12 October 2017

South Africa: Male Politicians Send a Message That a Culture of Violence and Dominance Is Acceptable

opinion

There is a disturbing pattern in men who are in power and the masculinity that men in Africa practice. It is aggressive, wholly self-serving and intolerant of difference and opposition.

As a Zimbabwean, I've coined a phrase that encapsulates what's so frustrating about Zimbabwean men. I call it "ndini ndinoziva" or "I'm the one who knows". A ndini ndinoziva mentality speaks to the belief that they are the only ones who are the sole guardians of knowledge, wisdom and power. No one but them can lead because they are the only ones who know how to lead. No one is as intelligent as them because they are the most intelligent, period. They and those who think like them enjoy exercising control over their underlings, with no room for negotiation or debate. It's a mentality I'm very familiar with, from family life, to the church, to political leaders.

Nowhere does this mentality play itself out quite like in politics. Already a space that lends itself to theatrics and showmanship, it's a breeding ground for men steeped in a patriarchal culture that instils an unshakeable entitlement to authority and power. However, to ascribe this line of thinking to all men is inaccurate....

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