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Single till I die

By GARDY CHACHA | September 21st 2013


Ruth Wanjiru is a Kenyan woman living life on the fast lane. In a fleeting moment of inspiration, you might compare her with Oprah Winfrey or a larger than life female character in a movie that portrays her as ‘in charge’ and exaggerates her maverick independence as she charts the life of success. Her maxim reads like that of the power puff girls and her modus operandi is stealth.

She is the kind of a woman who knows how to put a man in his right place — yours truly was once a victim. Among her peers and friends who know her from way back in campus, she is known not to care about so many things in life that others find hard to be immune from; like relationships, marriage and motherhood.

“I know what I want, how I want it and when I want it,” she says. “Everybody ought to know what they want in life.”

And what’s this she wants? Ruth wants to live a good life of abundance; something that she has laboured hard to give herself. But she also knows what she doesn’t want — which is a life with a nagging, wild-eyed male who won’t know how to handle her magnanimity and instead cage her to motherhood and subject her to labour pains.

“And for what?” she asks with a haughty derision.


She is a spitting image of an over-achiever whose life has marks of success at every terrace. The grandeur in her life is as conspicuous as sky of day and dark of night. She finds intertwining her life with a man so rigmarole, tenuous and absurd. “Getting pregnant would be the hallmark; the zenith of the whole absurdity.”

From the time she graduated six years ago, Ruth has experienced her life change from good to way above good. She spins two wheels: a Rush and Navarra — which she uses for a business she owns in the city centre. Her latest exploit is an X-trail, which she is buying to exchange for the Rush.

“There is never a right time; decide once and it will be!” Ruth is prime to hear these words of advice I once heard eavesdropping on a sister-to-sister conversation about marriage and having children.

A growing number of women like Ruth, it seems, are rewriting the path of life that hitherto was the norm for our society. At 31, you will be surprised to know that Ruth is not alone. Career, personal preferences and misandry, in varying proportions, is taking over many a female psyche.

Catherine Mbau, an expert in psychology and human behaviour, has a theory to it: “There is a history behind all women who live like they don’t need a man in their lives. Most are as a result of dysfunctional families while they grew up as young girls. Extremely independent women run the show; they don’t like being under the shadow of anybody — especially if it’s a man. The father-figure in their lives must have done something to provoke the benign loathing they have for men.”


Mbau opines that experiencing a rogue father who meted violence on their mothers; who was not available physically and emotionally for them; who appeared not to care about their achievements and strides, who spanked them too much so as it would seem he never loved them, can create a constant magma of vile churning against all social norms that involve men.

Even so, others develop a shell that keep men ashore, behaviours, which stem from direct experiences with men in their previous relationships — like in the case of Glory Mwatha. Despite having a stable job and enjoying a number of successes in her life, she feels out of touch with the ritual of marriage.

“It is really hard to trust a man. I have witnessed my friends go through emotional shocks just because the person they are dating has dumped them or is cheating on them. I am yet to meet a man who loves a woman for all clean intent and purpose. Men always have a dirty card up the sleeve and I would rather escape it than find out for myself later,” says Glory.

Just like Glory, Rosemary Simam has vowed not to entertain any romantic overtures from men. She grimaces while recounting how her last relationship drove her to the edge of insanity. She, like many women, is a fatality of the ‘chauvinistic’ world, which feminists have vowed to smother of male bigotry. She refuses to live in an ideological lacuna, which demands that a woman marries and has children at a certain point in life.

“It is not worth it,” she says, adding, “If women are opting to live their successful lives alone, it is because men have left us with no choice. What I wanted with this man was mutual respect and love, but he couldn’t be satisfied with one woman. Men are impossible and women are playing apathy.”

According to Derek Bbanga, a public image consultant, women who exude independence have sufficient willpower to be as successful as menfolk have been before. “They are proving that they are level-headed and are as good as men are. They value being independent, or haven’t met the right person.”

Derek adds that such women can only settle down with men who are well above mediocre status — the so called crème de la crème. “The kind of men they would wish to settle down with have qualities that frankly not many men have; a pedigree that’s hard to find in our society today. If they can find them, they’d be glad. That’s the life they want and they should be allowed to live it.”

While Derek distances himself from the judging podium, where harsh criticism is likely to befall the ‘independents’, there is considerable public impetus on the phenomena that baffles. Like Mbau puts it, reasons that may push a woman to lock out certain aspects of sociology that involve men are diverse; from past experiences to natural instincts. Her take, however, is that as a social species, humans thrive better in relationships.

“Life is about relationships and no man is an island,” she says.

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