MARRIAGE is considered to be a critical institution of the community as that cultural process, which ushers in new life uniting families of different backgrounds.
BY WINSTONE ANTONIO
The type, functions, and characteristics of marriage vary from culture to culture, and can change over time.
Locally, there are three types of marriages, namely civil marriage (Chapter 5:11), registered customary marriage and unregistered customary marriage.
The significance of knowing one’s marriage type and the importance of a wife in the upkeep of a family are coming out as the dominant themes in last week’s fourth episode of the Shelea radio drama airing on a local radio station that chronicles the struggles and triumphs of women in contemporary society.
Written by Sitshengisiwe Olinda Siziba (pictured) and produced by Patsimeredu Edutainment Trust, the drama which airs every Thursday, is part of a She-Leads project being spearheaded by Hivos in partnership with the Irish embassy in Pretoria, South Africa.
In last week’s fourth episode, the drama opens with a conversation between Mai Praise and husband Jakarasi, who is also a councillor, as he sets to leave home for a rally.
The couple’s conversation confirms the importance of a wife in the upkeep of a family and also endorsing the adage that says behind the success of a man, there is a woman evidenced by Jakarasi’s request to his wife to write him the rally speech.
“Where are you going dressed like Father Christmas? You want to be standing in front of the people resembling that typical joker on the playing cards? You can’t see that your dressing is not proper? That is the reason why people give you so many nicknames simply because of that,” she said.
“Do you have time to ask others about yourself? It is important to know what people say about your personality.”
In his response, Jakarasi says he was not bothered about what people think about his personality.
“I don’t have time for gossip, do you think as a councillor I should be bothered to ask what people in the society will be saying about me? Those will be acts of gossip, which I leave up to you since you have nothing to do,” he said.
“On a serious note, Mai Praise, can you help me? I want to go, but I have nothing to tell to the people. I am the councillor and you are the councillor’s wife councillor, just write for me, my wife, it is good for us all.”
In this episode, Jakarasi’s wife is portrayed as someone, who has always been a pillar of strength and instrumental in facilitating the execution of her husband’s duties as a councillor.
The wife is, however, frustrated by the husband’s insistence that she must not go to work, but instead toil for only for the growth of his political career relegating her to house chores.
In this regard, Mai Praise has no kind words for her husband as she requests to be given a chance to exercise her rights to at least go to work.
“You are Jakarasi the councillor, why can’t you just write your own speech? “You want to use me out of sight, under the water like a submarine while you get the applause from the society and you don’t want the world to notice my efforts, no,” she said.
“You don’t appreciate, Baba Praise, I would rather use my ideas that I always share with you to look for an appropriate job so that I am recognised by Nssa under pensioners, not the domestic labour, unpaid household work that you always want me to do for you.”
The episode also touches on the perceived issues that are discussed at kitchen parties in a conversation between Shelea Gore (the main character) and her maid, identified as Sisi Kiri, who was of the view that only sexual-themed issues are discussed at such gatherings.
As part of their discussion, Shelea tells Sisi Kiri how the hosting of kitchen parties has been revamped and modernised to not only focus on sexual issues as the dominant themes.
“When did you last attend kitchen parties, Sisi Kiri? These days at kitchen parties they are inviting guest speakers from different professions such as lawyers and accountants, who can share nuggets from their respective professions,” she said.
“For instance, an accountant can provide you with a range of advice. I never knew how important it was to keep a record of cash used after shopping. I only learnt about that after attending a kitchen party and I then stopped my habit of impulsive buying without budget.”
Shelea adds that it was after attending a kitchen party that she came to know of some types of marital unions that are recognised in the country.
“At some kitchen parties, lawyers are invited for the people to understand the types of their marriages. There is civil marriage which is registered under marriage Act chapter 5:11, this used to be chapter 37. This entitles one man and one woman. This marriage is not easily ended, as it can only be terminated by an order of the high Court as it has a marriage certificate,” she said.
“There is also customary marriage, this is also registered under marriage act chapter 5:07 and it has a marriage certificate too, but you can be allowed to upgrade to chapter 5:11. This one is potentially polygamous as the husband can be able to marry another woman, but the woman cannot be allowed to do the same as she can be sued. There is also the unregistered customary law union. I learnt all these at a kitchen party.”
The fascinating drama follows the story of a young female politician, Shelea, who faces hurdles as she tries to balance between being a wife and mother at the same time rising to power and making a difference in her community.
The drama’s cast includes award-winning actress Caroline Mashingaidze, veteran actor Nash Mphepo, Siziba, Nobert Makoche, Magenga, Shahmaine Mukutirwa and Farirai Mhuru.