The Miseducation of Sex Education
My name is Kelina, and I’m 11 years old.
What goes through my mind is I’m scared to walk alone
because they raped a woman in the street.
We saw the blood she left in the streets afterwards.
You have no choice but to see these things.
You must not walk alone.
Over 50,000 crimes against children are reported every year in South Africa. So I learnt a while back, watching short documentary – Miseducation – directed by Nadine Cloete, and shot in Cape Town. It is just one of the over 38 short and feature films themed ‘Why Poverty?‘ You can follow @askwhypoverty for details on the same.
This short film by Miss Cloete, has stuck with me the longest, since I watched it in late May. There’s something almost surreal about how casually Kelina’s singsong voice talks about sex, and violence, and death. How she walks alone through the streets, in between gangsters and women being roughed up, then proceeds to say this:
It’s better to walk in a group of children
because if they kidnap you while you’re walking alone
and you disappear, who would know where you are?
No one will know.
If you walk in a group they’ll see who took you.
Everyone will know where you are.
If you walk with people, you shouldn’t have an attitude
because then people won’t like you
and if you die, nobody will come to your funeral.
No 11 year old should have to think about sex beyond the birds and the bees, or whatever insects ‘we’ Africans used in our stories about sex. Whether it’s the ‘we bought you at a market’ story, or ‘we picked you up at the supermarket,’ any of that would do; but not what this child speaks about. Not what children near Kenya’s Naks Vegas go through every two seconds, it would seem, going by Kenyan Dailies.
Not what vitriol a man who chose to be a woman has to imbibe, if she so chooses, because losing a dick is such a big deal that the airwaves and media-spaces have to be filled with dicks pointing it out. Or pussies taking it in, and going one step further to protect their own by screaming bloody murder at every other Tom, Dick and Harry.
I always found it intensely ironic that this phrase, one that lumps together three dicks but calls them different names, could possibly mean the same as ‘all and sundry.‘ But we do live in a world where man is right, and woman is left. Left behind. Where man is right, and woman is wrong. Wronged by everyone, and left to her own devices, if she has any.
I am scared to walk, because
a bullet doesn’t have an address.
It doesn’t say where it’s going.
The people who shoot are gangsters
and the gangsters’ names are HLs, Americans, Naughty Boys
the Stupas and others.
It’s better if they dies, then they won’t come back
I don’t like to wake up so early but you have to because there’s school.
My name is Kelina, and I’m 11 years old.
Little boys are just about as vulnerable as Kelina is. And I have long felt that they, too, should – in fact MUST – be protected from the world about as much – if not MORE – than the girl child.
Because, when it’s all said and done, women are the breast of our society. They suckle it, nurture it, grow it into the responsible collective of individually upright citizens they themselves are. Only IF they themselves are, and IF they choose to do the nurturing. Ignoring the boy child, or saying that as women, (Keguro alert) we:they cannot focus on the boy child as much as the girl because the boy is the man’s responsibility is not only moronic but insanely fucked up.
Take a girl to school and you build a community. Take a boy to school and you build an individual. Ignore a girl’s education and? What happens? Worst case scenario, anyone? Now, ignore a boy’s education, and by education I talk of real education not classrooms; what happens? 25 years down the line, the girls you took to school start bitching, crying ‘where are the men?’ Your mothers ignored nurturing them. 25 years down the line, your daughter is raped. 5, maybe 10 years down the line, your Member needs to be re-elected. Show me one girl-child, on the day, who picks up a panga and slits another girl-child’s throat because the MP said so. Show me one girl-child who force feeds herself a dick because the leader said so.
The system we coexist in is rough. Rough for the woman; who wants to grow in her career only to be Hudd-winked? Rough for the man, who wants to ‘hustle’ every day without being hooded; thrown into a boot and shot in the middle of a forest? Rough for the man; who wants to help a woman only to be thought of as a bigoted narcissistic chauvinist? Rough for the woman who wants to have a child in her 20s, but is afraid that she will stall in her career and have to play catch-up with the men.
Utumishi kwa Wote.
We exist, as one Keguro Macharia said recently, in an epidemic of quotidian violence in Kenya; by the police against young men; by young men against women; by everyone against everyone else. And while, as Boniface Mwangi said at a Kwani? forum recently, the police are out there waiting to pop your ass full of lead if you dare defy them, we all do the same thing, if only with less weighty bullets.
I am convinced that we know precisely what is wrong with our system. Every. Single. One of us. We are not immune to sense. We are only immune to the implications of our role in this sense…or lack thereof it.
Talk about sex, and talk about it like sane, grown human beings. Talk about sex like it’s a good thing, because it is. Treat it as a disease, and disease springs from it. The real; the fetishist; the literal, the literary and the figurative.
I am currently about to stop putting off reading Queer Africa: New and Collected Fiction, compiled and edited by Karen Martin and Makhosazana Xaba. The first story, Pelican Driver, is written by my favorite wenchy wench from last month’s piece, Davina Owombre. It begins thus:
AJ got off his knees, licking his lips.
Fred Wambugu, preferably known as Freddy, is a writer/ entrepreneur with a liking for agro ways. Both the loud-mouthed, angry “for no reason” and the arable kinds.
When not farming or talking, Freddy owns of a hard-hitting anything-goes blog, the Diary of a Serial Schizo, is an Industry and Market Researcher with Eronia Inc Ltd. and is the founder of inThync Kenya.
Disclaimer: He will holler right back. Loudly. Or lovably.
In other News, does a bio need to have an ‘I’?