Wisdom Chitedze is a Malawian poet and singer who is known for songs like Tipewe and Misonzi but I got to know him from a piece he have written. It is heart touching and quite funny! Read it for yourself (edited):
'I'm 100 % man. I was born and raised a man, I will die a man. And as a man, right now I feel very sad, very ashamed, and very angry with myself! I look back in human, and my personal, history and I see a trail of needless pain and sorrow inflicted on women by, or as a result of, us men.
We've been irresponsible fathers, abdicating the throne and forcing the women to assume our responsibilities because we didn't show or pitch up. We've not shown love and kindness to our own. Busy doing "man things", whatever that is. We've substituted the provision of things as the logical and justifiable alternative of our being present, our being caring and loving.
We've been irresponsible brothers, cousins, uncles, friends and fellow citizens. We have not protected the women from harm, we've seen them raped, we've seen them beat upon, and we've seen them vilified with words more lethal than arsenic laced daggers, eviscerating tender hearts and hardening souls. Sometimes, as men we've been the perpetrators not the spectators.
We've promised women to be true leaders; gentle lovers and responsible fathers and we've lived to be the beast to the beauties. I'm tempted to pray that you be infested with camel fleas in places you cannot scratch! We've squandered dreams on booze, gambling, hare-brained get-rich-quick schemes and sleeping with anything that wears a skirt and answers to the name of she!
We've not done what we should, but we have done what we shouldn't have done! We've forgotten our anniversaries, your birthdays, our valentines and the kids' birthdays! but we've remembered to pay for cable, we've remembered to pay for the new plasma and groovy cell phone, we've remembered our own mother's birthdays and wondered why you didn't seem to care!?
We've come home after a day of work and you've tried to reach to us and we just zoned out. You've dressed your best and when you asked us whether you looked good all we said was "uh-huh" but when we were telling you about how our lady workmates were dressed, we did it with so much enthusiasm and were so animated. Sisters, you just had to blow a fuse and give us a bad-hair day! It seems we've the right for you to give us time so we can unburden our hearts, but not vice versa!
It's as if it is inn the constitution that a man gets "it" when he wants, how he wants it, where he wants it. But when you want it, you must give valid reasons as to why otherwise you are a wh....e!
The babies are yours, "Uhm, honey, the baby just poo'd, you need to change the diapers, uhm, darling, the baby's crying" etc. No matter what you are doing or how you feel, we are always busier! Or we say you are better with the kids than we are and so abscond from our duties so we can watch football, wrestling, fashion TV or play Need for Speed till the early hours of morning!
My sisters, my sisters, my sisters. How do I undo this pain? Years and layers of disrespect, abuse, trauma and unmet needs? We've abused you in the name of religion, love, the law, money and so on.
My mother, my sister, my cousin, my aunt, my friend, my colleague, my comrade, my daughter, my niece whatever colour, race, age or creed you are. I'm on my knees as a man, apologising.
I acknowledge that we've done you wrong and hurt you and you didn't deserve it. You deserved better. You are beautiful, you are a miracle, a wonder, but we have treated you like trash, objects, currency, means to an end, occupations.
But it is not enough to apologise and make amends for the past, when the present and the future hold a possibility of a repeat and thus this becomes a fool's errand, rantings of a madman.
In this instant, I become the individual. The one who pledges to start as a person, as a man to make a difference. If I can't agree with you, I'd rather walk away, in peace and leave you with your self-respect and my respect for you than do you wrong so I can feel powerful or vindicated in any way.
I know I've blabbered a lot, but maybe it's because I know it cannot be enough, but it's a start and it's something.
Sisters, I'm sorry.'