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Tables turn against the modern African man

Posted by Administrator on February 17, 2012

In Nyeri County of Kenya, a number of bruised men have come out to reveal that their wives have been battering them, behind closed doors.

One of them looked a bit tipsy as he narrated his story; the other a bit unkempt and in some pain. When a different man, this time from Kiambu County, also in Kenya, appeared on national television with scars, allegedly sustained from repeated beating by his wife, eyebrows were raised.

The unemployed man said he had been in the country for some months, after he returned from London where he studied law, but he was yet to get a breakthrough.

A common thread runs through these stories: All the men are rural-based, with little traditional duties to attend to and were struggling economically.

No laughing matter this one. I think it is the practical side to Darwinian theories.

After studying similar cases in France, sociologist Pierre Bourdieu concluded that these kind of cases were a manifestation of a gradual social-cultural transformation that could completely re-order gender relations in the world.

He cited a number of cases from Béarn, the region in southwestern France where he grew up, in his book The Bachelors’ Ball, that paints man’s diminished fortunes as gender relations continue to change.

In Africa, many traditionalists have expressed their fury against the new breed of women who, according to these conservative guys, should never face men in arguments, leave a lone batter them. Some of these have even proposed stern measures to deal with the phenomenon. So what happened ?

For centuries, most African communities were predominantly patriarchal, men on top; women at the bottom. In this arrangement, there were gender specific roles assigned after years of experiences that informed the different decisions, as seen through the male eye that dominated decision making.

It made a lot of sense then before change turned ancient wisdom upside down. Unfortunately, the men of Africa were yet to wake up to the new reality, they were no longer the only providers and source of security.

In those days, men fought in wars. Due to the importance of security in every society, men were seen as more important players, with women remaining in their shadows as mere benefactors of war their contributions aside.

But modern battles have changed, no need for crude weaponry that required exceptional physical strength that only men would provide.

At the workplace, women are slowing earning their decent space, just like in the home where it has almost became a dollar for a dollar on matters of family investment, if not more from women.

And they are not stopping at that. Even with additional responsibilities, ladies are mostly taking care of babies, kitchen matters and are involved in most of the planning going on at the domestic levels. This means they are more valuable than men, who were still struggling to retain the old reality.

In colleges, enrolment rates indicate that there were more women taking up once male dominated courses plus others that were more promising today, but not so in the case of men. Then there are more women in decision making positions, even at political level.

In Rwanda, for instance, women politicians were leading the country’s healing process after the 1994 genocide and so is in Kenya where the constitution adopted in 2010 insists that at least a third of all public appointments must consider the disadvantaged gender.

Father figure

Kenya’s national women fund to empower womenfolk in business has been offering capital to the fairer sex, something that has raised their investment chances just like their chamas (informal investment clubs) and merry go rounds that most men have not bothered to join.

All these wonderful initiatives, designed to raise women’s profile in society, have tended to diminish men’s role in society. The fact that a good number of Africa children were growing without a proper father figure, either because their mothers were single parents or because theirs were absent father, has diminished the father figure in the society.

In South Africa, for instance, the proportion of fathers who were absent and living increased between 1996 and 2009, from 42 per cent to 48 per cent. Over the same period the proportion of fathers who were present decreased from 49 per cent to 36 per cent.

With these kind of cases, the place of the future African man was not likely to remain where it has been, or is it?

Email: mmicheni@ke.nationmedia.com; Twitter, wamicheni

Source: http://www.africareview.com/Blogs/Troubles+of+an+African+man/-/979192/1329444/-/view/asBlogPost/-/nxdjc4/-/


5 Responses to “Tables turn against the modern African man”

  1. Marie said

    exactly…men read on…

  2. Nderitu Wahome said

    In Nyeri County, traditionally Women call the sorts although custom encourage them to do so behind the scenes. It’s a common knowledge that no major decision can be made in a Nyeri household without final approval or blessing from the wife. This trend is demostrated by even those that hold high public offices that may have their root from Nyeri. We from Nyeri accept it as a reality because it’s part of our culture. It has been going on for centuries and it is not going to disappear overnight because of the present public outcry over men battering. The major issue with Nyeri women today is their tendernancy to abuse that power our customs has bestowed on them by cheating and battering us. We men from Nyeri cannot slept comfortably when our wives are away because of the suspicion that they might be out with other men cheating. A Nyeri woman get very offended when her a husband ask her a simple question like how come it took her that time to come back home or where she has been all that time. Such question is itself enough to start a fight resulting into the husband getting battered, kicked out of the home or been cheated on openly.

  3. Njogu said

    It’s upto Nyeri Women to clear their tarnished names. I never knew what type of women they were until the recent episodes. Now I feel I have to careful not to marry a woman from Nyeri.

    • faith said

      What tarnished name? its kudos to the women. No wonder Nyeri has the lowest rate of HIV infections! lets encourage other women to take control

  4. POKO said

    kwani you men from nyeri are just weaklings?

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