Thursday 15 December 2016


Image: Trust Tru Katsande for Unsplash
One of our previous posts, ACCEPT YOUR HUSBAND LIKE THAT, received some praise, a healthy discussion and some backlash. We were very happy! If we have people talking about the issue, we must have done a good job. But before we tell you more about our glee, let us discuss some of the issues raised.

In one instance, we were told that it was disrespectful to talk about a religious leader in that light. In another, we were told that our view point was taken out of context. But the one that got us cracking the most was when we were told to ‘mind our business.’ Rather than do that, we set up a poll on Twitter and got even more anger. Some people wanted us to just mind our business. That was the one we really wanted to get into. Look at the poll we did. 

Two of the people who commented seemed very angry when telling us to can it. 

We burst out in laughter when we saw ‘meddlesome interloper’ and then the irony hit us.

These people were so busy telling us to mind our business that they forgot they were committing the same faux pas; not minding theirs. They scrolled through their timeline, saw the tweets, read and understood them, got riled up, decided to respond, PROCEEDED to respond (and in some cases, respond again). You see that ‘minding your business’ would have gone more like, ‘scroll through timeline, see tweets, read and understand, probably get riled up (or not), decide it is not your business, continue scrolling through your timeline.’ That would have been Minding Your Business 101.

And while we are a team of really crazy people, we decided to be respectful in our responses to these people. Where we would have bust a cap in the responders’ behinds, we decided to file it under ‘Peeves of growing a readership’. But the interaction got us thinking.

Does anyone ever mind their business? We think not.

From the busiest people to those who are just chilling in the Bahamas, there seems to be the need to know what is happening with other people and form an opinion about it. That is why the US Stock Exchange, even in the time of stability, monitors what is happening with the Asian Stock Exchange. It is another reason why an Arsenal fan keeps up with teams in the Bundesliga, La Liga, Serie A, Ligue 1 and Eredivisie. It is also why religious adherents of different faiths wonder why the other group does what it does or why we click on those ‘29 more pictures’ on Facebook. Deep down, we believe that these events (that are seemingly not our business) affect us in one way or the other. In some cases, they do. In others, we are far removed. That is why a husband’s disdainful treatment of his wife is our business and why a possible insubordination by a wife was the business of those who commented.

The myth of minding your business is then just that; a myth. There is almost no one who minds their business all the time. Even monks who are ensconced in monasteries high atop mountains still come out once in a while to affect the communities surrounding them. The need to know and be a part of something that may or may not affect you is why many businesses flourish across the globe. It is that need that makes us eavesdrop on people talking in the bus or watch those two conductors fight. It is also that need that has led to revolutions globally for better lives for people.

But this is why many things are our business;

1.                  The World Bank reports that ‘51% of African women accept that being beaten by their husbands is justified if they either go out without permission, neglect the children, argue back, refuse to have sex or burn the food.’ While this goes against EVERY human rights, it is the ‘mind your business’ mentality that makes women feel they are deserving of such. If women are taught that it is unacceptable for a man to hit them, whether he is their husband or not, then this appalling statistic will come crashing to the lowest figures;

2.                  Though greatly under-reported, it is estimated that 35% of women globally and up to 70% of women in some countries have been raped at least once. This can be found the 2016 UN Women ‘Facts and Figures: EndingViolence against Women’. We refuse to be silent with such staggering facts because we have been – and may again be – victims of this. We talk about it in collaboration with other bodies to see how this can be reduced. This means that if we hear that a husband rapes his wife, we call for justice regardless of the fact that he is her husband;

3.                  There are an estimated 414 million people living in extreme poverty across Africa. That is a whopping 48.5% of the population. This is according to The Borgen Project of 2010. And though we are middle class Africans, it is no reason to ignore such a deplorable state because it does not affect us. The Borgen project also reports on malnourishment, people living without electricity, lack of access to clean water, number of refugees as a result of war, maternal mortality, malaria, child marriage and women’s access to school. These are all issues we are passionate about even though we haven’t suffered some of the debilitative effects;

4.                  The Global Education Monitoring (GEM) Report of UNESCO for 2014 shows that across Africa, 28 million girls between the ages of 6 and 15 are not in school and many will never even set foot in a classroom. This is alarming. And it is why we support the No Girl Left Behind Project. We want EVERY GIRL to be educated and to maximize her potential in her community. And if a girl doesn’t want to do so, we believe it SHOULD BE HER CHOICE ENTIRELY and not because she has to kowtow to the wishes of her husband.

We can go on and on about the things we believe are our businesses – the government, wars across Africa, tribal and religious conflicts, body and skin shaming, racism, sustainable development, improving Africa’s global standing, marriage, bride price, childbirth and divorce, education, science and technology, development, importation and exportation, entertainment and disillusionment, acceptable and unacceptable social behavior and so much more – because these things ARE OUR BUSINESS.

One of our core values is that if it happens to one of us, it is happening to all of us! And if we can change the rhetoric for just one of us, we can do so for ALL of us. As a result, we will keep pushing for women, children, those who are different in the society, the physically disabled, minorities and the disenfranchised because it is our business!

So…what makes you tick? What makes you eager to change (or maintain) the status quo? What do you stand for? After all, it is the things we stand for that we are remembered (or forgotten) for.

What would you NOT mind your business for?

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