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{November 15, 2011}   Stoning ‘Jezebel’ : ZCAS sex tape

When it comes to issues of “morality”, there is quite something to be said about male immunity against being tried and condemned in the courts of public opinion…and women’s lack of such immunity. And so when consensual sex finds itself being categorised as a scandal, you can be sure you will hear the woman’s name much longer after her partner has even forgotten he was ever part of the case.

I suppose some context is in order here. For several days now, Zambian cyberspace has been abuzz with reactions to a “sex tape”, featuring a college couple from the Zambia Centre for Accountancy Studies (ZCAS) that has been leaked and circulated online. The comments, which are well in their hundreds or even thousands if you count across different online platforms, are varied yet their recurrent theme is the censuring of the young woman. She has been called lots of names, some of which even professional hookers would take offence at. I went through some readers’ comments on a few sites and I was so struck by the inequality in apportioning blame; the woman was taking all the flak, lots of it, while there was heavy silence about her partner. It was as though she was all alone in the video.

So last evening, I shared this observation on twitter and pointed out how all the reactions to the video were stark reminders of the fact that what is condemned in women is often tolerated and even glorified in men. I cited how 99% of the reaction (read condemnation) is targeted at the young woman and the 1% where the young man is mentioned is largely comprised of marvel at his anatomy and praise for his sexual prowess. As it turned out, a number of Zambian tweeple (twitter users) spread across the world shared my exasperation and within minutes, a whole conversation was going and it carried on beyond an hour.

The reactions around the said video confirm quite a number of things many of us already know about patriarchal logic. One quick example is how the 1 % affirms the dominant narrative that sexual prowess equals real manhood…so the readers in this category have interpreted the encounter as being about submission and conquest. Their comments are about this real man and what he did to her and so on. This is the logic that inspires that rather unfortunate pursuit by some men to assert or realise their manliness through sexual intercourse with a woman who is then almost always considered a conquest afterwards. So while, in the public’s eyes, the young woman in the video is being widely stripped of her femininity, her partner is walking away with an enhanced masculinity.

Remember the biblical story of the woman who was caught in adultery ALONE and brought to Jesus for him to judge? The woman whose situation motivated one of my favourite quotations in the Bible “let he who has no sin cast the first stone”? I have always wondered how this woman’s partner managed to so neatly stay out of the picture. He was never named and shamed and definitely he was never considered deserving of judgement and the anticipated punishment that would have followed had Jesus not set a new standard on the inappropriateness of a flawed human being judging another. The times, technology etc may have changed from the days Jesus walked this earth to now but some thinking has remained constant through the thousands of years. And if the people that dragged that woman before

Jesus were to be miraculously brought to life today, they would be positively overwhelmed by how much their own mindsets would resonate with those of most of the people commenting on the video.

I find it interesting, the gendered way in which “morality” is generally invoked. Consider how when a baby is dumped, the focus is on a “negligent mother who has abandoned her baby”. Men disappointingly fail to make an appearance on the societal blame sheet even when biology firmly puts them in the picture. And in the days when pregnancy in school resulted in expulsion, did any of you hear of any boy who got expelled alongside the girl?

Sometimes women seem to be the most intolerant of fellow women’s supposed failings. Consider concurrent sexual partnerships and what happens when some married men are discovered by their wives. A married man is discovered to be cheating by the wife, she goes after the woman he is cheating with, roughs her up, calls her all those colourful names and leaves her with a stern warning of what she will do to her if she dares go near her husband again. Then she goes back home, cooks for her husband, cleans up after him, laughs at his dry jokes and just pretty much preoccupies herself indulging her amnesia. She feels satisfied that she has sorted out the enemy who was trying to separate “what God had put together!” From where I stand, it looks like leaving the fire in the house to go and tackle some smoke outside. The ‘jezebel’ you have tackled was a simple manifestation of the real problem – your partner’s infidelity – which you are busy nursing like a favourite child. It is most likely just a matter of time before you have to go and beat someone else.

Finally, if you have ever witnessed a woman being called out for ‘improper dressing’ you will know who leads the pack and speaks loudest even encouraging unruly call boys to “teach these women” a lesson or two.

All my many digressions aside, my point is if you are going to bash the young woman in the video for “loose morals” or whatever it is, then extend it to the young man. If you are going to praise the young man for his prowess then by all means extend the honour to his partner.


Fridz says:

I definately agree with your observation…..i was amazed at how the guys were so excited to view the vidoe and how they were quick to condemn the gal. The gal has since been expelled from college..but there was absolute silence about the partner. It seems the weaker sex will always take the fall when it comes to moral issues. And believe me if you expressed contrary views from the 99%, you will also be considered as lacking in morales. There is need to change our attitudes towards such issues and cut out on the pretence….

doreen says:

Excellent piece gal! You are so right. Wonder why we as women behave the way we do against other women. I would like to know how that video got online. Was it for monetary gain or two young naïve n excited kids recording thr act.

kapuli wa ngo'ngo says:

whats the link to the video?

chisa says:

The girl was EXPELLED??
What happened to the guy?

[…] Mwilu wrote: When it comes to issues of “morality”, there is quite something to be said about male immunity […]

Le Monde Parle says:

Thanks for airing your opinion on this. I am in total agreement. Why is no one talking about all the married men whose cars line up at these colleges if they want to comment about morality, and yes who the hell is the guy and where is he in all of this. My heart goes out to this girl.The audacity of the Post Newspaper in even writing about this as a front page headline is sickening…..

Why is everyone calling this a
pornographic video? Well, maybe
because it has been posted to a porn
site. I appreciate the debate and the
talk about calls to protect Iris.
However, I wish to draw your
attention to the law. Zambian law is
unfortunately strict about this sort of
thing. Under our law the couple
engaged in unnatural sexual acts (I
know lots are lol on this one as it is
everyday act under the privacy of our
It is clear from the vid that it was
“produced”. Therefore, isnt the real
culprit the chap who “produced” this
video and posted it to a porn site?
This is the person who turned it into
I also turn to ZCAS conduct. They have
actually opened themselves to all
manner of legal action. How did Iris
and her male counter part bring ZCAS
into disrepute? Is ZCAS sure the two
made the video and decided to add
the credits attributed to ZCAS? Can
they prove that the two posted the
vid to a porn site? Did two grown ups
break any regulation by having
steamy sex in the college room?
The only reason why Iris has been
dragged into this sensationalism is
that she is the daughter of a former
Cabinet Minister and former Minister
of Community Development. Ironically,
her father is married to two women
who seem to live in complete
I am curious as to what protection is
being called for here. Protection from
the authorities? What is meant by
this? If the law has been broken let
the two be taken to court and let
them have a fair trial. The two clearly
enjoyed the romp but if the charge
borders on creating material that has
the ability to corrupt the morals of
the public then the plea is a very clear
Not Guilty. Find the idiot who
produced and uploaded the video!
This is more a case of invasion of
privacy than anything!

[…] of Tolerance: Stoning ‘Jezebel’ : ZCAS sex tape A chilling critique of an unfortunate series of events that happened in Zambia. Apparently a sex […]

Aaron says:

You speak the truth and its a sad truth. Its about time woman stood up and protect there on if they are to fight for equal rights, as it is they are the first to criticize and use the sternest words to describe the offender segregated to be a woman. I agree with you that the boy in this video should receive the equal criticism and scolding as the poor girl. Shame on all who seem to find this as a subject of praise to the male and a platform of verbally abusing the girl………. And I thought women were the weaker sex and were entitled to more protection than the men……from the look of things the man is being protected and being tagged a hero.!!!!

[…] Lwanga Mwilu έγραψε [en]: Όταν φτάνουμε σε θέματα “ηθικής”, πρέπει να πούμε […]

jaykay says:

i wanna see the video somebody email it to me on

[…] Mwilu skrev [en] : When it comes to issues of “morality”, there is quite something to be said about male […]

[…] Mwilu qilqt'änwa: When it comes to issues of “morality”, there is quite something to be said about male immunity […]

[…] Mwilu wrote: Wh&#1077n &#1110t comes t&#959 issues &#959f “morality”, th&#1077r&#1077 &#1110&#1109 quite […]

Mobility says:

I felt lik condeming da so cod jezebel, bt i later felt pity 4 her becoz she has been has recieved unfairy ill treatment from da entire zambia such as mento,verbo & physcologico abuse yet da guy seems 2b immune frm dis drama.Frm my own sentiments i think students ar nt da only ones 2 blame bt oso da lectures who ar belived 2b oso postin these videos.

pal says:

iris u r cute

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