Rwandan circles, are incredibly small and with that comes certain codes of behaviour. It is the one thing I can never get used to in Kigali- the guy code.
The guy code exists everywhere but in Rwanda it takes a different form. You can be astounded as you watch loyalty and treachery sit side by side.A man lecherously wrapped around a loose woman while his wife’s brother watches and laughs.
The brother must have weighed up his loyalties, to his little sister and nephews or to his fellow man. He
concluded to be loyal to his friend and treacherous to his sister. So he sat and watched as his friend played sexual Russian roulette unaware that his sister will also pay that price.
We have always tried to preserve “inyangamugayo” or traditional ethical values based on honour.
To a large extent we do, Rwandans darenot eat in public because it is unseemly. We still talk politely, respect elders and respect ourselves but in the area of sexual mores, we do it openly. Why avoid eating in public but instead show all dirtylinen instead?
It is seen as the reward of an African man to have whatever woman he desires, marriage is but a mere ceremony.
The most popular bars are the dark and the dingy ones, you go to places where you can just hear voices and not see faces. You can tell every person in that place by their laugh. What is in the darkness will always come to light.
By the time the booze has flowed, the shame has dissipated and now they are ready to parade their loose women in public.
So the married men all do it openly anywhere where they can get an audience. In the applauding audience are in-laws and family members who do nothing!
“Hey Rama, I’d like you to meet some cheap slut I picked off the street, she’s called Angeline.”
The level of prostitution in our society is symptomatic of a deeper problem, I think men are feeling marginalised and powerless and are resorting to sex for instant gratification. Visiting prostitutes can be as addictive as any drug, there is a sense of anticipation, sudden rush, then a crash where they regret what they have done, only to do it again.
Rwandan couples rarely bond on a personal level, there is a formal husband-wife role play but few couples are really good friends.
Likemy friend said “she’s not my friend, she’s my wife. There has to be a clear line.” So men segment their lives, their wife for kids, mistress who really understands and stray pick-ups here and there. The thought of having all from one is absurd.
So about this guy code, when did all Rwandan men meet to decide it was ok to do this? I wasn’t there and the crazy thing is the guy code applies to women as well, they too are silent. We don’t need a Taliban-style crackdown; we just need people to remember respect and