“I know every man understands what that’s about, when you have the baddest [sic] girl in front of you and it’s all about to happen and you can’t even believe it,” says Maxwell in describing the essence of his track Stop the World, which is on his BLACK Summer’s Night album. The sensual singer was speaking in the short doccie, 5 Days of Black which came with the 2009 project.
But that quote and the song itself, talk to the delightful significance of consent right before intercourse. Lovemaking, ukubhebha, thobalano or whatever you call it, has an inconceivable lovely thrill to it. It sometimes finds you cornered by stress and anxiety, especially when your thirst for it has been an elongated one. It then releases your endorphins, oxytocin and you from the bondage of that angst. If done right, with the right person of course.
Maxwell’s quote above zooms-into that moment just before doing the nooky when you can feel and clearly see that she too, wants to share this here intimate moment with you. That’s where the beauty lies, in the agreement.
But speaking to a handful of guys, you notice that this seems to be a grey area for some people. “Sometimes she says ‘no’ but actually means yes,” one fella told me, explaining how a woman would spew the word no, simultaneously smiling and nodding her head to his advances. “I like it when there’s a bit of tension involved,” another guy said to me.
Rape by definition, is the unlawful activity, most involving sexual intercourse against the will if the victim through force or the threat of force or with an individual who is incapable of giving legal consent because of minor status, mental illness, mental deficiency, intoxication, unconsciousness or deception. Rape has been part of our fabric as a society since the existence of humanity. But we’re living in a time where it’s slowly being called-out and eradicated, but we still have a long way to go until it’s no longer a part of who we are as a people, especially as men.
There’s clearly a culture created by men around rape. Before the dawn of democracy in South Africa and also even in the new Mzansi jack rolling was a colloquial term in the country’s townships for rape. Prevalent ekasi, it is a crime where men gang-rape their victim in retaliation to a perceived cold shoulder from the female victim who is being asked out. She’s basically being raped because she simply isn’t giving the guy her time.
While Jack rolling is the modus operandi in urban spaces, in our rural areas Ukuthwalwa works well for the men there. Ukuthwalwa is an old age customary marriage practice where a man, by force, takes a girl to his home with the intention of following through with a customary marriage. In his 2018 doctoral thesis, which News24 wrote a piece on last year, Mkhuseli Jokani explains that there are three types of Ukuthwalwa.
Ukuthwalwa ngemvumelwano – abduction by agreement happens when the girl is aware of the abduction that will take place. This could occur for example when there is a conspiracy between the girl and her suitor.
Ukuthwalwa kobolawu – abduction for arranged marriage happens through an agreement between the families of the girl and the groom’s family. In this case, the girl is unaware.
Ukuthwalwa okungenamvumelwano – abduction without agreement is when the girl and her family isn’t aware of the abduction and months go by without the male’s family arriving at the girl’s home to negotiate lobola, or even explain what has happened.
According to customary law, an explanation is that “the girl is not regarded as a minor if she has reached puberty and has acquired a certain level of maturity, where she can start a family.” Although largely shunned upon today, this still does take place.
Maxwell aptly titled the name of his song Stop the World, recognizing that precious moment where both (or a trio of) parties involved agree to coitus. He sings…
Imagine if it was, if this was you, if this was I
So perfectly designed to be here all night
Let the world rage outside, cause when I’m here with you
The world stops for me, the world stops for me
Since there is a culture built on, around and through rape it means we can also build a culture on, around and through the sensibility of consent. But there needs to be commitment from men, in instilling those values on the impressionable young boys growing up today.