You get to hang out, gaze at each other with romantic looks and even go ahead to explore your sexual fantasies under the sheets. In short, you get to do all that married people do with the exception that you prefer to keep it a secret. Why shouldn’t we consider you married? After all, that which looks like a dog and barks like one must definitely be a dog even if it pretends not to belong to the dog family.
Clande, chips/sausage funga are but a sample of the growing “illicit love” jargon associated with cheats in relationships . The mention of words in that direction is enough to spark a series of questions in my mind. Is it possible for one to fall in love with just a single partner? Could Adam have remained faithful to Eve incase God created another woman? Is it right to assert that lust is in the looming once a third party comes into any relationship? Are men the most notorious when it comes to cheating? Are women on the other hand clean on this? When did this idea in the name of mpango wa kando begin to gain prominence? …And so on and so on.
Concerning the genesis of the clande outfit, I tend to understand it’s not a new concept in the institution of marriage as it has been in existence ever since. Biblical stories have it that Potiphar’s wife made intimate advances towards Joseph; King David had an extra marital affair with Bethsheba. Closer to us are the African traditions that permit polygamy with some going to the extent of giving a nod to wife inheritance. One could argue that polygamous marriages are quite distinct from the clandestine relationships. Is there any substantial distinction of the two apart from the fact that clandestine relationships are kept secret as their name suggests? Don’t they both amount to the same thing – an intimate relationship and other marriage reserved “privileges”?
A peek into the pre-colonial days reveals that Africans were basically a polygamous people with men openly marrying more than one wife (unfortunately polyandry was not recognized). In fact the socio-economic status of any man in the traditional setup (which treated marriage as a wife purchase exercise) was estimated using the number of women he placed dowry over their heads. However with the adoption of the new religion, polygamy among other primitive non-Christian cultures was shown its position in the Christian litter bin. This was of a temporary relief to men and women who had partners who were everyone’s envy. I feel persuaded the Maasai men got most reprieve owing to their culture that permitted men from the same age-set have intercourse with each other’s woman. All one had to do was to plant his spear outside the woman’s shelter to signify his presence then get in to execute the purpose of his visit. The planted spear translated to mean the woman in question was already booked for the evening and that all the ‘late comers including the man of the home were to spend the night elsewhere.
They say old habits die hard and true to this, the previously converted Christian has found it a challenge to fully embrace stipulations of the faith. This has driven him to resort back to his old ways of engaging multiple partners. These confusing times have seen reckless men and women declare themselves single and ready to mingle with ”some rather cautious lot” opting to have the so called “friends with benefits” (friends that are there to exchange sexual favours). Gosh! In this day and age of HIV & AIDS!
That aside, in case you thought clandestine relationships are a brainchild of today’s generation then you are mistaken. Today’s society is but a sorry lot continuing practices pioneered by our polygamous forefathers however with some modifications. Notable differences being that men and women of today display diminished boldness when it comes to going public about their relationships and funny enough ….the women folk have also joined in the philandering venture.