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Other Articles from The Villager

Old wivesÔÇÖ tales for women

by Linekela Halwoodi



I  do not bash tradition but in this world where women are still subjected to beliefs and traditions as a form of the ‘new age’ colonisation, eyes need to be opened.
Namibian women may not be like women from the Middle East but there are still beliefs that make them prisoners.
The Villager took to the streets this week to find out how much young women know about what has been passed down to them even though some do not practise or follow these beliefs by the book.
We found that some beliefs are, especially strict towards pregnant women, yet some are just for women in general.
“For coloureds, if you get pregnant out of wedlock, you have to carry yourself like a sinner. When you are pregnant, you are not allowed to colour or wash your hair,” a certain Sammy says.
When an Oshiwambo woman, for instance, delivers a baby, she has to be sexually cleansed before engaging in normal sexual activities with men other than the father of her baby.
It is, however, believed that the newborn would die if the mother has sex with anyone other than the father.
It is also believed that a woman is not allowed to have a conversation while standing in the doorway as it is bad luck.
They are also not allowed to eat domestic animals’ tongues.
Damara/Nama women, like coloureds, strongly believe that washing their hair soon after giving birth should not be done.
They are also not allowed to leave the house or cook. They can only go near a stove when the baby’s umbilical cord stump has fallen off.
Damara/Nama women can also not reach for things at high places nor are they allowed to bend down.
Some of these beliefs can be explained by doctors today but some of them do not apply and never really affect any woman in any way yet are still strongly believed in.
In the same way, women count on getting what we call ‘bonus hair’ during pregnancy, as they believe the pregnancy boosts hair growth.
What they do not know or choose to ignore is that the vitamins and medication they take during pregnancy are also the root stimulators that make the hair grow very well, not delivered to them by the ‘fairy of pregnancies’.
Women need to be educated, especially concerning birth and should not be scared into believing some of these things.
They should also be able to give birth and continue living a normal life while nurturing their young ones instead of being scared into behaving according to silly old mid-wife tales that have been passed down by people we do not even remember.