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Zambia: Porn Video Sparks Debate on Gender, Culture and Morality

Recently a video clip of a young female student at one of Zambia’s expensive colleges, the Zambia Centre for Accountancy College (ZCAS), having sex with her boyfriend surfaced on a hardcore pornography website (link and site name withheld) and went viral among Zambian netizens who liberally shared the link.

Zambia is a culturally conservative and Christian nation in which such a video clip is considered immoral and also illegal under the Penal Code Act Chapter 87 of the Laws of Zambia, which makes it an offense to make and distribute obscene materials. Offenders face a five year jail sentence upon conviction.

The case has generated a lot of debate on blogs, Facebook and Twitter. Zambian blogger Lwanga Mwilu brought out the gender dimension to the debate. The female subject in the video, who is apparently related to a top Zambian politician, has been the one who has received the most condemnation.

Zambia Centre for Accountancy College in Lusaka. Photo source: Nahum Pembu Muwowo Facebook page.

Zambia Centre for Accountancy College in Lusaka. Photo source: Nahum Pembu Muwowo Facebook page.

Lwanga Mwilu wrote:

When it comes to issues of “morality”, there is quite something to be said about male immunity against being tried and condemned in the courts of public opinion…and women’s lack of such immunity. And so when consensual sex finds itself being categorised as a scandal, you can be sure you will hear the woman’s name much longer after her partner has even forgotten he was ever part of the case.

I suppose some context is in order here. For several days now, Zambian cyberspace has been abuzz with reactions to a “sex tape”, featuring a college couple from the Zambia Centre for Accountancy Studies (ZCAS) that has been leaked and circulated online. The comments, which are well in their hundreds or even thousands if you count across different online platforms, are varied yet their recurrent theme is the censuring of the young woman. She has been called lots of names, some of which even professional hookers would take offence at. I went through some readers’ comments on a few sites and I was so struck by the inequality in apportioning blame; the woman was taking all the flak, lots of it, while there was heavy silence about her partner. It was as though she was all alone in the video.

Mwilu also took a swipe at the intolerance of the women against their fellow women caught up in adultery-related issues:

Sometimes women seem to be the most intolerant of fellow women’s supposed failings. Consider concurrent sexual partnerships and what happens when some married men are discovered by their wives. A married man is discovered to be cheating by the wife, she goes after the woman he is cheating with, roughs her up, calls her all those colourful names and leaves her with a stern warning of what she will do to her if she dares go near her husband again. Then she goes back home, cooks for her husband, cleans up after him, laughs at his dry jokes and just pretty much preoccupies herself indulging her amnesia.

On Twitter, one tweep, @tatendaprobert, wonders where the women’s groups are as the girl continues being attacked for her role in the video:

@lwangamwilu I surely think it is unfair for society to treat her like that where are women groups: WfC(Women for Change, an outspoken gender advocate NGO)?

Another tweep, @missbwalya, denounced the hypocrisy of women who berate a man’s girlfriend when he is caught cheating:

@lwangamwilu ZCAS story has made it all the way out here too & the response is the same – Woman affixed w/ a scarlet letter.

@lwangamwilu wrote:

The 1% where the guy is mentioned is largely about how good he was in the video. Says much about much. #ZCAS sex tape

On Facebook, Richard Banda Lcgi Meiz started a campaign which he hoped would result in a petition that would be presented to the authorities to save her, ostensibly from prosecution:

‎”SAVE THE ZCAS LADY CAMPAIGN” – Let's sign a pettition and see how many love justice for the poor lady. If you say “YES” comment on this thread by just one word “YES” and post. Lets save the lady and we will petition the authorities to save the lady.

On Tumfweko, an online news site, which reported the story, a response to the story by someone calling himself Zambia read:

Ba zedi, ubu fontini mwa chilamo [Zambians you are too sleepy]. If youve never filmed yourself with your girlfriend, i guess ure still living in the 20s when a camera was hard to find. That video was not meant to become public, as you can clearly see, it was filmed from a webcam, if you know what that is. Which children are those? I doubt that there are any 7 year olds at ZCAS. Society has always had it bad and good sides, nothing is new. If our parents dint have sex, we wouldnt be here. Infact, back in the days when there was no AIDS, people were much more naughty. Dont make this seem like such a big thing. Dnt blow this out of proportion. They are not “actors” and no money changed hands. The only person who could have made a b(u)ck from that is the guy who stole the video and uploaded it onto the net, which i also highly doubt. Wake up!! …

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  • Kalito

    Why is everyone calling this a pornographic video? Well, maybe because it has been posted to a porn site. I appreciate the debate and the talk about calls to protect Iris. However, I wish to draw your attention to the law. Zambian law is unfortunately strict about this sort of thing. Under our law the couple engaged in unnatural sexual acts (I know lots are lol on this one as it is everyday act under the privacy of our walls).

    It is clear from the vid that it was “produced”. Therefore, isnt the real culprit the chap who “produced” this video and posted it to a porn site? This is the person who turned it into porn.

    I also turn to ZCAS conduct. They have actually opened themselves to all manner of legal action. How did Iris and her male counter part bring ZCAS into disrepute? Is ZCAS sure the two made the video and decided to add the credits attributed to ZCAS? Can they prove that the two posted the vid to a porn site? Did two grown ups break any regulation by having steamy sex in the college room?

    The only reason why Iris has been dragged into this sensationalism is that she is the daughter of a former Cabinet Minister and former Minister of Community Development. Ironically, her father is married to two women who seem to live in complete harmony.

    I am curious as to what protection is being called for here. Protection from the authorities? What is meant by this? If the law has been broken let the two be taken to court and let them have a fair trial. The two clearly enjoyed the romp but if the charge borders on creating material that has the ability to corrupt the morals of the public then the plea is a very clear Not Guilty. Find the idiot who produced and uploaded the video! This is more a case of invasion of privacy than anything!

    • http://rhodespark.com Evans Nyambe

      It is very sad that some people can talk so lightly about a matter of such seriousness. I would like to commend the person who circulated the ZCAS porn material so Zambians can see for themselves the seriousness of immorality in our learning institutions. The advice to educators, parents and any meaningful Zambian is that let us seek God`s intervention in such matters. Bragging about these issues will not help us.

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