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.
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: email@example.com; Twitter, wamicheni
5 Responses to “Tables turn against the modern African man”
Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.