HomeOpinion & AnalysisColumnistsSaturday Dialogue: How can a man bed his mother-in-law?

Saturday Dialogue: How can a man bed his mother-in-law?


Some stories are very strange because they sound fictitious and yet are real issues happening in and around our communities.

By Ropafadzo Mapamhidze

These may sound stranger than fiction because human behaviour is so unpredictable, defying cultural traditions and norms that govern against certain actions and relationships life for example homosexuality which is regarded as taboo.

I was dumbstruck when a friend called me from South Africa last week telling me about his Zimbabwean colleague who is involved in a sexual relationship with his mother-in-law.

For people from other cultures, this may sound like normal, but Zimbabwean culture views a woman in that position as a sacred mother figurehead.

It is taboo, forbidden and unthinkable. It is a completely off-limits situation no single sober-minded man can dare try venture into.

However, this started when this mother-in-law, who is an attractive and well-groomed executive director of some conglomerate, invited her son-in-law for a cocktail at her workplace.

Her daughter was away on business and hence decided she could not attend this event alone because she had no partner since her spouse died many years ago.
There was so much food and drink and the mother-in-law, described as an attractive young woman, started flirting with her son-in-law at the function.

How they ended up in bed at the mother-in-law’s home is what baffled this friend who advised him to stop the relationship immediately.

But alas, that was the beginning of a love affair that continued under his wife’s nose unnoticed resulting in pregnancy.

Yes I mean pregnancy . . . And now a bouncing healthy baby boy has been born, while the wife is also expecting her second child which may be delivered any time soon.

When the daughter discovered what her mother had done, she threatened leaving her husband, but the matter was settled at family level.

The question I would like to pose is that is it possible to sue your husband for bearing a child with your mother?

And what would you do if your spouse continues seeing your mother? Would you cut ties with her or cause havoc like what we read in local newspapers where women fight over a man?

Just yesterday, this friend called again and said the relationship has not stopped and that it seemed as though his friend is so besotted with this woman who hails from Lesotho.

The relationship apparently started in 2007 when this man married his wife and that her mother would call her son-in-law to her to fix her cars and do odd jobs around her posh apartment in Pretoria, South Africa, sometimes at odd hours.

They would hug whenever they met, but the wife, who is an only child, never suspected that the two were actually lovers.

Now there is stark evidence of that relationship through a newly-born baby boy.

This mother-in-law was 16 years old when she had her daughter whom she raised singlehandedly when her spouse died when the daughter was only five years old.

She is now 42 years old, and apparently has striking, beautiful and stunning looks. She is a very stylish and fashionable woman who actually looks like an older sibling to her daughter.

Another story this friend told me is also about a West African man who literally slept with every female member of his wife’s household, impregnating his two sisters-in-law and a relative who lived at the house in Randburg, South Africa.

So angry was the wife that she tried suing her sisters when she later learnt that her mother had also been sleeping with her husband.

The matter was reported, but was thrown out because the so-called victims were well over the age of legal majority and it was proved that they had consented to being intimate with this Nigerian man.

That is when this Nigerian man revealed that he had also slept with his mother-in-law. All hell broke loose, but they are all still living in one household.

I then googled this subject on Internet and read some quotes on a website called Nairaland Forum where a heated debate over the issue ensued.

“Remember that many of these women were married away at a very young age in 1970s and 80s to much older men. For example, a 16-year-old girl to a 40-year-old man and so they’re still sexually active when their first or second daughters are newly married. A woman at 36 will be at the peak in as far as sexual desire is concerned. The daughter’s husband could be a man that performs rituals and loves to engage in bizarre and kinky sex like for example with his mother-in-law. That is opportunity+incentive=abomination,” one post noted.

Another one said: “I can’t do that myself, but that cannot deny that fact that it doesn’t happen. Homosexuality (lesbians and gays), and sleeping with your mother-in-law is not strange at all. Some Sugar Mummies are actually also mothers-in-law, so what is all the fuss about?

“Please let’s stop fronting. This does happen especially during ‘omugwo’, an Igbo custom that describes a visit by a mother or mother-in-law following the birth of a child. If the mother-in-law is still young, pretty and intact, some super-randy guys no send. And what about Lagos toy boys who happily shag both their sugar mummy and her daughter[s].”

The debate raged on and on, but I am still wondering if such things do happen in Zimbabwe because the first example cited involves a Zimbabwean married to a woman from Lesotho.

The fact that there is a new-born baby and also the risks of falling pregnant again by the son-in-law, what action should the wife take?

This relationship, according to this SA-based friend, is actually stronger and the bond tighter. What do you suggest should happen?

This is just unbelievably despicable and outrageous I think. This is the worst form of betrayal in a marriage which cannot be condoned in any way whatsoever.

Let me, however, hear your thoughts because I may be living in old school where mothers in law were viewed as sacred beings by their son in laws.
Feedback: rmapimhidze@newsday.co.zw

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