Child Marriages In Makaha Pushing Girls To The Edge

Adolescent pregnancies are a global problem occurring in high, middle, and low-income countries

The continuous occurrence of child marriages in Zimbabwe has left the girl child with no other choice but to succumb to living a life of pain and misery. Extreme poverty, lack of knowledge of both sexual reproductive health and educational services as well as backward cultural and religious beliefs being experienced in the country’s rural communities are pushing girls to the edge. Girls as young as 12 years are getting married in search of better lives.

Although some of the girls might be considered fortunate to be married off to mature and understanding men, others usually find themselves in the wrong hands. Despite living in good conditions the young girls’ lives and health are risked the moment they become pregnant.

Adolescent pregnancies are a global problem occurring in high, middle, and low-income countries. However, they are more likely to occur in a country’s marginalized communities, commonly driven by poverty and lack of education and employment opportunities which push young girls into early marriages in search of a better living or as a way of escaping from the harsh reality they encounter. This is the case in Zimbabwe’s Mashonaland East province’s remote areas.  For instance, in Makaha motherhood is often valued and marriage and childbearing may be the best of the limited options available for the young helpless girls.

Statistics on maternal mortality have shown how societies have failed young women, as many die each year from complications of pregnancy and childbirth. According to the fifth annual State of the World’s Mothers report, published by the international charity Save the Children, 13 million births (a tenth of all births worldwide) each year are to women aged under 20, and more than 90% of these births are in developing countries. Obstructed labour was found to be common in teenage girls, resulting in an increased risk of infant death and of maternal death or disability.

Early pregnancies among adolescents have major health consequences for adolescent mothers and their babies. Pregnancy and childbirth complications are the leading cause of death among girls under the age of 18, with low- and middle-income countries accounting for 99% of global maternal deaths of women aged 15–49 years. Adolescent mothers aged 10–19 years face higher risks of eclampsia, puerperal endometritis and systemic infections than women aged 20–24 years. While complications during childbirth account for almost 25 per cent of newborn deaths, preterm delivery and low birth weight being some of the other reasons for deaths among infants born to adolescent mothers.

“Immature reproductive tract compromise the health of the pregnant adolescents. Early childbirths alienate girls from experiencing a normal childhood and sometimes they end up undergoing unsafe abortions. These abortions have overwhelming consequences such as cervical tearing, perforated uterus, haemorrhage, chronic pelvic infection, infertility, and death,” said a nurse from Mudzi’s local clinics during an interview.

Listen here

As one of the cultural factors that work against adolescent women child marriage weakens the girl child. Girls married under the age of 18 report being less able than older married women to discuss contraceptive use with their husbands. Thus they end up bearing children at an early age. For instance, in Makaha – one of Mudzi’s rural communities, where child marriage is prevalent, half of the population of all teenage girls give birth before turning 18 years.

Meanwhile, social consequences for unmarried pregnant adolescents may include stigma, rejection or violence by partners, parents and peers. Also, adolescent pregnancy and childbearing often lead girls to drop out of school, although the government allowed pregnant girls to be allowed to go to school, this may jeopardize the girl child’s future education and employment opportunities as it can be difficult for young pregnant mothers to participate or concentrate with school while pregnant.

Adolescent pregnancy and childbearing often leads girls to drop out of school

During the early part of the Millennium Development Goals era, prevention of adolescent pregnancy and related mortality and morbidity and prevention of HIV and HIV related mortality in adolescents and young people were not given sufficient attention due to competing priorities. However, the World Health Organisation (WHO) worked with partners to advocate for attention to adolescents, to build the evidence and epidemiologic base for activities such as “WHO’s Guidelines for preventing early pregnancy and poor reproductive outcomes in adolescents in developing countries”, to develop and test programme support tools, to build capacity, and to pilot initiatives in the small but growing number of countries that recognised the need to address adolescent health.

Although adolescents have moved to the centre of the global health and development agenda as a result of the transitioning of the world to the Sustainable Development Goals Era, gender inequities continue to greatly risk girls lives than boys and are affecting many aspects of young women’s lives including reduced opportunities for education, employment, and control over their own reproductive health.

Hence, the reproductive health of adolescent women depends on biological, social, cultural, and economic factors. And more educational programmes that provide education, family planning services, and pre-and postnatal care must be conducted to reduce morbidity and mortality among young women.

Listen here

WHO continues its work on advocacy, evidence generation, tool development and capacity building, the focus has shifted to strengthening country-level action. It is working closely with partners within and outside the United Nations system to contribute to the global effort to prevent children from becoming wives and mothers.

The World Health Organisation works to strengthen the evidence base for action and to support the application of the evidence through well-designed and well-executed national and sub-national programmes. For example, it’s a partnership with the UNICEF, UNFPA and UN Women on a global programme to accelerate action to end child marriage and its collaboration with Family Planning 2020 ─ a global partnership in which it aimed to enable 120 million more women and girls to have access to contraceptives by 2020.

Nongovernmental organizations have been at forefront of efforts to prevent adolescent pregnancy in many countries through bold and innovative projects. There is now a small but growing number of successful government-led national programmes, for example, in Chile, Ethiopia and the United Kingdom. These countries show what can be achieved with the application of good science combined with strong leadership, management, and perseverance. They challenge and inspire other countries to do what is doable and what urgently needs to be done.


“Daddy Devil & Uncle Demon”- The dark spiritual side of dancehall music

A few years ago, the Jamaican Dancehall community caught the attention of the media when Tommy Lee and his mentor, Vybz Kartel, released two singles titled “Uncle Demon” and “Daddy Devil” respectively.

We all know some of the lyrical content these people sing is downright creepy, but there is a rising trend of occult themes in dancehall culture.

Some people believe listening to “Daddy Devil” virtually has no spiritual impact on the listener. Everyone basically believes that the Rastafarian religion is the religion of dancehall, but few people would dare to assume that we become Rasta by listening to Sizzla. How then can it have any impact if it is just entertainment?

Vybz Kartel has publicly admitted that he does not believe in God. That should be reason enough for Christians to know that there is danger of his music being influenced by another power, but how does christianity relate with Dancehall culture? Let us go back and dig into the history of this music.

Hedley Jones, the former president of the Jamaican Federation of Musicians, traces the origins of Jamaican dancehall to the slave trade era of the 1700’s. The slaves that were taken to Jamaica came from West Africa.

The African slaves brought into their work the traditional “call and response” folk music, these work songs formed the basis for Mento, the forerunner of Ska music, Ska laid the foundation for the emanation of modern dancehall music.

Christianity’s advent came to West Africa on a sour note, the Europeans were chiefly occupied with slave trade rather than evangelization. The slave industry in turn had an effect on West African culture.

In his book, “Wake The Town and Tell the People”, Norman Stolzoff accentuates the fact that Mento was “a syncretic blending of African and European cultural forms.”

Slavery haunts the dancehall scene to this day, this is why Sonjah Nadine Stanley-Niaah defines dancehall music as “a tool of articulation for…inner city dwellers”.

Dancehall is an expression of ghetto culture – ghetto culture would not exist if the wealth of Africa had been retained by its people. Culture and religion are inseparable. Researchers and historians will agree that the same kinds of worship within traditional music are still evident in modern music.

This is why one would not be too surprised by “Daddy Devil” and “Uncle Demon”. That music has always been there. Before eyes jut out of their sockets in shock, hear the untold story behind the history of the music.

Plato notes that the music forms found in West Africa have their origins in Egypt. Egyptian music is largely influenced by the nation’s religion, Egyptian religion has its footing in spiritualism, which also happens to be the groundwork for all kinds of devil worship and spiritualism is the practice of communicating with the dead.

In the Bible, the children of Israel carved out a golden calf to worship when Moses delayed in the mountain, this god was the Egyptian god Apis, who had a white triangle on his forehead.

The children of Israel began to dance to the music of Egypt. When Moses and Joshua were coming down from the mountain, Joshua thought the music was a noise from war in the camp. Moses had grown up in Egypt and he knew that sound all too well:

And he said, it is not the voice of them that shout for mastery, neither is it the voice of them that cry for being overcome: but the noise of them that sing do I hear. (Exodus 32:18)

In other words, the Egyptian music sounded like a noise of war because it had a heavy rhythm.  This emphasis on heavy rhythm has been amplified today through technology.

How does this tie in with dancehall culture? The culture and music of Egypt were a vehicle for Egyptian forms of worship. In the same way, modern dancehall music carries religious world views and ideologies.

No man gets into a studio to sing about the devil for no apparent reason. According to the Bible, there is a spiritual realm where forces of good and evil are wrestling for human hearts. Nothing happens by accident. All that we see in the music industry either comes from God or from Satan. The Dark Side of Dancehall is explicitly plain.

Not all artistes sing about the devil. Does that mean a different force inspires them altogether? What is dancehall music itself?

To be continued…


Watch the YouTube video here:

Gender based violence misunderstood by many


By Rumbidzai Zijena

16 days of activism also known as ‘orange days’, have been set aside to fight against Gender based violence on the 25th of every month starting November 25 for Zimbabweans.

A street dance and a food for thought session were put together and made possible by a consortium of organisations i.e. UN Women, Tag A Life International (TALI), Gender Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark (DANIDA) and Padare men’s forum; just to name a few.

The main aim of these functions was to create awareness about issues causing gender based violence and to offer solutions and promote freedom of expression for women and girls all over the world

The street dance was conducted by feminist, gender activist Tendai Garwe and company at Copacabana bus terminus, yesterday, music was played and people danced for prizes.

During the course of the function Tendai went on to say women have rights and they have the right to put on what they want to i.e. miniskirts, shorts and should not oppressed or judged because of it. “All the jeering and shouting that women are forced to withstand has to stop, men put on their vests and no one judges or mocks them for it”.

Gender based violence is a phenomenon misunderstood by many, most people associate GBV with physical abuse only, whereas its open to emotional and economic abuse.

‘Economic abuse is whereby men do not want women to succeed so as to control them’, said Walter Vengesai, programmes officer at PADARE men’s forum.

Jane Marimo-Stoving a GBV victim from Denmark attended the Food for thought session and told her story on how she suffered from emotional and economic abuse at the hands of her first husband who never wanted to see her empowered and called her all sort of names.

‘When my husband dumped me for another, I decided to take care of my 5 kids through selling kachasu, but when he discoverd that, he threatened to report m to the police then I stopped’, said Jane

She went on to say, ‘I decided to use the machine he had bought me earlier in our marriage to sew aprons for sale but my husband confiscated the machine saying I was not worth of using it.

Her husband cheated on her and it emotionally wrecked her as she had never thought of sharing her husband with anyone.

‘I cried for days and had sleepless nights, that’s when I decided enough was enough and decided to move on with my life’

Jane is now happily married to a Danish man and they have 2 kids together.

Walter highlighted that African men lack real role models; most of them follow in the footsteps of their fathers who have been far from being perfect that is why it is difficult to prevent violence against women.

He went on to say, “You only live one life, if the situation is not comfortable for you move on, as much as you want marriage to work do not sacrifice your life over a marriage that is not worth it.

The patriarchal system is the major component that is leading to domestic violence, man are born with privileges and women are there as facilitators, the woman’s role becomes minor as she has no say, power and control over issues.

Whilst interviewing men from the streets of Harare, the excuses most men gave in relation to why they do not want women empowered was that ‘as man’, they are the head of the family and the woman’s role is minor so women should always be submissive to men,

However there are other men who admitted to being good to their wives and shunned from being violent towards them settling  matters amicably.




Objectification of Women in Urban Grooves Music Videos Unacceptable‏

By Mthabisi Onias Ndlovu

Music contributes in people’s lives in many ways. While some gets emotional comfort, others are being misdirected by the fake realities they see in the music videos they watch everyday.

Music, which to a larger extent acts as a socialising tool, mentors society and shapes the interpretations of reality can also play a negative influence that cultivates rebellion against normative lifestyles and belief systems.

Among the many influences of music that society witnesses is fashion, lifestyle and the sudden change of language accent among youths including issues to do with gender stereotypes.

A lot of young people nowadays enjoy listening to American hip-hop music, admiring the ‘sexy’ women in skimpy lingerie dancing next to guys smoking and drinking in front of a sparkling Bugatti. One thing young people miss from those explicit American videos is the symbolism that reinforces gender stereotypes and not the good life picture they admire.

A lot of Hip-hop music videos often depict women in degrading ways that is far from reality. In these videos women are over sexualised in their dressing and dance moves.

They are also objectified, portrayed as subordinate to men, with outward appearance seen more imperative than their intelligence, opinions and contributions. These videos also portray them as sexual beings that are immoral and are brainwashed into thinking this kind of behaviour is good when they are actually selling themselves short.

One hip-hop musician known as Trip Lee, recently posted on his Facebook page sparking a conversation when he said, “I’m tired of seeing commercials and music videos where women are treated like props instead of people.”

Social media users responded in support of the celeb’s dissatisfaction saying woman should also play a role in deconstructing such stereotypes by avoiding to present themselves as props.

The trend has not only influenced behaviour patterns in youths but has also been adopted by local dancehall artistes who besides promoting drug abuse and violence are also going a step further to show semi naked women gyrating in front of men.

It seems in this generation a music video without some women dancing around in it, even if the song has nothing to do with women and girls, won’t sale.

While gender stereotypes have always existed in our society, one would expect music to counter and educate people against it but in this case it is even promoting and amplifying thus doing a disfavour to societal development.

Some of these gender stereotypes, among many others, include the portrayal of women in music videos as playing a less significant role reduced to fulfilling men’s needs like in one of Buffalo souljah’s recent videos with former Big Brother representative, Maneta Mazanhi portraying such a role in the song ‘Soja Riripo.’

The effects of such videos are then felt in real life with women and girls being forced in some way and expected to perform the roles prescribed by those videos.

It is important that parents and society play an effective role in monitoring what their children consume from early stages and socialise their children to grow up valuing the role women play in our societies in a respectably fair manner that we would all wish to see our daughters being represented.

‘Township Tourism’ Still to Bear Fruit Two Years On.

Situated in Mbare is Zimbabwe’s largest curio market where you find traditional artifacts such as mortars and pestles, mbira instruments,beads among other traditional artworks.

A mere glimpse at the building that houses the curio market which is near the bus terminus reveals aspects of  the country’s culture which is a vital cog in the tourism sector.

The Zimbabwe Sentinel had a chance to ask the curio hawkers and some of the producers of the traditional artifacts on how the business is faring.

As Gogo  Annamore Chivizhe(72)narrates, she points to a  waning business when compared to the recent past.

“When I was still young this place was indeed a tourist attraction. Many foreigners   would frequent the place to buy traditional artifacts but all that changed at the turn of the millennium owing to the sour relationship between the country and the West,” recalls Gogo Chivizhe.

She said she is into pottery a talent she learnt from her mother while in her rural area in Wedza which is about 127 kilometres south ofHarare.

“It was some years ago after learning to make clay pots and hawkers used to frequent our area to buy our clay pots for selling at thismarket. I then decided to come to Harare and establish my own  stall where I now sell  my products,” said the affable Chivizhe as she pointed to her neatly displayed  clay pots.

For Gogo Chivizhe business was brisk and she was able to build her own house in the sprawling suburb of Epworth.

All her four children were able to attend schools up to ordinary levels through the income she was getting from the sale of these wares.

In 2012, the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority launched ‘Township Tourism’ amid pomp and fanfare an event which was officially opened by  vice president Joyce Mujuru.

One young curio hawker who identified himself as  Gerald says that the event was a mere grandstanding that has not yielded anything yet.

“From my own understanding  this place falls under the township tourism they launched last year.

“But the hullabaloo has not translated into tangible things yet, still very few tourists are visiting the place,” argued Gerald.

Gerald even confirmed to this reporter he was among those people who were bailed out by the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority last year just after UNWTO General Assembly in Victoria Fall after they had incurred huge losses when they had anticipated a  business boon of their arts

A basket weaver from Chitungwiza said the low inflow of foreign tourists has rendered her business unviable as she have to incur huge costs of transporting the baskets to the curio market.

“Most hawkers no longer come to buy our baskets their as it will make their business less profitable. We have now resorted to exhibition where we expose ourselves to international markets, ”said Stembile Ncube.

This reporter spoke at length with Stephen Chifunyise, a cultural guru who acknowledged that arrival of foreign  tourists who buy art products have plummeted over the years.

“Tourists used to be the main buyers of art products and the number seen been reduced and that have led to the prices of artworks to fall.

“Moreso ,a number of agencies used to visit Zimbabwe and they would buy artwork from artists  then sell them overseas but now they are now few, ”said Chifunyise.

“The few that have left are most from South Africa who buy the products here cheap and then sell  them abroad ,”he added.

He said there is the need to start afresh on new marketing gimmick to sustain the arts sector again.

Harare’s Public Displays of Affection- a Little Overboard?

We have all indulged in a bit of public affection at some point in our lives. The question is how much public affection is too much and where does we draw the line?

Acceptable displays of affection vary between cultures as well as to time and context.

Walking in the streets of Harare one gets to experience a wide range of public affections. Public City parks such as the Harare Gardens and Africa Unity Square are now popular meeting places for city lovers.

School children pass by in the park witnessing the uncomfortable moments of what should be done under closed doors.

It’s no longer surprising to see students busking in the sun or engaging in public displays of affection in the parks.

Holding hands is a classic and old fashioned way of showing care, but it also impedes pedestrian  traffic especially on pavements.

It would be better if lovers held hands to cross the road or to change direction. So long it does not  make other people uncomfortable.

My heart is overwhelmed when I see an older couple holding hands on a park bench, or a newlywed couple sharing a short kiss.

It is the romantic in me that feels proud to witness such sincere display of affections. Long drawn kisses even when shared at weddings tend to make people cringe. So perhaps  brief kisses are better.

Unless you are licking an ice-cream cone, it is preferable to keep your tongue in your mouth.

Hugs have also become acceptable in public. However they must be kept brief and precise. Hands must be kept off the belt line too if you don’t want to attract unnecessary attention.

As much as couples would want to say affectionate words to their loved ones, they should keep it low.  For instance shouting  ‘I love you’ might draw people’s attention, but when whispered nicely in the ear of your love it probably results in the same end effect, making your loved one smile.

Declaring  ‘I want you’ in public spheres will no doubt make others uncomfortable. Especially if it appears as though its not directed to anyone in particular. No one wants to know that you having urges in front of them.

Is Twitter for the intellectuals?

Social media in Zimbabwe  has for years been commonly associated with Facebook to the extent that most ordinary people do not even understand other social media networks including Twitter. Could it be that it is complicated?

During a Social Media Bootcamp organised by Media Centre at Pandhari Hotel, NewsDay’s Online Editor,John Mokwetsi sparked debate among participants when he said, “Twitter was for elites”. Twitter has a totally new language of hash tags, DMs (direct messages) and retweets that makes it appear like a complicated tool.

Chido Musodza one of the participants dismissed the claims saying, “Twitter is not for intellectuals or elitists, more stupid things are said on twitter, people should not be intimidated by twitter, I leant on my own how to use twitter, just engage”.

Twitter is more functional on smart phones, thus the intellectuals are most likely to afford it, unlike the Zimbabwean majority who have phones that are not internet compatible.

“Facebook has a more casual feel”, said John Mokwetsi, being the reason why most people subscribe to it.

The 140 character limit is quite discouraging on twitter.

Nigel Mugamu the founder and host of 263Chat stated that twitter require instant and substantial comments.

Sir Nigel encouraged the participants which composed of journalists, activists and civil society representatives to play around twitter to get to understand it better to enhance their audience.

“Econet and Telecel need to have social media bundles that will increase the numbers that use twitter and other social network as YouTube, people would rather sign up for social media that is Facebook and Whatsapp because of the cheaper bundle tariffs”, highlighted Nigel.

Screen Shot 2014-07-21 at 9.02.41 AM
Econet twitter announcement.

Yesterday Econet Wireless through its official Twitter  handle announced ,’Now you can access twitter for free for a month. Offer available to all Econet broadband customers’. This will encourage more people to participate on Twitter.

Facebook has been around for longer, 15 or more years, thus equals to more subscribers than twitter which is a new social media to the Zimbabweans .

‘People freely express their selves on twitter than on Facebook when it comes to political issues, said Nigel the founder of 263Chat.

Privilege Musvanhiri, online editor at the Zimbabwe Mail advised journalists and the general public to have a desire to learn about social media, he also stated that there is no need to go to school and learn about social media, ‘ just engage and spark a conversation’.

To better appreciate twitter one must first ‘un think’ of it as a Facebook competitor and think of it as a ‘news feed’, that way twitter can be appreciated better.

The Health Hazards of Wearing Make Up

According to Kim Erickson, author of the book ’Drop Dead Gorgeous: Protecting yourself from the hidden dangers of cosmetics.  ‘Modern cosmetics contain a host of dubious ingredients which would be more at home in a test tube than on some ones face. Are these things we call beauty products actually a death sentence?’ Most of the products we use nowadays for ‘better sanitary’ are actually making us sick. These products range from deodorant, body sprays, skin lotions to hair sprays, face powders and even mascaras.

The things we apply are absorbed by the skin, enter the bloodstream  and may cause illnesses we do not understand.  For example they can affect internal organs which may trigger allergies and cause hormone disruption.  These in most cases start as minor ailments such as an itch from a recurring rash. This may be the body showing signs of rejecting the elements in the products we are using but we dismiss this as a mosquito bite or such. It is like our own daily dose of poison. ”Makeup accentuates my features, it brings out the intensity of my eyes ” this said by one of the women who loves to wear makeup. Is it worth it? Is being beautiful on the outside worth the failing of a liver?

The street market has further worsened this situation in Zimbabwe as these products are being sold cheaply on street corners. Questions arise as to whether they are the same as the ones being sold in shops. In any event, once you purchase the ‘street make up’ it is hard to come back and claim compensation for an allergic reaction. These are the questions people do not bother to ask themselves before purchasing these products.  The Zimbabwe Republic Police have tried to curb the situation but these products and their distributors resurface in the name of making a living.

One Police officer goes on to say, “’These products are deadly and greatly hazardous to health so we are trying by all means to eradicate these unlicensed sellers and their products off the streets” He goes on to say “these people who sell on the street are actually crippling the market for store owners” and as we ourselves can conclude that this is actually hurting our economy and worsening the tear of unemployment in our society. So it is left to the passersby who embrace the cheap cosmetics without considerations of their health. Local pharmacists posit the notion that indeed most products sold on the street may be hazardous to health as some may be fabricated and possess a similar label to the original but do not actually contain it.

One pharmacist who chose to remain anonymous stated that most forms of makeup may be equally hazardous to one’s health.  It however also depends on frequency of use, allergic reaction or dosages of toxic components. For example lipsticks contain lead which may be hazardous to health if put in large doses when making the lipstick. Similarly skin lightening creams contain mercury which may be lethal.  So one should take extra care and check ingredients before use. Or at least be certain that they are buying a certified product.

by Rumbidzai Zijena 


NO MORE FLOCKING TO THE LIBRARY? Books Vs the Internet in Zimbabwe.

It is safe to say the internet has increasingly challenged the importance of  books in the 21st century.  This is because the internet now provides information that was previously the preserve of  books at a much faster rate and in quicker summary. So for many Zimbabweans it appears that there is no more flocking to the libraries or  long queues to purchase a bestseller but rather at the click of a button all the information concerning a topic, an individual and even scholars to accompany any theory are made available.

This has been lauded as a good thing. Particularly because it allows for greater access to information through internet. But there is another side to it.   The internet however good it may be, has also caused a massive disruption  in the culture of reading. Because information is readily available on the net, reading habits for educational, social and entertainment purposes have changed dramatically. It all requires little or no effort from the scholar or researcher . Furthermore, while the internet has devised a new efficient way of online sales where people can buy and sell without crossing any borders let alone their outside door, it has made the traditional book less valuable.

Hence the children of today no longer know the value of books, journal and diaries which in past year were valued  heirlooms (hand-me-downs) between generations.  Books were and are probably still timeless,  as the information was preserved for decades. According to a few street side booksellers in Harare, demand for books is almost non-existent these days and as a result book sales are very low.

A Harare City librarian, who requested anonymity, similarly points out that borrowers and readers of books have decreased significantly. This in turn has caused  them to reduce the number of new books that they purchase as well as the fee charged to read and borrow books.  The internet has converted novels into online reads, newspapers into blogs.  Not even the intimacy of a physical love letter has been spared.  Email and chats have become the new medium of expressions of love and affection.

Zimbabwean bookshops ,paper companies and even traditional writers have been pushed into bankruptcy as the print industry becomes less profitable. As it is, perhaps the internet may be more efficient but it has made reading less of a long term pastime. It has not spared the education curriculum nor will it spare the traditional literature book. Nothing is  written down these days..ever.

Zim Male Short Hairstyles: Fashion Statement or Mere Convenience?

A majority of  Zimbabwean men generally prefer short brush cut hair  over other adventurous hairstyles. Can this be said to be their independent sentiment or rather the way in which they have been socialised. Most African expectations especially from the parents dictate a ‘son’ should be a leader, exemplary in the way they conduct themselves; and this may not go well with society if a male child prefers ‘dreadlocks!’ to say the least.

Similarly as a young Harare businessman  views it , ‘’if a black man is to work at a non-black organisation he must be perceived as clean cut and non-threatening which entails a clean and neat haircut amongst other characteristics.’’

That can be taken to mean that looking professional equals ‘short hair for men’, but is this entirely true? Can one not look professional with neatly kept dreads or even an afro? Interviewing more individuals and the question  of hairstyles as reflective of economic cost emerges.Some men prefer or rather opt for short brush cut hair because, “it offers a stylish look at a very cheap cost and is low maintenance.  But can we say these men are ‘lazy’ and do not want to make an effort with their appearance? Or are they actually running away from the stereotype attached to long hair, dreadlocks, braids and afros?  Which is in most cases associated with criminals, thugs and laziness.Another man went on to say,  “short hair is a quick and cheap way of maintaining hair and so as to overally feel comfortable. Í dislike spending minutes when combing my hair, that’s why I keep my hair short.  However fashion dictates too, seeing pictures of my dad when they were young with the afro, which was a fashion trend in those days’’.By saying this can we assume that the ‘short’ brush cut hair is a fashion trend of the 21st century or it is rather a neutral stance to the Mohawk hairstyle of today? This brings to rise the issue of whether this short hair is kept by the conventional/professional man or is it for the elderly who feel they are mature and should conduct themselves as such.

In response, an elderly man told this reporter, ’’After a certain age you want to present an air of responsibility. You hardly look responsible and trustworthy with an afro!’’

Another went on to say,  “There is a good feeling you get when you raise your hand and rub your freshly cut and sharp looking low cut. It feels great and air flows through it. I don’t know about other black men but having too much hair makes me uneasy and feels like a burden.”He went on to add, “Too much hair makes me look like a child while freshly cut hair makes me feel mature especially if you are going to wear suits. It has zero to do with any inferiority  complex but everything to do with masculinity, too much hair is for women and looks rubbish on men.” However celebrities, fashionistas and many public  figures can be said to have changed  from short hair into funky hairdo’s suitable for both men and women.  For example certain people began to copy and find acceptable the advent of dreadlocks because of their liking of local celebrities like Thomas Mapfumo, Andy Brown, Chiwoniso Maraire to name a few. Another example is that of Sulumani Chimbetu who has made popular the so-called Dendera hairstyle, which is more or less the traditional boxcut similar to the one his father, Simon Chimbetu had. Some of his fans have  undoubtedly copied this. So next time, if you are a Zimbabwean male, and find yourself going to the barbershop, ask yourself, what motivates my hairstyle?