Butiama Bed & Breakfast

Butiama Bed & Breakfast

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Prostitution gets a new name in Zimbabwe

This is an old story but worthy of mention.

I accept the notion that all politics is local, meaning a politician who does not understand the issues affecting his/her constituents and how to influence these issues to the benefit of the voters is unlikely to win an election. Appealing to the day to day factors that touch on people's lives is the surest way of winning an election. Think of voters as selfish individuals who are looking for a solution to keep life's challenges at bay. I assume this might mean that intangible issues like patriotism would take second place to most voters.

So perhaps when coining the phrase "pleasure engineering" and advocating that prostitution should be decriminalized in her country, Zimbabwean politician Thabitha Khumalo may have kept local politics in mind. Some comments from those who practice the profession suggests she has a following among members of this profession. It does not matter how large a group these voters represent; it takes one vote to win an election.

It is curious why new words have to be coined to describe hitherto familiar nouns. I understand how new technologies and inventions necessitate the creation of new words and phrases. Prostitution is not new; it is recorded to have existed as far back as during the ancient society of Mesopotamia in the early 18th century BC. And yet politicians always find reason to give new names to old occupations. This habit of politicians is sometimes called, pardon the use of this cliche', political correctness; the adoption of language or behaviour that does not offend others.

The simple dictionary description for the word is: "having s** with people in exchange for money." That sounds rather straightforward to me and did not require clarity. It is true that act is frowned upon and few will admit to indulging in it from either the supply or the demand sides, but it is hardly true that a participant could deny (save in front of a magistrate) that they have issued a bill for, or paid for the act.

It is politically arrogant for a foreigner to comment about local issues in Zimbabwean politics unless the debate is re-framed and widened to take on a global context. I can nevertheless comment on Hon. Khumalo's choice of words. In this context, "pleasure" is a rather contentious word. What pleases one can very well hurt the other.

She gets my points for trying.

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