I am not just a Woman; I am Human
By Chimwemwe Buleya
I am Chimzy. Chimzy Ngugi. Like the root holding the trunk of that mkunkhu, I will rise. Because I stem from similar humble beginnings. I have seen things my whole life. Women bullied for no reason (suffice to say there is no reason worth bullying a fellow human).
I have seen girls pass through moments of trauma in beastly relationships. I have seen drug and alcohol abuse take our generation down. I have passed through all these moments. Imagine, born in just the mid-90s yet I’ve seen what I assume took more than a generation the time my grannies had sprouted. But I will sprout too.
What I see around me is a prescriptive society. Ladies, do this. No, don’t do that. We are receivers. It just came to my conscience that I realized even when the kids are doing zawana, the roles they imitate are always limiting the woman to domestic chores. We aren’t cattle or goats or pigs. We are humans. We must be thought of as people who can equally contribute to the society. Chimzy behave! Be like a woman! Lord how I hate this!
Me, I have my own reservations with regards to what society has prescribed for us. I would rather do what I feel is morally right without trampling on my rights simply because I am female. I have always told myself one day, I will be some big woman. This, I have done ever since I was young and able to think to think without my mum’s hand spooning porridge into my resisting mouth. Way after those days we fasted after refusing to clean dishes or go buy some tomato.
I’m not a big woman today. Not in anything. I know I might not rise as Dr. Joyce Banda or the late Rose Chibambo, but the fact that I realize I am the sole driver of my life with God the way, I know I will do it. Every woman can do it. We have had numerous examples. Africa? Want to hear about Ellen Johnson Sirleaf? What I aim at is way below politics. I just want my right decisions respected and accepted. I want my wrongs quashed. All this should be based on reason. Nothing else. Not my sex. Not my colour. Not my religion.
I have heard women being referred to as manly because they showed acts of courage. Ndimphongotu mzimayi uyu, eee. Like for real? Who the hell said courage is for men? You leave cowardice with who then? The chickens you caress and slaughter when a visitor knocks at your doors perhaps. Not me. Not my fellow females.
We have been underrated for so long. That is not how things were supposed to be in the first place. What is it that a man can achieve that a woman cannot simply because she is a woman? I have seen women doctors. I have talked to women engineers. I have listened to women preachers spread the gospel. I am a female student of journalism. One day, I will become a journalist. Like BBC’s Bola Mosulo or Audrey Brown. Like ZBS’ Maria Chidzanja Nkhoma or anyone else.
Women should not be lied to, to behave like women. We are women yes, but there should be other factors affecting our conduct and treatment in the society than this hey woman behave nonsense. Ladies, let us all achieve our desires. We can do it. I can do it. She can do it. They can do it. It is up to ourselves to raise the flag and keep it flying high, east to west or either way.
That is why I, Chimzy Ngungi, do solemnly swear with or without your help, society, that I will do all it takes to become what I want to be in life. Be assured it won’t depend on anybody’s perception of what I ought to do and not ought, on why I should do this and not that. I believe in myself. I won’t be let down by discouraging remarks from the surrounding because I know people will always have something to say. I will do what is necessary and good to me and the general society not because society expects me to behave in such such a desirable way, no. I will do things according to how I see them.
People around do change. Things change. Times change. But, aware of all these facts, I would like to stand out and fall only when my trunk leaves rings that will be too many to count. Being as hard working as I am, I stopped asking who’s gonna let me. Now, I ask who’s gonna stop me? Try it. It works.
Chimwemwe Buleya is a Malawian journalist passionate about the affairs of women in the society.