Wednesday, August 3, 2011
ARE TANZANIAN WOMEN TURNING INTO SEASONED GOLD DIGGERS?
By Erick Mchome
She is seated with your friends at a gathering when you meet her. She takes your breath away; the smile, the fashionable clothes, the well maintained hair, manicured nails and a figure to match. When she opens her mouth your heart races, as she has a melting voice. You talk on, and you get to know that she is a graduate and a junior officer at a certain firm in town.
You are hooked and you soon start chatting her up. But a few weeks later you can’t stand her. Why so soon? Because she had endlessly turned you into her walking ATM machine. It started with a request for phone credit, then she asked for money to foot her salon bill, before she started giving hints that her mother was sick, and yes, could you kindly offer her some money?
It’s a tale that is all too common. Women who are gold diggers and who see a potential date as an express to money land. Tanzanian women are famed for their beauty, homemaking and bedroom skills, but one of the things that minuses their prowess is the habit by many to take men as walking wallets.
Remember we are not talking about twilight girls who make a living out of the men’s pockets. We are talking about the girl next door; the one who you would make plans to see your mother.
These women spend hours tanning, primping and shopping to make sure that they project that desired personality that will definitely capture you. Most likely she will be wearing that designer dress, but to her, this image must be maintained by all means and by a man.
They are even in normal relationships. They only believe in the traditional role of a man, and that is, whenever they are in any relationship, then every bill must be taken care off by a man. A year ago, when Isaac Malumwene, 30, an insurance officer in Dar es Salaam met his former girlfriend Penina Mushi* at Savannah Lounge, he had all the reasons to brag among his friends that he has won a bingo. Penina was beautiful and well educated and could grab any man’s attention.
But after only two months of seeing each other, Isaac was already starting to smell signs of a gold-digger. According to him, on their very first night out, Penina had the audacity to solicit Sh300,000 for her young brother’s school fees.
“I could not reject because I wanted to put my best foot forward. Besides, I had all the good intentions with her, so it never bothered me to give her the money the following day,” says Isaac.
But after two weeks, Penina came back with a different story altogether. This time, it was her village mother who was sick and she was supposed to travel to Shinyanga to nurse her. Unfortunately, according to her narration, she did not have enough savings so she pleaded with Isaac to rescue her desperate situation.
By then, a one-way fare to Shinyanga was Sh50,000, so Isaac had to part with Sh100,000 for transport and another Sh100,000 for other things including taking care of her ailing mother.
Isaac says that his ex-girlfriend, who was a secretary, in a private firm in Dar es Salaam, could afford to buy her way. But she decided to take advantage of him. The two lovebirds are no longer together as Isaac got fed up with her endless financial needs and since then he has decided to remain single.
It’s the done thing among many urbanite women. For them, burdening a man with their financial problems is as normal as gulping that glass of water. Ever thought, when was the last time you were at a bar with your buddies and a woman dared to open her purse and contributed to the bill? It seldom happens.
Mark Machume, (32), is a Dar es Salaam-based businessman who claims to have already experienced a lot at his age. He has so far dated four different women and ended up concluding that women are just after money. According to him, he started dating seriously when he got his first job with an NGO in Moshi.
He met his girlfriend at a friend’s party and after exchanging contacts, the two started meeting and ended up courting. The girl, had a temporary job as a kindergarten teacher at one of the international schools as she waited to join college.
“Her salary was Sh150,000 per month and she was still living with her parents, but I still had to take care of her mobile phone credits and other minor expenses,” says Mark, recalling his experience that occurred four years ago.
She hardly spent any money on herself as she waited for Mark to pick all her bills. So Mark, wanting to show how much of a man he picked her salon bills, bought her accessories and clothes of which she always demanded. It was a habit which Mark soon got tired of and gave her matching orders.
So, is it true that women never have money or just where does their money go? Do they save it or and if not, where do they have it stashed?
It is the same story in marriage. Anderson Kakulu, a tax officer in Dar es Salaam experiences the same with his wife who earns better than him, but still he has to buy everything at home. The wife who works as a bank-teller in Dar es Salaam spends her money on herself leaving all home affairs to Kakulu.
Kakulu, says that his money places food on the table, pays school fees for their three daughters and takes care of other expenses while the wife’s salary, well, he is not sure what she does with it. “I have done this since we got married 10 years ago. It does not bother me as long as I can afford it. But I know that, when I am not around, she uses her money to take care of the same things. For me, it is just a matter of being responsible,” says Kakulu.
Some women throw the blame to men saying that they are the ones promoting the trend. Lilian Chikawe for instance, is a 28-year-old civil servant in Dar es Salaam who says that it is men who always want to make themselves superior by taking care of everything.
“Most men think that superiority is attained by spending, no wonder women always stay behind letting men handle all money matters because doing it in front of them is like embarrassing them,” says Lilian.
Rose Kiswaga supports her. The social psychologist that also deals with relationships says that society is partly to blame for the trend because it places a woman on the receiving end.
She cites the example of the Makonde, a local tribe whereby when a mature girl spends the night out, her parents rarely reprimand her because she would return the following morning with some money or a kilo of sugar.
“So think of this girl when she grows up, her mind is set to believe that whatever she does for a man must come with a reward. The clever women will ask for that money upfront or look for treats,” notes Rose. On the other hand, women regard themselves as expensive commodities that every man must incur some costs to maintain them. Expressions like, ‘no romance without finance’ have a deeper meaning because that is what they believe in.
On several occasions, some women have intentionally hooked themselves up with rich men and readily got married without second thoughts; others have even feigned pregnancies as they think that is their only ticket to a good life. For them, money comes first before love.
“I would not die for a man just because of love. Love has to be accompanied by the size of his wallet, and even before I say I do, I must make sure that I have the guarantee of a luxury life,” says Leticia Chimbua, a salonist in Sinza Dar es Salaam.