Mai Denzel: What’s good for the goose is good for the gander

The trending Mai Denzel

Mai Denzel. When I woke up the other day, my inbox was awash with something almost similar to a premier soccer league log comparing topical issues in Zimbabwe from Muvevi, cheats and public transport bus services. Then there were messages about a woman named Mai Denzel; she was placed second on this pseudo-log. I knew there was a story so I hit my brother’s inbox and as always, he updated me. Mai Denzel, married, had a history of having adulterous relationships. She ditched one of the lovers who was not amused. He spilled the beans about her new affair.

The result was some very public narrative about her love life including some leaked nude pictures that she had shared in the comfort of her intimate relationship. It broke my heart. The whole story reminded me of how women are often treated by society. Let’s dig digger like a Papa (prosperity gospel prophet in Zimbabwe mostly known for their spiritual theatrics).

The narrative

From time immemorial, cheating has always existed in relationships. Men often have had the unfair privilege of deciding who they want in their bed, when, how, how many times and at what intervals. Whenever a man cheats on their partner, the current woman they partner is often told to be hygienic (geza), encouraged to pray and remain resilient as “all men are dogs” they say. Some have even taken this a notch higher and said at least the man returns home to the woman whenever he chooses.  Like seriously? So, what was Mai Denzel’s crime? That she had a lover and when she decided to move on the jilted lover exposed their past relationship to her husband, Baba Denzel.

What ensued was Mai Denzel being dragged through the court of public opinion including her very own mother, who she had sought refuge from when Baba Denzel cheated numerous times.

Now the same mother was fanning embarrassment at Mai Denzel’s behaviour without any mention of Baba Denzel having been the cheat initially and causing his wife pain too. It’s like when it comes to cheating, men have the monopoly. Shame. Mai Denzel’s brother was no better as he too took Baba Denzel’s side but, to his credit, he did show empathy to his sister. Now dearest reader, do not get me wrong, cheating is wrong in all its facets (kudos to the morally upright), especially in the face of an agreed exclusive relationship. However, what I find appalling is that the relationship rules are tweaked willy-nilly to benefit men more than anything. If Mai Denzel was wrong in cheating, Baba Denzel should be wrong too as he did have a history of cheating!

As a society, we often let the majority define what is right or wrong even when that public opinion is warped like in this specific narrative. Men love cheating and once women decide to do the same, the ball game changes. The rules change. Fairness and justice do not only remain absent in relationships but even our politics as a nation, the dynamics mirror the same toxicity. There is always selective application of the rules and most times women are disadvantaged. We each have red blood flowing through our veins — the same pain resulting from cheating affects both Baba and Mai Denzel. The same rules that apply to men ought to apply to women too. The same laws that govern a CCC member should apply to a Zanu PF member too. We cannot keep discriminating against women because society perpetuates subjugation. Why we choose to hold onto narratives that perpetuate inequality remains a mystery!

Going forward

Fairness, justice and equity is essential for society to function orderly. When members of the society decide to come together and work so they protect each other then we have reached a  balance, somewhat. There is always an opportunity for each one of us to ensure that we can decide to take a stand against perpetuating the same narratives that enhance discrimination in society.

What applies to men should also apply to women. If cheating is wrong for women, it should be wrong for men too. Whatever makes sense for those in power should also make sense to those not in power. Zimbabwe can become a transformed society, you and me need to decide that we are set on ensuring we intentionally make a difference not only for ourselves but for others as well.

Today as we go through the week, Baba and Mai Denzel are trending, with this digital era, soon this will die down but lives would have been destroyed. Did anyone else think of Denzel? Well, when elephants fight it is the grass that suffers. If you think I'm lying, take a look at the power wars around Zimbabwe and you will be a witness.

It is high time we decide to make a difference as we fight for the rights of each and every person in a dignified and fair way. No one is coming to save Zimbabwe by redefining the rules of engagement just like no one is coming to save women. We decide now is the time we step up and make a difference as we hold hands, hearts in one accord as we facilitate transformation of the status quo. We do have it within each one of use so we become the peacemakers and legacy builders. Don’t be a hater, step up and show up. We await that wonderful period when we will witness equality of the sexes socially, economically, politically and any other-ally we can possibly think of. Until then, we live, laugh and love louder in a bid to show the world that we were here, becoming better, making our mark, and leaving our footprint as we make the world a better place!

Chirenje writes in her personal capacity as a citizen of Zimbabwe. Twitter: @graceruvimbo; Facebook: Grace Chirenje; Instagram: @graceruvimbo

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