Tracy lwando writes
My red scarf got me harassed today.
It was like any other day for me today: knocking off from work, minding my own business on my phone with headsets in my ears listening to the news on Phoenix FM, as I search in my “recent” on my phone looking for my best friend’s number. I intended to check up on her because she is not too well.
Because I’m an ordinary person.
A few steps from Findeco house, and offcourse with my “search mode” occupying my mind, the next thing I feel is my scarf being removed from me.
I look around me, I see this guy who looks like the sun enjoys scorching his skin, later I realized for obvious reasons. (Ni ngwangwazi)
Because I’m an ordinary person, I remove the headsets from my ears trying to understand why this ngwangwazi would just insanely come and get my scarf.
Then I hear him say “sunga vale ichi mwaiche iwe. Ti nga ku chite bad”
In my confused state, I try to get back my red scarf but he waves it high from side to side.
So, here is the thing: the UPND was on a road show in Kanyama and for some reason caused some commotion of some sort in town. For me who spends my entire time during the day at the office had no idea of what was happening down stairs.
So me being not aware of any of this (and I only got to see the videos of the commotion LATER on) was greeted by a cadre from an opposing camp who saw me wearing my red scarf and with what ever power and authority convinced himself that I am with the UPND.
It didn’t end there. This cadre threatened to beat me because I was wearing my red scarf.
The next thing he started pushing me around. His hands touched my body😭
Luckily for me, this ordeal didn’t last long because a different guy near by kind of noticed that I was merely in the wrong place, at the wrong time and NOW wearing the wrong color.
He told the savage guy to give me back my scarf and let me go. The ngwangwazi disappointedly did so but instead he told me to hide it in the carrier bag I had in my right hand or niza “ponokwa”
A still confused, emotional, trembling and teary me did just that and tried to walk away.
But alas my misery wasn’t over.
About more than 3 ngwangwazis came my way, pushing me around and saying nasty things. I was helpless. Every one else on the road was trying to get themselves safe.
I didn’t speak a word. At this point I knew I was at their mercy.
I then felt a hard, sweatish-dirty hand on the back of my neck. 😭😭 Pushing me in front.
Then another came on my left side and tried to grab my phone from me. 😭
All this happened to me because I wore my red scarf.
After surviving all this and found my way from these sons of ******, I kept thinking to myself: would I be alive and have a chance to narrate this had I put on an entire red dress?
Women have bad hair days and for me I use a head wrap to hide my hair on such days. Was my bad hair going to be exposed had I covered my hair with a red head wrap?
What if I have a medical condition and that scarf was keeping me warm enough, would I have survived all that?
This experience has angered me so much to the point that it disgust me to think that these cadres are running the streets and this lawlessness should seem normal.
For me who has a privilege to be on radio and TV I talk about such things, my colleagues too and other media houses speak against such violence from cadres. But I think we just waste our time.