What Happens When You Disrespect Your Mama in Tanzania

When Vitus Nyami of Kisungamile in Tanzania insulted his mother in public, the women of the village were pushed beyond their limit. No longer able to tolerate his disrespect, they decided to punish him for his actions. They tied him up and pushed him into a pit filled with cow dung. Then they whipped him and forced him to parade around the community wearing nothing but a loincloth. As he marched along, the women sang songs that mocked him. Finally, they required him to pay a traditional fine of a goat, a liter of cooking oil, and a bag of cornmeal, which they subsequently divided. Because customary law requires that mothers be respected, the chief of the village expressed his approval for the justice meted out. The women argued that the young man had been disrespecting his mother regularly, and it was time that he was punished. The concept of respect, especially for women, is closely related to the famed peacefulness of the Fipa society in Tanzania.