By Stella Naigino
She is married, has money and her husband provides almost everything. To make life a bit easier for her, he hires a driver and a houseboy. However, she opts to make out with the shamba boy or driver.
Why would a woman whose husband is caring make such a choice?
In 1993, David Twale, a 23-year-old boy, travelled from Nawango village in Kamuli district to Kampala in search of a job.
After working for two weeks as a porter at a construction site, he quit and chose to work as a houseboy for a wealthy couple in Ntinda, a Kampala suburb.
His work would include slashing the compound, doing laundry and other house chores. The children were all in boarding school. Twale earned sh80,000, had free food, accommodation and he loved his job.
Everything seemed to be going well for the first three months until the boss travelled abroad for a business trip. That night, Twale remembers the boss’ wife knocking on his bedroom door. Had he forgotten to fix something? Was she mad at him?
Panicking, he woke up only in his boxers, ready to be scolded. Instead, the woman was all there, dressed in a short nightdress and smiling sheepishly. She offered Twale a glass of wine.
She promised to give him more money and gifts if he was willing to spend the night with her. Two or three hours later, Twale recalls waking up to find the boss’ wife lying in bed beside him.
This continued for a while. Twale was torn between quitting and keeping his job. He held onto the job, after all, why not enjoy the moment? They had sex for as long as he could remember. He soon got fed up and quit. Right now, he is back to working at a construction site.
He lives with the fear that he could be HIV-positive, but he cannot dare go for an HIV test.
One Kalemba, who also worked as a shamba boy, recounts how he was manipulated.
“My boss was a single mother of two boys. I had lost my parents and she knew my background. I needed money and she took advantage of me. I gave in until I got another job and left,” he says.
Trend on the rise
The trend of married women dating house boys and their askaris seems to be on the raise, albeit behind closed doors. And some women are not shy to talk about it.
“I am not a loose woman,” says one woman who slept with a driver. “I am just a woman who loves her husband very much and did not want to lose him. I just did what I had to do to save my marriage, even though I feel guilty sometimes. It was not easy, but I slept with my driver so that I could give my husband a child,” she adds.
Another woman who confesses to have slept with her gatekeeper says her husband was never there for her.
“He would come late every day after sprees of drinking. My children are in boarding school and I had no company, except with the askari. I do not know how we slept together. It was chemistry. I feel guilty sometimes, but life is about being happy,”
she says adding: “I am a human being. I need sex. If you cannot provide it, I get it elsewhere.”
Some women outrightly say they would sleep with a shamba boy to feel good. Women can use sex for all sorts of reasons, including revenge, to get back at a partner who has cheated on them, to make themselves feel good or make their partners feel bad, among others.
Women can also use sex at any stage of their lives. They can use it to lure a man into a relationship or to get rid of him or to make him jealous.
As a result, the issue of proximity works to their advantage. Their house helps are near them and look easy to manipulate. Some women marry old men for their money. And when money ceases to be a problem, they look for younger, energetic men.
Steven Langa, the executive director of Family Life Network, observes that it is about self-control and respect for oneself. He observes that irrespective of gender, a man or a woman who can have the nerve to cheat on their spouses does not have self-control.
“Self-control is a skill you learn, which makes you different from an animal that acts instantly. Without it, you are likely to make many mistakes in life,” Langa notes.
Langa says it is natural to feel attracted to anyone, but it is erosion of morality to force someone to love you, especially if you are employing them.
“Anybody can appeal to you, but the sense of self-control informs you that this is wrong, or this person is not your spouse, especially if they are married,” he says.
He says it is bad to let your body control you. “If you are the type who drinks alcohol, it is even worse, because under the influence of alcohol, you might not be aware of your actions,” Langa says.
However, he advises that if you feel the shamba boy is the right person for you, you are both not married and the two of you agree, then you should go ahead and date him.
“It does not mean that a person of a certain social class cannot marry someone of a different social class,” he says.
Ruth Senyonyi, a psychologist, agrees with Langa, saying the implications are tormenting. Both your spouse and the shamba boy who has been manipulated might have phobia to start relationships again. Sometimes they won’t make it easy for you.
That is why there are increasing press reports of jilted lovers killing their spouses over a love gone sour.
“Even if your marriage ends and you proceed with the shamba boy, they always want to show that they are the men,” Senyonyi observes.
“This shamba boy may never respect and trust you because they imagine you are taking advantage of them. He will only pretend to love you, especially if you are rich,” observes Senyonyi.
Senyonyi advises that while relating with house helps of the opposite sex, one needs to be very careful.
“Most people do it because they are always close around the house. They are humble and follow your orders, but getting involved with them is overstepping the mark. They will have no respect for you,” she says.
She advises that couples should just keep a work relationship with their house helps just like they do with their workmates.
What do you think?