It’s International Women’s Day #IWD2021 this month and in light of this year’s theme, “#ChooseToChallenge”. I was inspired to take this time to share some of the stereotypes that I have experienced as a Ndebele girl or girl in general. It’s imperative that we challenge the stereotypes that exist around us. The trouble is, stereotypes by definition are baseless. There’s no real root to rip out. It’s an overgrown rumour.
Please be warned that some (most) of them are of a sexual nature.
The mole on my chin
My biological father has a mole on his cheek. You can’t miss it. So, as his daughter I inherited one just like it but on my chin instead. When I hit puberty I became self conscious about the hairy mole and started to shave it. I think it was after I watched an Austin Powers movie which I had no business watching anyway. The trouble with shaving is that, it’s a lifetime deal. Once you start, you can’t stop because the hair comes back thicker and stronger. Which means it’s more noticeable.
So people who don’t know will think I have a beard or just facial hair. Perverts however will be brazen enough to step up to me and say, “You have a beard that means you are cheeky and your vagina is top tier pleasurable.” The literal sentence is, “Ulendevu kutsho ukuthi umnandi.” I don’t even know what the correlation between the 2 is but I’ve been told this more than once.
Ndebele girls have big butts
Obviously not all Ndebele girls but anyways they have tried it. When I moved to another city, away from Bulawayo, men would just say to me, “I knew you were Ndebele from your butt.” Again, not scientifically proven. There are so many tribes in South Africa and yet so many of their women are well endowed. I tried to ignore this, until a video of some guy in varsity went viral and he also comments on Ndebele girls and their butts. Clearly it’s not in my mind.
All Ndebele girls can dance
Not true, my sisters are Ndebele and can’t bust a move for diddly squat. So, the stereotype is that Ndebele girls can dance which means they can move their hips which then resultantly means that they are good in bed. None of those things are mutually exclusive. Who comes up with these stereotypes?
Ndebele girls are easy/prostitutes
This one stereotype, we aren’t even gonna discuss. Move to the capital city, speak Ndebele and see it for yourself. Kubi. The audacity is as contagious as the Coronavirus. They will literally mention it in your presence or say it to your face. There’s clearly 2 pandemics this year, Covid and Audacity and both are catching on like wild fire.
Bulawayo girls are violent
This is the only stereotype whose origins I can guess. Bulawayo is also known as Komfaz’ utshay’ indoda. Which means the place where women beat up men. So some people who don’t know the history behind this name will take it literally and assume the GBV runs rampant in Bulawayo. Personally, have I hit men? Yes, but that’s just the Cardi B in me. The one guy I pelted with boulders decided to tell half the faculty at University but didn’t say why I hit him.
The City of Bulawayo is popularly known as "komfazi ushay' indoda" meaning that " its a place where a woman defeat the men" until today.. this is courtesy to the great Queen Lozikeyi herself" and her military prowess .— Zenzele (@zenzele) December 16, 2018
What are some of the stereotypes that you’ve been boxed in? Do you know their origins? Share them below.