Putting the matter of violence in public spaces into perspective

Calling into question the Chivahnu of public spaces’ is an article I wrote highlighting the occurrences of public shaming and humiliation, most of which I have had to face over the years. As a victim of the violence that is most often rife in public spaces I offer my local Zimbabwean value system called ‘Chivahnu’ that is prevalent in Shona culture as a means to curb deviancy through a crime and punishment model. 

It is a normal system of ‘do unto others what just might be done to you’ and one fine example is ‘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.

What Chivahnu offers is not only societal backlash for a defined crime also includes spiritual affliction to a deviant that has to be appeased with a type of ritual. In these times of fast information and accumulating, daily problems I feel that the value of ‘Chivahnu’ can shake up things a bit and bring back a sense of respect and community towards others regardless of background. What might sound like a far fetched dream, I believe can be possible with more open discussions and inclusion of people from diverse backgrounds into the daily routines of communities around the world.

Click on the link below to read the full article on online journal Povo: http://www.povo.co.zw/opinions/calling-question-chivanhu-public-spaces

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