All children should be treated equally by their parents and yet some children are more equal than others. This is something that I learned at home while still growing up with my brother. I noticed that my brother and I were never treated the same by our mother and grandmother. My brother was like the prince and I was the slave. I had to do almost every chore at home, like sweeping the yard, cleaning the house, collecting fire wood in the bushes, cooking, washing the dishes and everyone’s clothes and also going to fetch water with a wheelbarrow at a distance of 2km or even more sometimes.
While I slaved away my brother basically just woke up everyday and sat around and waited for everything to be done for him, because he was a boy and boys around here are brought up not to do ordinary chores washing dishes, cooking, cleaning the house etc. All these things are believed to be a girl’s responsibilities because she will one day grow up to get married. And she will be expected to do all these things for her husband, while he sits around with the remote control in his hands.
I have also noticed from other people’s relationships that if both the husband and wife worked and the man happened to come home early, he would just sit around and wait for the wife to come back and cook for him, and also run him a bath. And let’s not even mention baby nappies. I mean, try asking a man from around here to change a baby’s nappy, and I swear to you your marriage will be over there and then.
I feel that this is just another rule that men invented so they could be served like kings. Culture can be so cruel to women sometimes. I hated doing all those chores all alone while my brother just relaxed. It made me feel like he was more important that I was. It made me angry. I resented my brother for this. I didn’t really understand why he was treated like a king meanwhile I was like a slave. So one day I decided that enough was enough. I refused to do everything by myself. And that didn’t go all too well with my mom. She told my grandmother not to give me any food at all. I wasn’t given anything to eat all day. And I almost slept on an empty stomach too. But my mom eventually felt sorry for me and gave me something to eat.
Even though my mom was a very strict person she eventually saw my point of view. So, she decided to help me around with the chores and even asked my lazy brother to help out now and then. But that didn’t go down all well with my grandmother. Every time my mother asked my brother to do something my grandmother would tell him to leave it and that she would do it for him. And indeed she would do it for him. And he grew up to be the laziest man like the rest of the men around here.
Thandi Mkhatshwa grew up in the the small village of Tintswalo, South Africa. In 2007, she graduated from the Amazwi School of Media Arts with a Certificate in Narrative Journalism and Fieldwork Studies.She is now studying Accounting at South Africa's University of the Free State in Bloemfontein. She enjoys writing about every day life and events. She blogs once a week on AFRicanmag.com. Bookmark her blog at