Gutu, October 21, 2013 -In incidents that have left tongues wagging in most parts of Gutu district in Masvingo province, a number of women under chiefs Nerupiri and Makore are parting with chickens, goats and varying amounts of hard earned cash as well as five litres of traditional brew for wearing miniskirts and trousers, TellZimbabwe (Masvingo) has learnt.
Led by an aide to Chief Nerupiri known as Rushanga, “the cultural police” have turned Nerupiri Shopping Centre into a no-go area for many women who fear being found on the wrong side of culture in case the chief’s aides rule their dressing inappropriate.
Visitors to the area are often shocked when they find their visits to the area cut short by the chief’s aides who accost them as they disembark from buses and order them out of Nerupiri or pay the fines that include varying cash amounts depending with the gravity of the ‘crime’.
All fines are to be accompanied by five litres of the traditional brew popularly known as “seven days” while the lucky ones escape with warnings or are ordered to go back home and change into “more decent clothing”.
A similar situation is reported to be taking place in other parts of Gutu under the jurisdiction of the traditional leaders with reports having been confirmed in Chief Makore’s area where a number of women have been ordered to pay goats and cash for wearing trousers.
Chief Makore has informers all around his area and whenever one is caught wearing the banned dressing; members of the neighbourhood watch are enlisted to bring such offenders to book.
Teachers and other civil servants in the areas are the most affected by the new laws.
“A lady teacher at Nerupiri Primary School was ordered to go back and dress properly or else pay them some money if she wanted to wear trousers. Whenever you are seen wearing trousers the chief’s aides drag you behind the council bar at Nerupiri Shopping Centre and demand money,” the source said.
However what is of major concern to Chief Nerupiri’s subjects is that the chief’s children and grandchildren are seen wearing trousers without being reprimanded.
“The chief is abusing his office because his own children put on this type of dressing. Why does he conduct his Thursday meetings in the council bar, not his homestead in keeping with tradition?” said another source.
Chief Nerupiri’s aide, Rushanga said the crackdown was prompted by the way some women in his area have been dressing, which is against cultural values.
“We try our level best to maintain cultural values but some of these women’s dressing is nauseating. How can one stand before her father dressed like that? It is not right and we will continue doing so until it gets into their heads.”
“We implore those from the press to come and attend our meetings, that way they may understand where we are coming from,” said Rushanga.
Edward Nhemachena who is Chief Nerupiri could not be reached for a comment while Paramount Chief Gutu under whose jurisdiction most chiefs in the district fall, Edmund Amon Masanganise said he was not aware of what is taking place and has never encountered anything of its nature.
Source: TellZimbabwe (Masvingo)