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Amma wondering . . .

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One of the recurring trends I encounter as a pedestrian, runner and cyclist in Harare is the whistling, heckling, and unwanted comments from men. The other day, I’d Finally Had Enough. The “Hey baby” shouted at me as I cycled through the shopping centre car park was the last straw. I took several deep breaths to fight back the urgent desire to turn my bike around and plough directly into the man who’d just called after me. And decided instead to turn to dialogue, in lieu of violence.

Back in the office, I made these small flyers, which I’ve been handing out to men whose behaviour warrants it.

Asi chii?!

The act of turning to the man who’s calling after me, handing them a flyer, and then carrying on along my way seems to completely disarm them.


On making them, I had braced myself for the unwelcome emails and text messages I thought I might receive. Interestingly, I’ve had not one reply. But if any of you blog readers in cyberspace have some thoughts, feel free to share them.

4 comments to “Amma wondering . . .”

  1. Comment by Natasha:

    You really got me in stitches, Amanda. I and I’m sure a lot of other women experience this on an almost daily basis. For my “unusually light” complexion, I have suffered insults and comments like ‘tomato salad, tsvukisto or mukaradhi (coloured)’ or worse, that I use skin lightners, some outrightly ask me what race I am. But never could I think of a way of getting back or at least, making myself feel better. Fliers seem to be a great idea, if only for self- gratification. I can almost envision the disarming effect…might consider making some for myself,

  2. Comment by Pamwechete:

    Got me in stiches as well. The one you probably need to experience is a Truck full of men in the back shouting all obscenities known to man. Especially construction men or those going to the industrial areas

  3. Comment by Tinashe:

    The ‘muveti’ component is historical and can be seen as a ‘street/populr’ language that has sevaeral uses. It is historical because the colonial economic/social/cultural/religious/language structure was violently shaped/fashiioned to create ‘priviledge’ for the ‘whites/muveti/murungu’. The word has almost been exorcised of its ‘racialised’ components now it is a class depiction. You are a ‘murung’ whether you are white/black/blue or green as long as there is some evidence you are relatively affording your life.Its no longer about the skin and therefore concluding that it is a racialised ‘lingua’ is rather limited if not erroneous.So the ‘murungu’ lingua is not preserved for a white person. In a way to ask ‘whether their skin matters’ is to ask the question: is the Zimbabwe political economy innocent of racialised patterns?

  4. Comment by Ziyanai Shiripinda-Chinyuku:

    Most of these men are not well mannered. They lack the basic necessities of modern civilisation. I think they get the ideas from wolves cries in the wilderness at night. Dzinongova mhuka.//