So, our ssengas did their part in grooming their nieces for marital sex that would keep them married and fruitful. Emphasis on ‘keep them married and fruitful’.
They taught their brothers’ daughters what they (the ssengas) knew. Was it enjoyable? Not really. Was it sustainable? Yes. Was it great sex? Mostly not. Was it good culture and tradition? Absolutely.
But it was, nonetheless, their truth. That in a nutshell: it was a man’s world – financially, sexually, socially, everywhere. A woman only had to make it beautiful, convenient and, well, fit in.
As a modern woman with nieces of your own now and yet wishing to carry on an age-old tradition of grooming, what is your own truth? Are you dusting off that ‘manual’ your own ssenga gave you that sometimes proved quite impractical, and handing it down to your niece? Good luck!
Many of us just avoid the ssenga role like the plague. We register the children for Ekisakaate Kya Nnaabagereka and hope ‘all’ the topics get covered and when they are not, we dispatch them off to their grandparents.
“I could not bring myself to talk about the facts of womanhood the day my then 12-year-old daughter started menstruating,” one mother recently recalled.
“I broke into a sweat and felt the beginnings of a panic attack. I called her ssenga for help, but she too shied away from the lecture; so, I drove the girl to my mother for the weekend and she took care of things.”
That is modern parenting and grooming for you.
“I am a single mother and my S.6 daughter has never been told about this business of ‘visiting the bush’ (traditionally elongating a girl’s labia). I approached one of her late father’s sisters to do her ssenga role, but she balked at the idea. So, I went home and sat my girl down and broached the topic. She laughed so hard at my ‘nonsense’ and assured me she was never doing that,” another mother said.
So, what should the modern woman do to impact a younger woman’s life in the ssenga way?
Are you too going to tell your daughters and nieces to work on pleasuring their future husbands and nothing else? To chant and put on quite the display in bed as they fake their orgasms and do all theatrics to fan their husbands’ egos even when they feel no ecstasy?
Are you also telling them to shut up about their sexual needs and preferences, lest they make their husbands feel inadequate? Are you telling them to never, ever break wind in bed, but be supportive wives when their husbands’ bottoms pop-pop-pop?
Are you too leaving out the sons and nephews from the talks because, after all, they are men?
Well, I hope not. I hope you do realise that increasingly, our ssengas’ truth is no longer our truth and our truth may indeed be far-removed from our own children’s truth, and so on.
So, how about we tell them the sustainable truths maybe, and hope they fill in the other parts of the equation as per their truths?
About the importance of finding the balance between career and marriage. How to strive for mutual respect and sexual enjoyment. How to find the right spouse without losing oneself.
How to be willing to compromise when need calls for it, or how to find a voice during sex. Open up discussions with the girls about what submission is in the modern era and with your boys, what real men do and don’t do.
And when all else fails, teach by example; let your children, nieces and nephews have a positive leaf to pick from your own life and marriage.
Now, that is the challenge, but we can totally do it.