African step-parents and step-children: the uneasy fit!

In traditional African communities a child’s parents are not only the biological parents; virtually every adult in the community is accorded the same respect given to one’s birth parents. Children can be placed within and outside kinship whenever perceived beneficial for the child, parents or the proposed adoptive/ foster parents. Such arrangements may be temporary while the child attends school or needs to be nearer a clinic for a period while undergoing medical treatment or semi-permanent when they are offered to childless relatives.

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Explaining Zimbabwean women’s low social status 3

I believe the status quo can be changed and the drivers of that change are none other than women themselves. Notwithstanding the obvious male dominance in society some women have, for years now, been working hard to redress the anomaly. There is a massive women’s lobby in Zimbabwe fighting for the emancipation of women but a lot more women are still standing, watching from the margins.

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Explaining Zimbabwean women’s low social status 2

Less educated girls grow into less skilled women, who are poorly paid and economically dependent wives who are often functionally illiterate therefore dependent on their husbands for even menial tasks such as opening a bank account, if they are lucky to have one. This socioeconomic dependence makes women vulnerable to male control as it allows men to take a firm hold on society through the occupancy of key political and economic positions.

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Explaining Zimbabwean women’s low social status 1

There is no greater betrayal than that of Zimbabwean women by the political elite; the 1980 independence was supposed to usher in a new socioeconomic dispensation for all Zimbabweans but, what is there for women to celebrate? How independent economically, politically and socially are women today?

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Inadequate welfare systems letting African poor down

Africa is a continent of extreme inequalities where the richest few enjoy privileges akin to the rich in the developed world while the majority poor lack basic infrastructure and services. The poorest citizens have lost memory of their last proper meal while the rich cannot define, let alone understand poverty. While poor people walk miles in search of water, rich people have big swimming pools in their backyards! The legacy of colonialism has been the skewed development that sees urban settlements with better infrastructure and services while rural areas have been deprived of basic facilities.

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Nothing wrong with being attracted to a person because of their wealth

Beauty is subjective and is hardly absolute. A society may build in individuals a broader concept of beauty including what constitutes a good relationship, and these views evolve based on other societal factors. For instance, scientific evidence on health may transform perceptual views of what body size is healthy or normal and hence change our perceptions of beauty.

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