Nyarai Moyo (28) the woman who was allegedly killed by her spouse Thembinkosi Gumbi, on New Year’s Eve after receiving a Whatsapp message accompanied images of male sexual organs, really made sad reading.
Saturday Dialogue with Ropafadzo Mapimhidze.
The State outline stated that Moyo suffered a fractured skull, lacerations on the forehead and injuries around her body due to the beating meted on her using a disused shock absorber.
The advent of Whatsapp and other social networks have no doubt brought misery and instability in some relationships.
Apart from linking up with friends and relatives, these social networks are entertaining as inspirational messages are forwarded for us to read, although I distaste the chain letters which I delete straight away.
Whatsapp, just like Facebook (FB), Skype and Twitter has brought the world much nearer to us than ever before.
People that had lost track of their loved ones through letters that did not reach their destination, especially overseas, have connected with them on these social networks.
Recently, I heard about a story of a man who literally ditched his wife of five years to join his lost love in England after they had lost contact for nearly 12 years.
He told his wife in no uncertain terms that the overseas woman was the girl of choice and that he would be a lot happier with her.
Apparently, letters he had written to her over the years had never reached her.
A local tabloid in Zimbabwe has carried so many stories of men and women who have parted ways following evidence of infidelity through these social networks especially Whatsapp.
This mode of communication has also gripped people living in rural areas who have resorted to buying smartphones.
It’s a craze that has, however, created a population that is aloof, unfriendly and detached.
Take a ride on a kombito the city and see how passengers sit quietly with headphones on or typing messages.
It is not strange to see someone smiling or just laughing aloud. That is what social network has done to us.
We have become so antisocial and withdrawn from people around us because we constantly check for messages even when engaged in a fruitful discussion.
An old friend who was visiting from Canada recently made a comment at me, when after sitting down in a chair in his hotel room, I pulled out my phone to check on a message that had “whistled” through.
“Why is everyone so engrossed in these social networks . . . this is just crazy . . .” he said with exasperation.
I had a brief discussion with him and when I went to my car, it took me nearly 20 minutes before I drove off as I tapped my phone relaying some messages.
Sounds crazy, but this is reality.
Visit any home in the city at the weekend and see what is happening.
People just don’t talk to each other anymore.
Husband will be watching soccer and constantly checking his phone for Whatsapp messages. Wife will perhaps be in the kitchen talking loudly to her husband who is not even concentrating on what she is saying.
Children, on the other end, are either on Internet or playing e-games on their mobile phones.
The beauty of this social network is that you can attach pictures to messages to people you haven’t seen for decades.
But this has, however, uncovered some things couples never knew about each other.
Old flames have resurfaced on social networks, something that could never have been possible before the onset of Facebook, Whatsapp, Twitter and Skype.
While most of these Facebook friends remain just people from the past, some spouses get so offended.
It is very difficult to keep mobile phones away from people in close relationships like those in a marriage because there is always temptation to snoop or eavesdrop.
One couple fought when wife discovered that her spouse would be on his mobile phone texting to a US based ex-wife.
She also discovered that there were four other women locally that constantly exchanged messages via Whatsapp that were amorous and affectionate.
Another story is that of a man who would dash to the toilet and talk to his girlfriend.
One day wife demanded to know who this person was. A scuffle ensued. And what did hubby do?
He smashed his expensive iPhone against the bathroom wall.
Then we have infidelity that has been discovered through mobile phones that have been either sold or given away.
An associate of mine confided in me recently that he discovered that his sister in law was cheating on her brother after listening to some recorded message she had sent to her lover.
This associate had been given this smart phone by her sister in law when she acquired the latest version of one of the Samsung ranges of smart phones.
But it is fact that most people are not information technologically (IT) smart and hence expose this information unknowingly by either failing to erase or perhaps not knowing that such data can remain in certain folders of the phone.