Another league of extraordinary gentlemen

A houseman making a meal

A houseman making a meal

Bornwise Mtonzi Lifestyle Correspondent
Traditionally men are known for taking up tasks somewhere away from the kitchen. In most African cultures, it is uncommon for men to do household chores that are preserved for women.

While a lot has changed and some men being employed in the hospitality industry as chefs and waiters, it still remains a challenge for men to accept doing feminine roles.

The trend used to be common before Independence when whites would employ black men to cook for them, but the area of cleaning the house and doing laundry was largely reserved for females.

However, some men are not letting these social norms hinder them from doing jobs that can put food on their tables. It is even better for them because some employers prefer male employees as their “housemen”.

It is now common to see men’s names on the maids agent list. In an interview Bernard Nhapapta (36) from Borrowdale said back in the days he used to prefer women maids to do his house chores but has recently changed and employed a man.

“With times changing, I have noticed some men are better you know. I used to employ housemaids to do everything in my house but now I have realised that a man is better.

“It is not that women are bad or cannot do these jobs, to me men are better because they are faster when it comes to doing things as compared to women,” he said. Another family man from the same hood only identified as Walter echoed the same sentiments stating that men are more organised than women.

“My brother employing a man to do your house chores ensures that things are done perfectly. “I never used to believe that man are also good when it comes to doing house chores, they are fast and get things done easily,” he said.

Anne Mwenda, a mother of two said she realised that the rise of men in the household chores has not come as a surprise to her as she has always preferred them more than employing a maid.

“Since I was growing up my family employed men for house chores. I have seen how good man are in performing these duties. It started when our gardener called Takudzwa used to handle house chores when our maid was off duty.

“We realised he was so good at it, actually better than the maid and he was so good in the kitchen. He cooked great meals and at last my parents ended up having him to do both duties,” she said.

Tafadzwa Mataruse of Domboramwari, Epworth said he got into the job because of financial challenges, but later fell in love with it. “I never wanted to do this job, but I have realised that it is better and I am paid well. I have also fallen in love with my job as I have realised that I love cooking,” he said. Mataruse said he later attended evening cooking classes in Haig Park and is now very good at baking and cooking.

However, it is true that the world was ready to adapt to change let alone appreciate the ‘new men skill’, being the houseman. Some people described the houseman as someone whom one can easily work with but still put their faith on women.

“Personally, for cooking let us leave it to the women. Why bother yourself focusing on plates and knives. “For men the garage should be your favourite place rather than the kitchen unless you are greedy,” noted one commentator.

Kudakwashe Mdutshwa from Greendale had a different opinion. “As a person who does not enjoy doing chores but like cleanliness, I have realised that men can do that for me and I do not mind at all.

“Men are fast, punctual and good time keepers. Give a man something to do, that thing would be quickly done,” said another. Mdutshwa added that women cannot easily work together, as some can easily get threatened when it comes to their husbands.

“If you see most women who employ housemaids, there is a bit of bad blood between them to the extent that they would change one maid after another for the simple reason that women do not easily get along. “As multi-tuskers, a man can also ensure security at the house and most men can feel that their premises are protected when they are not there.”

While this may seem like trend here in Zimbabwe this is not a new phenomenon. Tracing back in the colonial era we have people who started as ‘tea boys’ and now are being ranked among the biggest names.

Housemen are mainly found in the up-town as families in the ghetto still seem to have reservations about the trend.

Article Source: The Herald

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