It is April 2017 and Lameck Makwiramiti is trending in Zimbabwean communities. Lameck is the man whose daughter was impregnated by a neighbour’s son. The neighbour then took it upon herself to be awfully abusive to Lameck’s daughter whilst she was pregnant. Lameck subsequently brings his daughter back home and looks after her and his grandchild with no support from the family of the boy who impregnated his daughter, years later, this evil neighbour/monster-in-law passes away.
Lameck began his own revolution and the way in which the situation itself unfolds is the most feminist issue that I have witnessed coming out of Zimbabwe. Lameck represents a willingness to speak against oppression and other wrong deeds on a personal level in a manner that defies the psychologically taxing manner that has been ingrained within Zimbabwean culture, which is; the manner that forces us to bury our pain and ‘grin and bear it’ because expressing ourselves, especially when we defend ourselves or speak against the things that are wrong, is deemed disrespectful to ‘others’.
Good for this man Lameck because Zimbabwean female in-laws are notorious for treating their sons or brother’s wives badly. Lameck attends the funeral and goes against the cultural norms of praising the dead by standing up and addressing the gathering with the facts of how his daughter had been treated; he then goes on to warn everybody there to be truthful about the deceased and her character and stop calling her a good person, because evidently, she wasn’t. He then threatens anyone ready to defy him and anyone who dares eat a meal at this funeral with a slingshot, then packs up the food, takes it away to go and feed the local homeless people and other labourers in the area.
I fell in love with the story because it will assist the Zimbabwean community in unfolding societal issues regarding the culture, the law and abuse of different sorts at the hands of in-laws; and of course, how fathers ought to stand up to defend their daughters. Lameck savagely overthrows cultural ideas and challenges popular notions of Zimbabwean masculinity and fatherhood. we witness Lameck going against the grain, he digresses from the agreed cultural script used for mourning the dead by exposing his daughter’s mother-in-law as cruel, evil and abusive towards his daughter, instead of showering her with untrue praise. Lameck defends his daughter, whom by the way, has had a child outside of marriage (this is considered shameful within the culture). May every man with a daughter please stand up and speak out against their ill-treatment. It is fathers like Lameck that will squash harmful and dehumanising cultural norms and liberate the womenfolk in Zimbabwe.