At the weekend, relaxing at my kafunda in Kamwokya, I pick a copy of Sunday Vision that I had bought the previous day on a street in Wandegeya. It was a beautifully laid newspaper and I like weekend papers for their relaxed style of writing. On opening, I read a mind-boggling story done by Titus Kakembo a New Vision Journalist. I am rattled by the “Wives for sale at Sh20,000 in Luwero” headline.
This story killed my joyous mood. After reading it, it was like a misfortune that had dawned on me. I couldn’t breathe. I loathed the writer on what he had written, I reviled more the editor who passed the story for it was a symbol of some sort of stereotype. I started to imagine how lovely and beautiful my mother is, I thought someone was really misrepresenting our women.A testimony is my now 63-year- old beautiful mother from Rakai District.
While men’s hard bodies tend to excite some women, there is something to the gentle curves and to that attenuated female slenderness and to faces that aren’t always threatening to erupt into beardedness sometimes which gets funny. The creature that a woman is so special that I cannot describe. A woman has no price, she is the world creator.
I image those men who have wandered villages without wives have been frustrated by the surroundings. Why write such about women? Was it a true representation of women? I started feeling with you a collective pain of “selling” and being “bought”. Who buys a woman? What is the cost of a woman; I must say that a woman is priceless. Such a valuable being that to attach price to her, you are making her look like an object. She is a human being for heaven sake.
In this Sunday Vision Story, the writer is tipped of the trade in Bamunanika in Luweero District. It is about the excitement of men who have gotten an opportunity to acquire wives at a cheap “price”. What is this price?
I feel it is another cause for worry with the way the writer says these women who are on sale are Basoga women and this is more dazzling. Why? Why on earth are people into this trade? Has the number of females exploded that men cannot absorb all of them at once? May be it is true, maybe it is not. Now, referring to the national population census results of 2014 that were released in March 2016, a total population estimated at 34.6 million, and females constituted 51% of this Population.
While the report indicates that there were more males than females at young ages between 0-14 years, the Census results show that in the subsequent age groups, there is persistent dominance in the number of females explained by the argument that men tend to die faster as they grow old. Nevertheless, this doesn’t amount to selling women for marriage.
It is from this background that I now reflect on the several conversations I have heard with my peers on relationships and marriage issues. And almost majority seem not to be interested in marrying soon for fear of costs of an ideal marriage which involves, introductions, Weddings etc.
And why is it that many youths are not ready to settle down with someone’s daughter, is it an economic issue? We need to rethink our position and attitudes towards marriage. To juxtapose the issue of young men fearing marriage and its commitment rules, majority have resorted to the act of ‘hit and run’, an act of grabbing and puncturing maidens that one comes across either because of peer influence or someone is just trying to prove something. Many have complained that actually young ladies are never settled. That they move from man to man like dry season bees visiting esuununu (dry season flowers)-
But what is the reason behind such a story trading in women just days after celebrations of women’s day. The #BeBoldForChange slogan is still fresh in my mind but I am really disturbed by this story of women being traded. How did we reach there this level really? As the struggle for emancipation continues, I point to illiteracy levels, love, equality and parity. I will live to honor strong women. Those that have overcome trauma, the abuse from the male human.
The education of a girl child must be prioritized so the number of women who can stand up and their voices be heard can increase. We need to encourage our women to continue working hard to self sustainability. Let there be no woman who will only run to a man out of desperation. We must stand up against voices of men in rural. Patriarchal set ups that continue to think that because they paid a heavy bride price, they have control over you.
For men to get out of medieval thinking that they can actually buy a woman. I listen with pain to men from the Kigezi and Ankole regions of some men boasting; “Nkakujuga ente zangye” This attitude must Change.