On Sunday, my wife Caroline gave me a public lecture on HIV and Aids before I left for my favourite pub to watch a live screening of the just-ended Africa Cup of Nations final between Zambia and Ivory Coast.
“I hear the wind of shameless sex has blown away from Chikangawa Forest to Zambia. Please, Zikathankalima, don’t allow Satan to lead you into temptations,” Ulunji’s motherÃ‚Â counselled me.
It was needless to ask why people no longer want their partners to go out and watch televised soccer matches in pubs.Ã‚Â Zambians had an early Valentine last week as some women in Lusaka donated themselves to every johnny as part of celebrating Chipolopolo (their national team) road to the finals.Ã‚Â Reports say men in nightclubs were spotted queuing for sex and women had intimate time with about 11 men each. Just when I thought human beings are not dogs, one Johnny was beaten after taking too long to finish his turn.
What a way to mix soccer and sex! It appears the beautiful game is a risky Ã¢â‚¬ËœsexerciseÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ for faint-hearted supporters in a country which, according to our Ã¢â‚¬ËœsexcellenciesÃ¢â‚¬â„¢, has similar culture, surnames and history to ours. Baneba ni baneba, Zambians say when they meet Malawians.
And our neighbours’ conduct evoked memories of sawyers scrambling for sex in Chikangawa. According to reports, jonnies in the forest hungrily queue to go to bed with women, who sleep with 25 men per night.
My bottlemates and I wondered how far soccer-mad Zambians would go if they won the World Cup. Wouldn’t they sleep around as if they had just discovered HIV cure at last?
When they won Afcon on Sunday, we couldn’t imagine the number of unwanted trophiesÃ¢â‚¬â€ pregnancies and sexually transmitted infectionsÃ¢â‚¬â€they would nurse for the rest of their lives. I hear some beer-loving Malawians of Chikangawa thinking had their passports and condoms ready just in case Zambian women wanted to celebrate Ivory Coast’s loss in spectacular style.
“Why should Chikangawa men waste money on sex workers when they can get a free treat across the border?” asked Chimutu, the storytelling beer-beggar who wears expensive Chinese suits like President Bingu wa Mutharika. I was tempted to inquire where he gets the suits when he fails to pay his bills, but doing so would be like asking an African leader to declare his assets and account for a mansion in the middle of nowhere.
By the way, the wrinkles on Chimutu’s face mirrored his pity for Chikangawa-based sawyers braving the sun to split the logs in blue black parts of the thick forest; jobless locals shouldering timber over hills and valleys; truck drivers enduring weeks far from their stable sexual partners. Why do they spend their hard-earned dues in risky sexual shacks when they are supposed to be enjoying a deserved sleep?
“Why should men fight for sex as if they were dogs in heat?” asked Chimutu, but revellers were high on soccer. After goalless draw, the finale had entered into a penalty shootout.
When a brittle Ivory Coast star missed his spot kick, Chimimba, the potbellied man, sprung from his seat and hugged a female bartender with all his might. Spectators were happy that Zambia would win the game if they scored their penalty, but the lady looked scared.
“What will happen to us if Zambia wins tonight? Won’t you rape us?” she asked Chimimba.
“Are we safe when you come to watch your brothers chasing the dead leather like mad people,” added another.
I shared their fears in view of daylight scenes of men stripping women in Lilongwe. However, the balloon-belied man had his defence at the tip of his Zambian tongue.
“Manje Malawi na Zambia, baneba ni baneba. Don’t worry inu ndiwakazi wathu (you are our wives),” said the man, struggling to hide his Zambian roots.
I was tempted to disassociate myself from Zambia if winning means sex madness, but their team had a landslide majority on the scene. Was it good neighbourliness or endorsement of that country’s president Michael Sata whose fire-fly temper and hard-heartedness has left our wise and dynamic leader queuing for a handshake at every summit they bump into each other?
I think Zambia’s triumph is shocking not only because it left behind an impression that we can achieve our goals without investing enough in what we want but also due to the queues women had to endure amidÃ‚Â the risk of HIV and Aids.
Meanwhile, I must get used to my Carol’s public lectures every time I thirst for a televised soccer show.
Ayoba! It’s Chipolopolo time.