Friday, June 25, 2010

Stories about penises

Yesterday, I was on a Sprinter mini-bus heading to Manzini when a man in his mid-30s got on and sat down next to me. He laughed at my SiSwati name, asked me if I had a boyfriend, and then asked me if he could put his jackhammer between my legs. I rolled my eyes and looked away, staring blankly out the window, preoccupied with hateful thoughts about inappropriate Swazi men.

"Sisi! Sisi!" He kept trying to get my attention. I finally gave in and glared back in his general direction. There, standing in the aisle between the seats, was the conductor (the person who takes the money), trying to find a place to store a jackhammer for the rest of the ride. And then I felt like a jerk.

But seriously, how was I supposed to know the man had an actual jackhammer? And how was my singleness in any way relevant to the storage of his jackhammer? What would YOU have assumed? I guess if there's a moral to this story, it's that I shouldn't assume that every random word a Swazi man says to me is a euphemism for a sex organ/act. (Though most of the time, my assumption WOULD be correct.)

On a somewhat related note, the Prime Minister of Swaziland, Mr. Sibusiso Barnabas Dlamini, recently called for all Members of Parliament (MPs) to be circumcised. Circumcision has been shown to decrease a man's susceptibility to HIV infection (the foreskin is naturally porous and is a great entry point for the virus into the body, so removing it makes it more difficult for the virus to enter the body), and he said that MPs should lead by example and encourage Swazi men to circumcise. The Swazi Times, the biggest newspaper in the country, interviewed 6 MPs about the issue, asking them if they were circumcised and if they supported the idea. My favorite response is from MP Peter Ngwenya-Ntontozi:

"Ngwenya said he did not know if he was circumcised or not. 'I am not too supportive of the idea because what if in future things go wrong and then there are calls for the stopping of circumcision? Where would I then get my foreskin from?'"

'Nuff said.

No comments: