The Zimbabwe Sentinel-Media Centre

Telling the other story – MEDIA CENTRE


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.


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Chief Editor: Earnest Mudzengi Content Editor: Willie Gwatimba