Friday, January 02, 2015


Mmabanyana is a word used to describe a boy who mostly prefers the company of girls, not boys as it is the “norm”. Every village or township has that boy who is always there by the corner with girls either playing or gossiping. Spectators and village dwellers look down upon these kind of boys. Their manhood is forever questioned if not probed by silly ones. Widely used in Bolobedu, Mmabanyana is used by older boys who do not understand and often believe that using this word will in fact force these boys to stop following girls around. Sometimes even the girls use this word when they feel threatened by these boys (imagine).

While I was sitting outside my family home minding my business this other day in Bolobedu, I overheard guys older than me going on about a certain boy in the village who is forever with girls they hate so much. Out of anger, I quickly rushed to the gate to have a look outside. There he was chatting up a storm with his group of girls. Well for me I did not see anything wrong; however, I did see myself in that boy.

I preferred playing Diketo (a game played by girls in townships and villages) with girls after school. Not even once did I feel the need to change for anyone, but there were times when boys my age would use that word concurrently to get a response from me in a forceful manner. It was hard growing up in a village where you knew for a fact that anytime, anywhere you would be paying for a crime you did not commit. It got worse at school as the bullies knew that the only way to get through to me was by using that word. Teachers did not have time for petty things, so the abuse continued. The change for me came when I stopped letting this hurtful word they used to describe me affect my mood or day.

That boy’s self esteem may suffer tremendously as a result of the mockery and remarks. What others fail to understand is that what they say to you has the potential of temporarily affecting your self esteem.

You become a stranger in your own village. Trying to seek for answers will leave you confused greatly; to a point where you will spend days trying to figure out what went wrong. You slowly disconnect from the going-ons of the village as you will no longer feel the need to pretend to be something you are not. There is nothing wrong with being yourself, however, you should always leave room for tears as some days you will be made to feel inadequate. Don’t just cry for too long.

Days of living according to what society perceives as the norm ended with apartheid. Everyone is free to live as they wish.

Image from teatreetells
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