Visit to Zambia and Culture Shock

I was visiting in Zambia for a month and had a great, great time.  I met various and friends and relatives I have not seen in a very long time.  I heard some good news and some not-so-good news, but such is life.

Zambia is home, but having lived away from home for so many years has made me look at life in a totally different way.  I guess that I am no longer as Zambian as I used to be.   People change in their perspectives, and I have along with them..

One thing that shocked me was how distinct male and female roles are in Zambia.  For example, men expect their wives to wait on them.  This used to be fine with me before, but now it is not.  Why can’t the man clear the table himself instead of walking all the way from the dining room to the kitchen just to announce to his wife that he was done eating and she should clear the table?  I no longer understand it.  The wife cooks, cleans, does the laundry and generally makes sure that the home is running well, whether or not the man is in formal/informal employment.  The man’s duty at home seems to be that of relaxing and resting.

Of course, the man may later expect some ‘evening favors’ from the wife because he is so full of energy and rested.  Culturally, the wife is expected to comply because it is her ‘duty’ to do so despite having run around the whole day and is exhausted.

It would be difficult for me to be in such a situation after having seen how domestic tasks are done in a non-gender based way in many western families.

17 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. TexWisGirl
    Oct 12, 2015 @ 21:02:37

    i think it is always eye-opening to return home after many years away. to realize you have changed but perhaps the folks of ‘home’ have not.


  2. mukhamani
    Oct 09, 2015 @ 08:52:06

    It used to be like that here but now things have changed. My husband helps me a lot, even though I do not go out to work:))


  3. Gallivanta
    Oct 08, 2015 @ 07:26:20

    It’s wonderful to go ‘home’ but we do grow out of it, and that is how it should be. It’s interesting that the traditional roles still remain so strong.


    • Zambian Lady
      Oct 08, 2015 @ 07:40:31

      Some traditions, such as gender roles, are still a bit too much I think.


      • Gallivanta
        Oct 08, 2015 @ 07:46:03

        Do you find the traditional gender roles are still strong amongst the younger generations?

      • Zambian Lady
        Oct 08, 2015 @ 07:54:36

        They are still quite strong. The couple I wrote about are in my age group. A husband who helps out a lot in the home is said to be ‘under petticoat government’ while his wife is considered lazy or that she gave him some love potion/juju. This is interesting because I have heard of Zambian/African men in the diaspora who do their part in the home but change immediately they get to Zambia. It is all because they do not want to be seen as weak. It is an unfortunate state of affairs.

      • Gallivanta
        Oct 08, 2015 @ 08:02:16

        That is unfortunate.

  4. Colline
    Oct 08, 2015 @ 01:01:12

    One can only hope that this attitude will change in time.


  5. anotherday2paradise
    Oct 07, 2015 @ 20:34:14

    Wow! That’s just so unfair. Women need to stand up for their rights.


    • Zambian Lady
      Oct 08, 2015 @ 07:42:37

      I think we are still some way off because of the strong cultural belief that women have to wait on their husbands. However, if one woman starts then it may pick up.


  6. Lori
    Oct 07, 2015 @ 19:28:43

    This is interesting to learn. It used to be that way for women in the U.S. until about the late 60’s when it slowly began to change. I can’t imagine being expected to do those things anymore. However, I do think that if the man works and the woman is at home, it would be conducive for both of them if she could get the housework done during the days, at least most of it. During the times I’m home and not working, I do all of it except the grocery shopping. I leave that to my husband, because I’m a terrible shopper. Yes, a woman who is a terrible shopper, and I don’t like it either. Otherwise, on times I’m working, we pitch in equally with housework. Thank you for sharing about Zambian culture.


    • Zambian Lady
      Oct 08, 2015 @ 07:46:45

      I believe in everyone doing their bit but many, many times I have seen unemployed Zambian men expecting their wives to fend for the family and do all the housework. What does the man do in this instance? Nothing!


  7. cocoaupnorth
    Oct 07, 2015 @ 19:05:02

    I can relate:-)


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: