This weekend we were in Nanyuki. While hanging out after our conference we found the music boring so we entertained ourselves by watching others. So we watched the prostitutes dancing and trying to pick up customers. It was interesting to watch the reactions of the Nairobi crowd. Then apparently at some point when I wasn’t watching one of the langas pushed her dress up, no panties & allowed the white guys to finger her. The Nairobi crowd was shocked that the langa could be that bold. It was kama video, kama drama. We even called the night #NanyukiNights.
I have been asking myself the question “is there something like being a prostitute with dignity?”
My name Rayhab is a derivative from Rahab. She was the prostitute in the bible who hid the Israelite spies and allowed them to escape while they were being pursued. In return when the isrealites brought down the walls of Jericho she and her family were spared. She ended up married to an Israelite and she is the great grand mother of David. She is in the lineage of Jesus Christ as well. Read a summary of her story here.
I decided to Google prostitution and this is what I found on Wikipedia. The reasons why women were prostitutes is both secular and religious. Some women and girls were forced into prostitution but some went into it willingly.
I wondered about the prostitutes I have met in my lifetime. There are many, and I have met even more in the books and movies that I have read. Some of their stories have touched me like woman thou at loosed or this story that taught me about judging others.
I am left with the question “can there be dignity even in a trade that is so intimate, a trade where one gives up something so precious for money?”
Last night there was the story of the girls who are school girls by day and prostitutes by night. And maybe some of their clients are their teachers, or people they know.
Can you have dignity if people know what you do at night in the light of day? Can you walk nonchalant in the village or the neighborhood while knowing people know what you do for a living?
For that woman who was not just suggesting that she is for sale but showing the whole world her naked body to see what she is offering does she care that she is known as a malaya.
Remember growing up hearing somebody being called a prostitute or a malaya was like the ultimate four letter word. The word Malaya was pregnant with meaning, about a loose woman, a woman with no shame or dignity. A woman that other women and men (especially) should keep away from. Nowadays the new words are sluts or whores! These words are even used to generally refer to women, in a way to degrade them and make them feel bad.
Potentash Founder. A creative writer. The Managing Editor at Potentash. Passionate about telling African stories and stories about the inclusion of minorities. Find me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“We're all stories, in the end.” ― Steven Moffat