Family Matters: Just as I thought getting a career was great, it turned out all I need is a baby

2012-09-01 12:19

In an episode of People of the South a fortnight ago my president shared the type of precious wisdom I haven’t come across since an unfortunate ­episode my family had with a Jehovah’s Witness.

My president started off with politically and presidentially correct rhetoric about kids making their own decisions.

But being the “realest president out there”, he then spat out some truths about womanhood, saying he was happy about his daughter’s marriage because he “wouldn’t want to stay with daughters that are not getting married. Because that in itself is a problem in society.

I know people today think being single is nice. It’s actually not right. You’ve got to have kids. Kids are important to a woman because they actually give an extra training to a woman, to be a mother.”

As a single, childless woman who is tired of being “distorted” and being a problem to society, I have been looking for ways to impress my family, the department of women and things of that nature, and my president with my own “extra training”.

After years of committing myself first to getting a quality education, then to a career and, more recently, to civic participation, I still found myself feeling deep anxiety about my personal choices.

Initially I thought it was because the very society I have decided to dedicate much of my efforts to did not accept my version of being – as promised by its progressive Constitution – but now I realise it’s actually because I don’t have a baby.

But then we all know our Constitution is for investors and minority groups.

For the rest of us (black people), it’s either traditions or the Bible, and preferably both.

My fancy education neglected to inform me there’s nothing revolutionary about a childless woman.

We clearly don’t have the necessary skills required to do anything, which unfortunately the president did not elaborate on, but which I’m sure are very important.

While my poor, dormant uterus, covered in cobwebs, was dancing at the possibility of a new policy position that would put it to better use, I began to wonder whether patriarchy has a point.

Maybe the problem is not with groups and communities that want to dictate how the rest of us should live, but actually with me and my inability to differentiate between what my leaders need to say as opposed to what needs to happen.

Before you accuse my president of sexism, he did have a wise word or two for young men as well.

While describing his experiences while growing up, he said, “You could not afford to be a coward or they would tell you that you have to cook like a girl, instead of eating the food that is cooked by the girls.”

So the only thing worse than a girl is a boy who cooks like a girl, after losing a fight or getting hit on the back of his head with a stick.

The man who hits you on the back of your head with a stick thus also exemplifies the best attributes of our society.

Now that I’m ready to take up my rightful role in society by having a baby, I pray I have a functioning uterus.

I would hate if there were a proven medical reason for my inadequacy; it’s bad enough that my boobs are so small.

Hopefully nine months from now, I’ll finally be able to get that government job and put my “extra training” to good use.

»Ndlovu is a management consultant, managing director of Youth Lab, writer and activist. This article first appeared on

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