BY ZIFISO MASIYE
She was a sprightly, wide-eyed, stunning star with obvious dreams and aspirations flowing from the very pores of her velvet skin when I first met her. God, did I steal her dreams?
So, a rather unsettling experience has been doing the rounds on social media throughout March, the women’s month. It is the jolting brand and mixed grill of feelings it provokes, the range of emotions it evokes and the contrasting gender reactions it attracts that suggests to me the story might yet be another significant “woman-moment” of reflection.
Mosh Dliwayo is your prim and perfect debonair gentleman, an accomplished and hardworking family man. A loyal and faithful provider. They just don’t make husbands like him anymore! Nomonde is spoilt rotten. Even in her wildest of dreams she could never have wished for a better man in her life. Although she has a good job herself, Nomonde only works for fun. For never has she had to pay any bills since that ring wrapped her finger. To the detail of her very pads, nail polish, spa treats and wardrobe, Mrs Dliwayo’s entire life costs are competently and most willingly taken care of by her loving husband.
He has never quite known her income, nor insisted on any measure of accountability.
The few times Moshiwe tried to convince his wife to retire and enjoy the mansion he built her by the riverside in the suburbs, she screamed boredom. Yet always, she had moaned and maintained her salary was only a measly allowance which was never enough to cover her tithe and a couple of neighbourhood charities that she supported over the years. That too, he would occasionally supplement happily. For theirs was that power couple, the envy of many, pride of the church and model-union for young couples.
As fate would have it, Moshiwe, a jolly, trusting man who has never had reason to so much as touch his wife’s phone, happened to bump into her private chats with her dad. Except that his attention was drawn to development pictures of a beautiful, roof-level house therein, Mosh would not have read one line further.
Curious, the husband read through the chats and alas!
It is how Moshiwe Dliwayo first got to know that his angel wife of 17 years, Nomonde, had been funding the building of a massive house in a neighbouring suburb for her brother.
It is how Moshiwe discovered that his wife had been paying college fees for her siblings for years. That she paid so many living expenses for her siblings and more.
On further scrutiny, it is how Moshiwe got to know that what his faithful wife had always described as a miserable allowance was, in fact, a substantial salary capable of sustaining a whole family.
The rest, as they say, is history.
Moshiwe felt the weight of all 19 years of love and unrequited loyalty unbuckle his knees. All the trust had collapsed and with it, his huge frame too collapsed, throwing his wife’s phone away as if it was some repulsive monster. “No! I don’t know this woman!” Nomonde feels a tingling of guilt. Mosh feels robbed, emotionally drained. In fact, raped!
As the divorce proceedings unfold, you cannot mistake the sense of shock, the collective anger and utter dismay of all the men out there. I guess their pain and sense of betrayal is understandable. I guess their disgust and loss of faith in the very institution of marriage is justifiable. The Jury is out. The Men’s Conference is ceased with the angry question: Just how prevalent in our marriages is this Nomonde phenomenon?
Neither can you mistake the collective sense, not so much of shame as it is of anger at the negligence of one of their own, by the ladies. *Bathi uNomonde udlise iteam!* Just how could a woman so cheaply and so carelessly sell out such a long guarded secret of the kingdom of Eve?
We all emerge from the brutal innocence of childhood, the trusted embrace of our mothers and the blissful naivety of childhood relationships to dive head-on into the amazing industry of love. In all its glow and ambience, love is a decidedly dark industry and diverse cultures seem to agree that love is blind. “Induku enhle iganyulwa ezizweni”, is my own language’s celebration of love and marriage, which seems to underline the notion that love and marriage will thrive where your mind is numb to or casts a blind eye to those rough edges and the so-not-attractive characteristics of that apple of your eye… the less you know, the greater your love!
And that is as it should be. To love, one must love completely or not love at all. To renounce oneself and surrender to another. It is voluntary vulnerability only akin to God’s love. It is the only human relationship which you only enter by falling in. You don’t walk in or get in love. No. You fall in love!
Yet we are all human. As we mature in love and marriage, the slumber and romantic fairytale of our schoolyard dreams must fizzle off and give way to the reality that marriage is a human contract like any other.
There is no defending Nomonde for her hurtful dishonesty and betrayal of love, the marriage accord is not a Zanu/Zapu unity disagreement. Yet in all its beautiful unifying spirit, parties to a marriage contract do not cease to have and to harbour personal ambitious and aspirations that may be independent of the specified interests of the union.
Growing up, like every other child, I dreamt of a good job, of building a big house for my mom and buying a nice car for my dad. This dream is not a male dream. It is every child’s dream. As much a boy dream as it is every girl’s dream!
I haven’t achieved it and it still inspires me every day. Yet I know many of my accomplished male buddies have fulfilled that and many of their growing-up dreams. To what extent does the marriage institution allow the girl dreams, the personal ambitious of the girl child to be fulfilled compared to those of the boys?
When married men build beautiful homes for their parents and treat them to great holidays, they feed a long-cherished, deep personal need of theirs. They feel a great sense of accomplishment and personal gratification.
They tick boxes that have been nursed for all their lives. They receive great validation, family and social approval.
Indeed, it always comes with a lot of praise for their wives, for the beautiful gestures that any man performs are oft attributed to the woman and the quality of wife he married. This is good.
Yet Nomonde too has the very same dreams for herself and her people; boxes that may remain unticked to her grave. Who gets to decide if, when and how Nomonde too must fulfil her own dream? Or how much of it?
Do Nomonde’s dreams feature anywhere in the marriage contract or did the 10 cows that bought her also bury her girl dreams?
Must Mosh Dliwayo curse love for the loss of trust?
I don’t know.
Happy Easter All.
- Zii Masiye also writes on social media as Balancing Rocks email@example.com