Testosterone will not pay the rent | This is Africa

Politics and Society

Testosterone will not pay the rent

Marriage is important to people but being the matrimonial outlier within a Kenyan family is both a blessing and a curse. On the one hand people seldom ask where your boyfriend is because they assume you chased him away with your strange notions



Marriage is important to people but being the matrimonial outlier within a Kenyan family is both a blessing and a curse. On the one hand people seldom ask where your boyfriend is because they assume you chased him away with your strange notions. And on the other hand, there’s no shortage of aunts lining up to give you matrimonial advice. There is always someone trying to rescue me from a life of frozen chapatis eaten in singles and at least one woman trying to convert me into a domesticated being because they’re worried that my views will keep me perpetually single.

These life changes include:

Asking permission to go out

The phrase ‘take back the night’ no longer applies to you because you now have a man at home. Or he could be out with his friends. Either way you have to ask for permission to go out. You spend years growing up, getting educated, learning about life and getting a job. But now because you’re married you have to revert to living like a 16 year old girl.


When African women get married they lose their independence. Married women have to ask for permission to go out. Source: Pixabay

My broke cousin doing her IB and a married career woman in Kenya have the same club hustle, namely having to ask those in charge to spend a night out on the town. I have a feeling that in a lot of cases my little cousin will be more successful in her endeavours.

What’s yours is his and what is his is his on all your behalf

This apparently includes things such as cars, clothes and children. If you want to buy a car, consult him because it belongs to both of you.Want to give away your top? Please run it by him.

The tricky thing is this also includes finances.

Women who work as financial managers, have to hand over the running of the household finances to their husbands.Source: juimg.com

I have been regaled with stories of women who work in the banking sector, or are high-level financial managers, sometimes even full blown accountants, who have had to hand over the running of the household finances to their husbands. This despite the fact that these men have no real financial skills other than ‘Kinyajui told me this is a good deal.’

The notion of identifying strengths and allocating roles according to these strengths is not part of the game plan within this sport called marriage. Some roles are for husbands and some for wives. Chapter closed.

Men are like big children and need to be taken care of


The idea here is simple. He needs to be fed, watered, cleaned and made to feel comfortable at all times. You can be excused for thinking I was describing a new born baby or some sort of genetically modified house plant.

This is a grown man who has probably at some point in his life lived by himself. However, a miraculous transformation takes place once he is married. He forgets how to turn on the stove. He forgets that underwear can only be worn once. He forgets that having a dirty shirt is not part of the corporate uniform.

Suddenly it is your job to remember this. It is a direct reflection of you if your man goes out in un-ironed pants, or has a ketchup stain on his tie.

This is the life we are meant to adapt to once we get married. Supposedly ‘this is how things work’ because the man is in charge. But if I am better at finances, raising children and ‘bringing home the bacon’ why am I not the head of the household?

Granted, there used to be concrete reasons why men ran households in the past. They were protectors in times of war and during times of travel across precarious lands. They were hunters who went and actually brought home the bacon (or wildebeest). They fathered whole hordes of children and cared for them.


But times have changed. Now I have a job, we can all go to the supermarket and if robbers come we are calling the security company together. Most importantly we are both providing for and protecting the children.

Having been raised by a single mother I find it disconcerting when someone talks to me about a man running my home. It is not because I am a ‘raving feminist’, a ‘man hater’, or ‘too modern for my own good’. It is simply because I have no working knowledge of this phenomenon.

Most of the single mothers raise their children on their own with no additional financial support. Picture: Onyx

Growing up the source of everything was my mother – schools fees, pocket money, etc. And I am not the only one. Around the world there are millions and millions of single parent households, the vast majority of them run by women.

In South Africa single parent households have become ‘the norm’ with nearly a third of children growing up with just one parent. Further data shows that 53% of working mothers in South Africa are single parents and roughly half of them raise their children with no additional financial support.

Kenya is said to have one of the highest rates of single mother households in Africa. It is purported that six of every 10 women will become single mothers by the time they reach 45.

Moreover, the idea that the man is the automatic leader in the home leads to some damaging societal thoughts such as women cannot run companies or countries. I once had a conversation with a man from Malawi who was raised by a single after his father disappeared but he was completely opposed to the idea of a woman president and he was happy when Joyce Banda was no longer head of state.


Apparently a woman was good enough to hold the fort in the absence of his father but despite her unwavering commitment, women are still not good enough to handle responsibility on a global scale.

No one is automatically designed to head up a household, everyone has skills to bring to the table and if yours happen to place you on top, then may the best person ‘win’.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Exit mobile version