Somehow I wonder how where one comes from determines how one should be dressed or how they should react and behave. There was a major event that had happened in one of the corners of the country and we had gone there to cover the event, for a project we are working on. Well someone should have warned me about what lies ahead because I got myself kicked out of a whole festival for wearing a pair of jeans (as a woman, that was and still is considered to be a taboo).

I find pants more comfortable when I am travelling or working, so I had put on my most comfy jeans for the day. I was not even aware of the googly eyes that were planted towards us when we arrived at the venue. Not until a female police officer, in pants – pants that were meant to be a part of her uniform, approached my colleague and told her to get herself wrap-over (intsaru/zambia) to cover her pants. She clearly could not even understand that we, wearing pants just like her, were at work, just like her. Well, she did not bother to ask anyway. When I had tried to explain she wouldn’t hear it. We had to respect the grounds we were stomping on.

Basically, everyone who had anything to say about our choice of clothes had to ask where we came from before saying their piece of mind. there were a couple of locals we were travelling with who could have warned us about this but chose not to until we arrived at the destination. They knew the laws and values of the place. Thanks or no thanks to them, we missed half of the event sitting in the car discussing ways of progress.

Back to the question of “Where do you come from? You are not supposed to be wearing pants here.” How does where I come from have anything to do with everything? Somehow it would have been a better approach if they tried to find out why we were there. suppose we look at it from like this: when they found out we are not from their area, why did they not ask what we were doing in their area, at their event? I am just trying to work our way that would have made the situation more comfortable for everyone.

Well, one very understanding gentleman saw the reason in our outfits and the nature of our work. He managed to help us continue with our work. No one bothered us anymore and everyone went on with their businesses as if we were not there. All went well and my jeans did not distract anyone or anything, as far as I know, and yes I did enjoy myself there. I wish I could do it again…in the right outfit this time of course.

A photo of me basking in the sunset a few weeks before the festival.
Chipo K

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