Happy New Year! I hope you are looking forward to this year as much as I am. I am also guessing that some of you have written your resolutions and are keeping your fingers and toes crossed that you follow through with them. I am hoping for few frustrations this year but it appears the possibilities of that happening are unlikely. This year has begun the way it ended in frustrations. Early this week I experienced some level of 'discrimination' that is becoming a regular occurrence in this country and we need to address it.
Our landlord recently informed us that the rentals were increasing by 25%. Even though this came as a shocker and major sucker punch to my house mates and my pocket, it was understandable owing to the prevailing situation in the country. In an attempt to see what was available out there on the housing market my house mate and I decided to go check out a house somewhere in Civic Centre.
The viewing of the house was going well, the person showing us the house was jovial and explained the history of tenants in the house, the area, the fact that there was limited loadshedding and no water problems. She even said there were plans to renovate in time for the new tenants. Then she asked my house mate about his family assuming he was married. The moment we mentioned that we were still bachelors you could see the look of disappoint engulf her face. It was as if we had mentioned something that was not tolerated in those parts of town. She then went into this monologue of the troubles of bachelors. In her words, bachelors bring hundreds of girls, they drink and make noise plus they keep the place dirty and don't clean. In order for us to calm the situation down before she told us to 'fuseke' and find another house, we explained that we were not like 'those bachelors' whoever they were. We said we were upright citizens who did not seek to cause any havoc to our neighbours, we were definitely not Casanovas and we even threw in that we had a help who cleaned up. She then cooled down and the conversation about the house proceeded but I felt there was still a level of suspicion.
This made me wonder that how is a bachelor or bachelors supposed to find decent accommodation in this country if most landlords view us as no-good trouble makers, womanising pricks, filthy and noisy chaps who are an inconvenience to neighbourhoods. Conversations with landlords usually go well up to the point that you mention that you are single. It is then as if you have suddenly become infected by some contagious disease that they must keep away from. I have definitely felt this discrimination on more than one occasion and trust me it is not fun having to fake a smile and beg just so you can be accommodated. I would not be surprised if landlords started stating, "Bachelors Do Not Bother Calling!" on their advertisements. Awe, Boma itiyanganepo. Isn't there some law somewhere in the amended constitution that protects the rights of bachelors? We are humans too who just want good accommodation.
Now, I do acknowledge that there are some bad masuku among the brotherhood. Awe guys please stop such behaviour you are the ones who are making it bad for the rest of us. We are seriously running out of options. Maybe the landlords should start asking for references just like employers do when recruiting for a job. Trust me if a tenant was a scumbag the previous landlord will definitely let any prospective landlord know.
I hope my plea will be heard. But in case I have not convinced landlords and would be landlords allow me to quote from Martin Luther King Jr. (I am paraphrasing), "I have dream where granting of tenancy agreements in Zambia shall not be judged by marital status but by the content of their character...." Because if things do not change, soon when people ask newly married men why they got married the response will be, "So I could get a house."