‘Isoka’ Mbalula – envy of his peers

2011-11-05 09:21

Look, I didn’t like last Sunday’s front-page lead in City Press: “Mbalula in sex scandal”. It raises questions about the direction of this newspaper, which is not a tabloid, and it also blatantly displays that we do not know the culture of isoka.

Where I come from, an isoka would be a boy or even a man who is favoured by women and as a result has many girlfriends.

The word isoka is also used for somebody very good with words, a sweet-talker who can easily keep women hanging on his every word and thus swaying them to his way of thinking.

An isoka would be the envy of his peers, the apple of his father’s eye and the talk of the village.

A guy who grew up being an isoka would invariably end up with many wives, and polygamy was not frowned upon.

Even a man who continued to have girlfriends after his marriage would not be censured.

In fact, having many wives – was – and still is – a symbol of status in some areas (read King Zwelithini and President Jacob Zuma).

Women accept this to such an extent that some can be heard saying it’s better to be in a polygamous relationship as they always know where their husbands are at any given time, rather than those having hidden “affairs” with mistresses who occasionally “disappear”.

Move to the townships. This culture continues but it’s no longer that of the isoka. The current term is a charmer or “charmza”.

This is a guy who can easily charm his way into any woman’s heart as he does things in style and has a way with women.

He, just like the isoka before him, is the envy of his peers.

Unfortunately, with HIV and Aids so rife in our country, this trend still continues and terms such as “scoring” – sleeping with a woman, usually used when it happens for the first time with a particular conquest – are still part of the vocabulary in our townships.

There are also still some men – I’m afraid to say if what one hears is true, they are in the majority – who still don’t use or believe in condoms for different reasons.

This country is groaning under the HIV burden but the reality is that by and large, attitudes have not changed.

Given this background, most men would view sports minister Fikile Mbalula as a hero, and more so for having “scored” on the first date.

Ideally his behaviour should be frowned upon, but the reality is that the masses see nothing wrong and this is the norm in our communities. The challenge we are faced with is how to change this attitude.

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