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"Culture is the heritage of us all. some may be more interested than others in the treasures of the past, but no one can fail to take a pride in his country's participation in the story of mankind, as represented in carvings, sculpture, music, paintings and the other arts. And there is a personal commitment to this, for no man can really say he is alone: we are all joined through our identity, with the cultures which are part of the mainstream of life"
- Simon Kapwepwe, Zambian Independence Freedom Fighter

"Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm" - Winston Churchill

"Try to be the rainbow in someone else's cloud" - Maya Angelou

"Your time is limited so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma - which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinion drown out your inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition" - Steve Jobs

Thursday, 22 September 2016

Tikambe Natulande Part 2

I expressed in Part 1 what a mind*bleep* filming this episode of the vanguard television series produced by Samba Yonga for BBC Media Action was. Even though this post is part of my Things on Thursday series, this is no small thing let me tell you. Are they ever with me ;)?

Youth Counsellor Nancy Mweene and I on set filming our
episode. Photo Credit: PR Girl
I think the most shocking part of the experience for me was the fact that a father felt that it was okay to stick his penis inside his daughter's vagina to teach her about how sex is not to be taken lightly and that she was too young to have intercourse.  That he was able to get aroused in order to penetrate her.  That despite her cries he still went on to rape her.  The despicable act was in no way consensual on her part. That he then ejaculated into his hands so he could mix his sperm with traditional herbs in order to make some juju concoction to rub on her stomach, so if she did have sex, she would get stuck to the dastardly boy who was in cahoots with her, so they could catch them both in the act and reprimand them accordingly! You can't make this kind of crackpot crazy up! I. JUST. CAN'T. As far as I know, the girl did not contract an STD or worse ended up pregnant only to be come the mother/ sister to her brother-incest child! It is pure luck that her once innocent soul was not forced to suffer any more than it already has been burdened with.

I could not express myself quite that bluntly on camera, as Zambia is still in the dark ages. We couldn't even use scientific, technical terms in order to really depict just how heinous a situation this poor young girl was in and what trauma she faced. I am known to not have any brakes, but I was not going to jeopardise the initiative by not finding a way to get this important message out. Her story was more important than any agenda of mine. I was quite annoyed I couldn't quite articulate myself as clearly and as freely  as censorship is a huge part of the problem.  We need to talk openly about sex because clearly we are having it and it was revealed as the Tikambe Natulande season unfolded that children much younger than 10 are experimenting, because we aren't creating safe spaces to chat about this natural and important part of our lives.  This is almost a year since I filmed the episode and I am still shaken, angry and disturbed that this is not a singular case, but there are thousands around the country being disciplined along this spectrum of sexual perversion in the name of tradition and good parenting.  This is not who we are.  We are so lost in Zambia that those with any sort of power abuse it in the most devious and evil ways. We have to do better.  What future do we have if our youth are continuously blighted by the most unnecessary of traumas. Unadulterated, blunt, uncensored truth serum is required to not only be  prescribed, but actually dispensed in bucketloads like Cod Liver Oil. Not teaspoons or tablespoons but bucketloads.  It won't go down well, but it will be good for us.  We just need to suck it up and get on with curing ourselves of this hush hush syndrome that is crippling us.

Here is the episode and you can watch the rest of the season on the Tikambe Natulande Channel:

If you would like to talk more about this, tweet me and for professional advice on sexual reproductive health issues and for resources near you in Zambia, contact the Tikambe team on Facebook or Twitter.

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