Article Review: A look at violence in public spaces
‘Calling into question the Chivahnu of public spaces’ is an article I wrote highlighting my personal experiences of public shaming and humiliation in public spaces. As someone who has directly faced the violence, I try to look at solutions that can help in creating a safe space for everyone in public.
One of this solutions is a cultural value structure prevalent in Zimbabwe and this is called in Shona ‘Chivahnu’. It is a normal system of ‘do unto others what you want to be done to you’ . One fine example is called ‘kutanda botso’, where a child who has physically assaulted their mother spends a year in rags asking for grains from people to brew beer in appeasement.
As much as it is about crime and punichment it also offers the space for concialatory actions, there is room for confrontation, discussion and aftwerwards resolutions, which in the past was done before a tribal king at a ‘dare’ which means court in English.
In its many practises that are not only secluded towards the regulation of behaviour, there are family and communal activities that bring together young and old in celebration, in remembrance of those dead and in planning for the future. In this essence, the idea of family is spread beyond the nuclear family and includes everyone around regardless of their background, deserves to be treated with respect.
Click on the link below to read the full article on online journal Povo: