« Yakurikiye amahera », « abakobwa ntubazi, barondera uwifise », etc condamnation after condamnation. It is like everybody has agreed that Burundian girls out of cupidity or lazyness have developed the virus of materialism. Like there are no reasons that pushed them to do so ? ( rolling eyes emoji). So are we going to act like our society does not encourage being materialist ? (Laughing emoji).
Materialism is not really something I am a fan of because it is dehumanizing but I easily understand girls that are in that place. This society is dehumanizing towards them in a lot of ways. Therefore, this understanding can never allow me to judge the ones that fall into this category I am about to describe.
The perch has no carrot on it
Growing up in Burundian society as a girl has nothing glamorous. You cannot even remember the first time you heard the famous quote : « Niko zubakwa », for you were so little. The only thing you recall is the negative connotation the sentence carried, like a scepter of destiny hanging over your head you cannot flee. Like a tragedy ready to erupt as soon as that ring reaches the root of your fourth finger.
The aunties will listen to you complaining about your period pain and let you know with condescending facial expressions to wait until you get married: « You will know the real definition of suffering ». Oh, I forgot to mention how I hate their circles, especially their whatsapp groups. Oh my goodness! May I never be granted the honor to be added to those groups. Plus the bridal shower talks, it is like the whole household and the caprices of the husband rest on the shoulders of the bride to be, that should remain forever strong. Love, as they say in their matter of fact tone, is a thing that only exists in the engagement phase and the first year of marriage before the baby lands and shifts the parents’ priorities (almost). Let us not forget he can beat you at any time and please do wear your best smile when attending social events and weddings.
So without going further (I may just vent, vent and vent and lose track of my common thread) just know most of the messages rotate around : you will suffer, suffer and suffer in marriage once that pretty white cloud of feelings transforms into a storm.
So, yeah, it is easier to suffer in a villa at Gasekebuye than a ghetto of Buterere close to that garbage hill. It is more bearable to be beaten and later hang out with your friends at Kiriri Garden than around a certain village upcountry while fetching for water with your neighbors. Since happiness is a far away dream in a wonderland, of course girls will just look for a more visible and possible asset : money and wealth.
The « end goal »…
Before my fingers leave this keyboard, let us not act like our families do not pressure us to find someone who is…. wealthy (of course they have more « gipfasoni » words to describe it). Have you seen how everybody is excited when a girl is married to a visa-giver? Their happiness will make you think that she has achieved her life goal. They will say she has honored her family, she is their pride and an example to her generation with a glittering gaze that reflects the happiness that the luxury of the ceremony triggers.
Your family members will upfront tell you to find a man who is your equal (or superior) financially wise, as if we are naturally equipped with a supernatural calculator that can determine the networth of a man on a first date (rolling eyes emoji).
Sadly this is one bill and the weight of my rant cannot be contained here. I will end here, reminding you to consider all the variables that created this materialism that our society condemns with so much fervor (unamused face/side eye emoji).