Old habits die hard…

Thu, 15 Feb 2018 08:33:55 +0000

By Augustin Phiri

 ON their first night as a married couple, the groom was startled to hear his bride mumble to him, “You’ll give me K200.”

A few hours earlier, the pair had tied the knot and had recited the famous “till death do us part” vows before a priest followed by a lavish wedding reception at a plush hotel attended by excited relatives, friends and well-wishers.

However, unknown to the groom, he had married a former sex worker and on this night, his bride had forgotten that she was in a matrimonial home and not a lodge or any similar amorous location.

And so, as it is said, old habits die hard.

Folks, housewives in Lusaka’s Kanyama Township are in trouble because of the existence of brothels dotted around the area which are said to be frequented by married men.

But in voicing out their anger, the women are not coming out clearly if their husbands really visit these sex dens. Instead, the women are crying like their own babies and calling upon the government to do something.

Surely, these wives are not being fair to themselves. Which housewife would be happy about learning that her government employee of a husband had gone to brothels to check on the activities of those charming “secret service women” in the name of tour of duty?

If you know the character of most Zambian men, like I do, this could turn out to be a highly tempting “government assignment to undertake, you know.”

The aggrieved housewives in Kanyama may not be alone in this situation. Similar sentiments have been expressed by wives in Chawama,

The only advice I can offer the complaining wives is for them to go the “if you can’t beat them, join them,” but for the right motive.

Simply masquerade as prostitutes and visit joints said to be brothels to learn, under cover of course, about what the female tenants do to their male visitors which their wives do not do. You never know, “alangizi” (marriage teachers) might have missed one or two vital lessons.

Then back home, emulate the new lessons learnt.

That done, the crying wives in Kanyama Township and beyond would beat the “secret service women” at their own secret profession.

Look, the profession of the flesh also called prostitution that is offering sex in exchange for money, is as old as humans.

When the earliest known human societies emerged in the fertile crescent of Mesopotamia, the sex trade evolved alongside temples, customs, markets and laws.

Beginning in the third millennium B.C (before the birth of Jesus Christ), the Sumerians, the first major inhabitants of ancient Mesopotamia, worshipped the goddess Ishtar, a deity that would remain constant throughout Mesopotamia’s Babylonian and Assyrian empires.

Ishtar was the goddess of love and war, symbolised by the planet Venus, and was born anew as a maiden every morning only to become a “whore” every evening meaning “desire” in the Indo-European root.

Ironically, Mesopotamian religious practices gave birth to the prostitution trade, as women in Ishtar’s service would help men who offered money to her temples with the “sacred” powers of their bodies.

Achieving a priority of communication with the goddess from their fertility, only women enjoyed this religious position. Thus Ishtar temples became knowledge centres concerning birth, birth control, and sexuality.

Priestesses became the nurses and sacred sex therapists of these early societies. Men of all rank could hire these women and, in turn, make an offering to the goddess from whose temple the prostitute came.

It is said that the king also took part in certain sacred sex rituals with the high priestesses in conjunction with grain harvests: the fertility of the earth was secured through a ritual that celebrated the fertility of the womb.

The king, regent of the earth, and priestess, regent of the goddess, coupled in this highly symbolic manner that celebrates the sexual process that brought both grain and people into being.

Thus Ishtar became known as the protector of all prostitutes. Prostitution, or at least the religious prostitution involved in these sacred sex rituals, existed without taboo or prohibition, as evidenced in some of our species’ earliest literary works.

The current legal status of prostitution in the world and Africa varies, that is, the trade is legal in some countries and illegal in others.

In Zambia, prostitution is illegal but rarely are those involved arrested, tried in courts of law, convicted and sent to prison. Otherwise the media would have been picking such juicy stories.

All what the Zambian law enforcers do is to merely round up those women of the flesh found on the streets of Addis Ababa in Lusaka, for instance, and fine them a token fee for loitering and not prostituting.

You see, Zambia has found itself in between dealing with prostitution harshly and exercising Christian values which demands kindness, leniency, passion and mercifulness on sex workers as fellow human beings.

However, prostitution is categorised and the following list can be found all over the globe including Zambia.

By the way, prostitutes deliberately make themselves pretty by polishing their faces with cosmetic powder, lip-stick, eye lining and lashes and wear skimpy clothes in some instances to lure would-be clients.

However, it must be stressed here and lest I am misunderstood, not all ladies who do this are prostitutes, please remember this.

And so, there are those prostitutes who ply their trade in bars and streets such as Addis Ababa Drive and around Ndeke Hotel area in Longacres in Lusaka. When they find a client, they settle the price of the deal and the pair can have their secret service anywhere such as streets, vehicles, or short time premises.

Then there are those who trade in brothels like in Kanyama and Chawama already alluded to.

Brothels are premises explicitly dedicated to rendering sex services and are said to have better security than street prostitution due to fixed and relative safer location.

In the so-called first world of the west, an escort is one of the most popular types of prostitution. A client only needs to contact a sex worker by phone and they talk about the details. Clients can also link up with sex workers through duly registered escort agencies.

It is reported that this form of trade is relatively more expensive because of low client turnover since the woman has to afford the whole process of transaction through phone calling until the end of the service.

Normally the sex service could be provided at the client’s home or hotel room, hence, the escorts contacted by phone being referred to as “call girls.”

Similarly in Zambia, the advent of the mobile phone has given way to the much sophisticated form of prostitution called “lunch time fellowship.”

Look, this term is borrowed from the common practice in which workers gather in one place to innocently study the Holy Bible and pray to while away the lunchless lunch hour.

And so, during this midday resting hour, some cantankerous male officers would arrange by phone to be visited in their offices by the clergy.

Should you, therefore, see a sloppy male workmate suddenly becoming a workaholic and burying his head in files or tapping the computer key board hard and refusing to go out for lunch until he finishes his work, just know that the fellow was expecting the arrival of his “prophetess” to conduct “lunch time fellowship’ exclusively for him in his office.

Categories of prostitution are in no way limited to this list and one thing should be clear here.

Despite all the negativities against the world’s oldest profession, one notable thing should be clear and this is that prostitution plays a vital role in checking the unwanted population boom especially when the condom is used.

And soon, Zambian ‘secret service women’ will join their colleagues in the developed world and campaign publicly for their rights because they believe that sex work is work too.

Let us do something and let God deliver husbands to their adorable wives away from the “secret service women.”

Disclaimer: Note that this piece is satire based on real life situations and should be treated as such.

Contact: kapenyatheobserver@yahoo.com


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