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LITANY OF MALE BARBARISM

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Sir,

Eswatini has a unique injustice. I mean, there are a lot of things that are happening in the country that are injustices. From the way minority groups are treated, to the way the law is enforced. We have a number of cases where women die in the hands of men, and most women are battered by the same people who are supposed to protect them. Men experience violence too, and that is an injustice that some people find to be ‘funny’ because it means that man is not man enough. But there is an injustice that seems to be unique to us as emaSwati and it is not treated with the urgency it deserves. A married couple can have children together, but if they separate, the man can go off with other women and have more children, while the woman is stuck at home raising children by herself, with no prospects of remarrying. This has many consequences and some of them are the reason why there are so many injustices in the country.

Barbarism

Millions of poor children and teenagers grow up without their biological fathers, and often when you ask them about it, you hear a litany of male barbarism. You hear teens describe how their dad used to beat up their mum, how an absent father had five children with different women and abandoned them all. And these are the children who were born while the fathers were there. Some of them were abondoned before they were even born!

Embrace

It can be difficult to embrace the excitement of preparing for motherhood for women embarking on the journey alone. These women have to deal with the heartache of discovering that their partners are leaving them - and their unborn child - to be with someone else. Others have to deal with being given difficult ultimatums by partners who demand they make a choice between their baby and their boyfriend. The sad thing is, this affects women and the children more than it affects the person who left. Society then blames the woman for ‘making him leave’, forgetting that they were never ‘men’ to begin with. A man by no means is some mythological archetype of human strength and perfection, but rather someone who accepts accountability for their actions and owns up to them, no matter what.

This isn’t the easiest thing to do and accountability isn’t really being taught in too many places these days, except for maybe in the home. But it is no doubt 100 per cent unfair to leave all the responsibility to only one person, when it was two people who made the baby. And for the courts not to have strict laws to correct this makes me think this is somehow acceptable, and that is just a shame. This is an injustice that must be dealt with. I know that as a country we are currently facing and dealing with too many things, and being constantly reminded to ‘watch our words’ isn’t fun. But it would not hurt to throw in child abandonment to our already full basket of problems.

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