zoona kumenya mkazi n’kumuotchera zovala zonse (just imagine beating the woman and also setting all clothes on fire)? The things some men do, leave me disappointed I was born a man,” he says.

“What did the wife do to deserve that barbaric treatment?” I ask.

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The young man tells us that the man had discovered the wife was cheating on him and rumour had it that he found the lover ‘in action’ with his wife.

“Nanga osangomusiya mkaziyo (why not just divorce the woman)? Really why the husband should set the clothes on fire? He will just be burdened in spending more money to replace the clothes,” says my friend Grawel.

But some young man with grey hair for a moustache says we are wrong in demonising the husband. He says there is nothing as devastating as finding out you are sharing a woman with another man–be it a wife or a girlfriend.

“The husband was even right to set ablaze the clothes because those may have been the things that were making her look good to the point of the other man coaxing her to bed,” he says.

“Zofoira basi, kupanda nzeru kumeneko (its’ just a crazy and dull reasoning). The wife can continue ‘prostituting’, the best he would have done was eject her from the matrimonial home because he achieved nothing by beating her and setting her clothes ablaze, he did not solve the problem,” says Grawel.

“But don’t you think it is better to maintain the devil you know than divorcing her and start scouting for a new one. Guys, let us learn to forgive, even the Bible advocates so!” Exclaims ‘Atsogoleri’ Rob M.

But our controversial ‘foot soldier’ Joe bashes the reasoning. “Atsogoleri, you and me know that the worst thing a man can tolerate of a wife or even lover is to have someone partaking in his bedroom specialty. Any man who can forgive the wife after being caught red handed doing that sort of thing, deserves to be admitted at that other special hospital in Zomba, where people with mental disorders are treated.”

I come in: “And what happens if and when we men are caught by our wives and lovers committing adultery? Are we better placed to sin than women? Have you people read a book called Animal Farm? This tendency of being harsh on women and thinking women should be soft on us is actually the like the concept ‘some animals are more equal than others’ as advocated in the Animal Farm.”

“Then, we should all go for the concept of ‘Cut the head, get rid of the body’ when any one of the couple in marriage is caught in adulterous acts. Zizingothapo basi, bandi igawane zida [the relationships should just end]!” says Joe, ending the debate with a round.

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