By Jean Gasho
Over the past week I watched Zimbabweans on social media bully, abuse, insult and mock a woman called Maureen Makusha whose pictures went viral after she attended millionaire Genius Kadungure’s all white party in a very revealing white dress. She was called a whore, trashy, mentally ill and other vulgar words that I can not write on this blog.
Her critics vilified her for wearing something that is “outside” the Zimbabwean culture. Maureen Makusha also known as Maury Maks has deleted her Facebook account and issued a public apology to Zimbabweans for offending, insulting and hurting them.
She said she was trying to imitate the Hollywood culture which she relates to more and is accustomed to. She said she is truly sorry.
Now as for me personally, when I saw her pictures, I thought her apparel was very inappropriate mainly because she had no underwear and I thought the dress did not flatter her figure. That was my own opinion of her dress.
I thought she should not have worn the black bra and she should have made the dress more fitting if she wanted to pull off a look like that. Apart from my opinion of her, I did not think of her as a whore, neither did I feel the urge to comment on her pictures abusing her.
I went on her Facebook profile and I saw very beautiful pictures of her where she wore clothes that made her look stunning and elegant. As for this particular dress, she chose to go out like that, its her choice and I respected it. That is what freedom is.
I also like to wear what I want, I believe it is my freedom as a woman to choose my own apparel and not be stoned or publicly humiliated for it. A number of people have criticized me for just wearing shorts, which is fine, it’s their opinion, but I do not believe I have to be abused for it.
When I grew up in Zimbabwe, I was often abused verbally in the streets by men who called me all sorts of vulgar names for simply wearing a pair of jeans. It was awful and demeaning. One thing I have learnt about Zimbabwean culture is it’s disrespect for women. The men especially feel so comfortable to utter vulgar derogatory abuse to women each time a woman does or says something they don’t agree with.
Not all of them are like that, but in my opinion, the majority certainly are. This culture within the Zimbabwe community has spread to social media, and that is one outstanding character in Zimbabweans. Vulgar and abusive language!!
They are not able to accept that a person can have a different opinion to them. Their only solution to opposing opinions is to hurl abuse and profanity without rationally discussing the content of the matter. You will never find this character trait so rampant in any other African culture.
I have been called a whore for every opinion I have. Most of the comments on my articles are abusive and full of profane language. When I wrote the letter to Evan Mawarire, I was called a whore by his fans. A well respected Zimbabwean doctor came on my wall to defend my letter to Mawarire, he was vilified and abused by mostly women for it.
When I wrote my recent article about the HowTheyRobbedUs hashtag I was called worse than a whore. Zimbabwean men went as far as to say derogatory sexual remarks about me on Facebook and Twitter. Women joined in too. That was all for simply having a blog and expressing my views on it. How abusive can a people be?
My husband who is from Ghana is often shocked with how most of these Zimbabwean men address women. He can not understand why Zimbabweans love to insult people with vulgar words at every given opportunity. In Ghana, men are taught to respect women. I have never seen a people so composed and calm.
The use of dirty vulgar words is not the norm in their society. Zimbabweans have normalized vulgar so much that we no longer see anything wrong with it. The language that we use daily on social media will never be seen anywhere with any other country. I have a number of readership from Ghana who follow me, each time they try to comment on my articles they are verbally abused and told to stay out of Zimbabwe issues.
Yet these are the people who say we want the world to help Zimbabwe. Below is a screen shot of two shameless Zimbabwean women who verbally abused a Ghanaian man for commenting on a Zimbabwean issue on my Facebook page. The Ghanaian man did respond expressing his shock at the comfortable use of vulgar language on a open forum by Zimbabwean women, something which is obviously unheard of where he comes from.
The purpose of this article is to highlight this very disturbing trait. All the people who abused Maureen Makusha on social media for her choice of apparel are no better than her, morally, spiritually or socially. I believe they are actually worse and in need of redemption. Some Zimbabweans as a people are totally depraved. I have never seen a people so bitter and abusive. The bible says out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.
The bible also says what you eat does not make you dirty but what comes out of your mouth is what defiles you. For a country that claims to be a Christian country, why is that the most common language in Zimbabwe is vulgar language and insults? Is it all Mugabe’s fault again? Did Mugabe also rob you of eloquence and the ability to be well spoken without hurling insults? What kind of a country only knows how to type vulgar language?
How rotten can a people be? To bully a young woman because of her own choice of apparel then call her all derogatory names under the sun. To make a young woman apologies to the whole country? Maureen Makusha owes no one an apology or explanation as to why she wore that dress.
How many women in the world today go out wearing the the same type of apparel that Maury wore? I have never seen any of them being called derogatory names. Here in Britain I see women walking around in summer in shorts that leaves half the buttocks out. They will even be walking holding hands with their proud boyfriends or husbands. No one stones them for it. As for in the entertainment industry.
Did anyone ever call Toni Braxton a whore? What about Rihana? Jennifer Lopez. Madonna. Beyonce. Katie Price. The list is endless. Who calls these women whores and worse names? Some of them are happily married but will still go out half naked. Is it the public’s place to humiliate them? Yes there will always be online debates about women and their dressing. A lot of people disagree with how some of these women dress in public, myself included, but we will never publicly abuse these women for it.
They may be criticized yes, but its all very civil and with respect for the women. People understand that its their choices, whether they agree or not they have to respect them. Why can’t the rest of Zimbabweans be enlightened to just learn to be civil human beings when it comes to choices women make? I have never even seen a single comment on social media calling Kim Kardashian derogatory names for even a sex tape and posing nude for a magazine.
If Christ was standing here today in person he would say to every person who abused Maureen “He who is without sin cast the first stone”. You Pharisees and hypocrites. Most of you who were abusing her are sleeping with prostitutes, thieving, wife abusing and God knows what you do in your private lives. Don’t you all think you are any better than her morally? There is nothing wrong with expressing your opinions about her, but abusing her and crucifying her is totally wrong and unacceptable.
Why should Zimbabwe be a country that normalizes online trolls and bullies? This is not the first time Zimbabweans have exhibited this kind of behavior online, it happens all the time. Not long ago I saw Muchaneta from X-Factor 2016 being verbally abused online for her voice. I personally thought the woman was funny, delightful and a breath of fresh air.
Her song, “Taking Over” really ministered to me, it was so catchy and I found myself singing to it over and over. But to Zimbabweans ,she was a national disgrace who deserved to be insulted and mocked. Maybe that’s why you are not getting the world sympathy you want from the pity party hash tags, the world can really see what you are made of.#thisflag #howtheyrobbedus
As for Maureen, ya’ll want to talk about Zimbabwe culture. What on earth is Zimbabwean culture? Do you even know what our culture is when it comes to dressing? Our true Zimbabwean culture is walking around half naked with only small pieces of loinclothes (nhembe) covering our privates. If you really want to go back to Zimbabwe culture lets all strip and start walking around in nhembe. Do not even bring culture into this. Dressing in a society evolves. It changes every decade. Zimbabweans please learn to be tolerant.
It is not anyone’s place to condemn Maureen Makushe. She will have her own day before God on judgement day. You will have your own day too. I will have mine. In the mean time whilst we are here on planet earth, let those who choose to live their lives a certain way do without verbally abusing them. Cleanse your hearts as a people and repent from this spirit of profanity that has engulfed you to the point where you see vulgar language as the norm.
As a matter of fact, it is you Zimbabweans who owe Maureen Makusha an apology, not the other way round. Every Zimbabwean online troll who called this young woman a whore and any other derogatory name should be utterly ashamed of themselves. To Maury I say, yes it is good to be conscious of how people perceive you, but you will never be able to please everyone. Be unapologetic about who you are.
Forget the trolls. Be yourself and be bold in how you choose to express yourself, as a Zimbabwean woman you have to develop thick skin to be the woman you want to be. Girl, you can’t go around issuing apologies to people who don’t even know you for simply being yourself. If I took every comment and opinion of Zimbabwean people to heart, I will be issuing a public apology for every blog I write and for every pair of shorts I have in my wardrobe.
I have embraced a lot British culture due to me living in the country for so long. I don’t need to apologize for it. If Tinashe the American singer had worn the exact dress you wore, the Zimbabweans would have left her alone because they understand her to be more American than Zimbabwean. Maureen, its okay to embrace whatever culture you want, whether Indian, English or American. We all do it. Its normal and you deserve the peoples apology.
You can visit Jean Gasho’s blog: Just Jean