Friday, 28 December 2012

My views on Christmas and on being an African woman

So Christmas season is almost over, for others its in actual fact over. For others, we are still enjoying the nostalgia that comes with the season, after all it is termed the season to be jolly. For others it was all about traveling, for some it was visiting family. Well, if you are an African woman, and Zimbabwean at that, you probably spent your Christmas at kumusha, the rural areas, visiting family and cooking over a hot blazing fire for 2 or 3 days non stop. The competition is particularly stiff among what we call the varooras, sisters in law, to out-cook each other, out-wash the dishes, out-work our hands to the bone. Correct me if I am wrong, but I think this stigma still exists to some extent. Whether its just African cultures or just the overall "norm", its something that has taken place for decades to come. Because of this, Christmas has just become another huge hassle for women to out-perform each other. Can I honestly say, to me its just another unnecessary platform to showcase our insecurities, without sounding too brutal?

Happily enough, I wasn't in Zimbabwe this Christmas, so I managed to dodge the whole cooking and cleaning extravaganza, but I still feel for  my African sisters out there who must still slave away at the stove in order to prove their worth. It demeans a woman's worth to nothing more than just a substitute for the gadgets that now exist for domestic purposes. Okay, so maybe that was a bit brutal, but my overall understanding is that Christmas is supposed to be a time to spend with family, because you genuinely want to see and visit family, because you genuinely want to find out how the aunt or uncle you have not spoken to in a while is keeping. In other words, if we could afford take-out, would it be so bad to just buy take-out and enjoy still the company of our relatives or would we feel incomplete as women, as if we haven't had a proper Christmas without all the hard work that is expected of us over the seasons. Would take-out take away the meaning and essence of the season? Now don't get me wrong, I am not saying lets not cook at Christmas! What I am saying is, the objective is not to cook and clean and do who knows what to prove that we are the perfect hard working excellent chefs and wives and women that I believe we are. The objective is to enjoy the company of your relatives, to be of merry cheer. Now if cooking is one way someone shows their giving then go on ahead, but this cannot be the norm for all of us women for some of us prefer to give in other ways.

The role of the African woman has been defined for so long, I now begin to wonder if we even know who we are anymore. My point is, let Christmas be Christmas. Let it be a time to be merry, to be happy, to be jolly. It can even be a time to rest. Why not? Lets celebrate what its really meant to be about. If you want to give to the poor go ahead, if you want to have pizza go ahead, if you just want to be at home relaxing and watching some television, go ahead. Its a time to be merry and joyful and I personally believe, restful. Spend time together, sing, gift-give if you want, just have fun! No segregation, no expectations! Is this too radical? Lets be more grateful for having one another, than what we can do for one another, and what we can give one another. Lets change our mentality. Hoping you all had a Merry Christmas this year!

No comments:

Post a Comment