“Behind every successful man lurks a truly amazed ex-mother-in-law”
Earlier this week, I received an intriguing email from a prospective Mrs. Bitchless. I must say, I have been getting a lot of inquisitive emails lately but this one stands out owing to its precision and succinctness. The email reads:
I am one of the ladies angling to become your better half. I feel a part of you in me every time I go to bed and every time I wake up, and it is this burning feeling that convinces me that I am the lady that you are looking for. But here is a question; would you consider chikamwini? Some of us are Chewa and like to keep it traditional, you know? I will be waiting to hear from you.
Soon to be yours,
-Ivy (From Ntandile)
Interesting question, Ivy. Before I formulate my response, I need to admit that your question has caught me unaware. At my age, I have been asked lots of questions pertaining to my marital prospects but not this one. But, since you’ve asked, I’ll give you feedback anyway.
Here is the deal. Beyond information gathered from hearsay and our misguided media, chikamwini has always been an unfamiliar tradition to me because I grew up in the north where I never saw it in practice. However, this changed last year when I was deployed to do covert operations on the pretext of “community development work” in a random village in rural Blantyre for a year. While in rural Blantyre, I saw chikamwini unfold and got the opportunity to analyze and comprehend its different nuances and dynamics. For this reason, I can boldly guarantee that my response will be based on what I observed during my one year stay in a village that practices chikamwini NOT the mere wish-washy, book-based, mundane property-grabbing mythology, and emotional ridden arguments that most feminist keyboard warriors use to comment on [read: support] chikamwini.
Here goes my response:
Chikamwini is terrible. A matrilineal system, chikamwini breaks men and jeopardizes their moral resistance to degenerative hobbies such as alcoholism and petty gambling. I challenge you to visit any random village that practices chikamwini. What you will find are gangs of lowlife drunk akamwinis who care less about long-term prospects of their respective communities. Now, most feminist keyboard warriors will tell you that the reason why most akamwinis get shitfaced on a daily basis is that they are selfish, lazy, narrow-minded bastards. This is nothing but a blatant lie. Having guzzled gallons of kachasu with these men on a daily basis and got to know them better, I’ve embraced a new understanding of their daily struggles. I’ve discovered that chikamwini robs men of their natural drive to build and nurture something they can own and control. I mean the drive to own shit and be productive.
When a man is brought to an unfamiliar environment where he has to toil under his illiterate mother-in-law’s whimsical leadership, where he knows that his visa could be revoked any moment, his ability to make feasible long-term strategic plans for the advancement of his family gets compromised. When a man relocates to his wife’s compound, all of a sudden, he is forced to make decisions that impress a number of women: his wife, his mother-in-law and her siblings, and his noisy sister-in-laws. If a family feud erupts among these women (and they do quite often), the man gets involved one way or another. This problem is compounded by the fact that school completion among women in rural areas in the southern region, where chikamwini is a norm, is pathetic. A result of all this is that a simple man is put in a precarious position where he has to impress 3+ uneducated and therefore illogical women!
The majority of married men out there can relate with the difficulty of impressing one educated woman. For this reason, it makes sense that impressing 3+ uneducated women is a burden that the fickle shoulders of a random mkamwini cannot withstand. When you consider that, in addition to the pressure of handling 3+ uneducated women, the mkamwini has to keep in mind that divorce will mean losing any fixed asset that he may plant at his wife’s compound, you understand why men crumble under chikamwini. No wonder, like a foreign investor caught in an unstable political economy, the mkamwini refrains from initiating long-term investments that could overturn his family’s fortunes. And so, to numb his frustration, the mkamwini adopts base hobbies such as senseless gambling and chugging Super Midoli.
That being said, would Mr. Bitchless consider chikamwini? His response is that unless a woman can provide strong evidence that her mother and sisters have a life or that she is comfortable with a lackadaisical husband, he wouldn’t. Mr. Bitchless totally respects a woman’s predilection to keep it traditional. However, to fulfil her desire to become Mrs. Bitchless, the woman has to forfeit her strong attachment to chikamwini and allow Mr. Bitchless to buy her the northern way. After all, it’s highly likely that her folks at home would do with two or three cows.