An African Joke

A short one today. I was drinking beer in the village and a man was desperate to tell me his joke, not sharing a language, it had to be translated, regardless it still produced a huge laugh from the guys I was drinking with.

I’ve tried to record this in exactly the same way that it was told to me, but due to the fact that it was translated into English by several people, and I’d we’d all had a few warm Tuskers at this point, it may not be exact, but it’s pretty close.

So there is a lady and she says to her children:

“I am sick and tired of that no-good-husband of mine coming home drunk at all hours stinking of beer, tonight I’m going to lock and bolt the door, and when he comes home banging and knocking and begging to be let I will refuse to let him in, and when he comes to you begging to be let in, you must ignore his pleas and not let him in the house.”

At three o’clock in the morning, the no-good-husband drunkenly staggers up to the house and begins banging on the door calling to be let in.

“Let me in, let me in!”

When nobody comes he goes to the window of the children’s’ bedroom, and bangs on that:

“Let me in my children I am tired and I want to come in.”

But the children pretend to be asleep and ignore his cries.

So he moves to his bedroom window and bangs on that and shouts:

“My darling wife, it is your husband, wake up and LET ME IN!”

Eventually his wife comes to the window, throws it open and says:

“Why don’t you go back to that place where you were until this time, you are not welcome here in your drunken state, go away!”

She slams the window shut and returns to bed. The man realizing his predicament thinks for a moment and then tries again. He bangs once more, and shouts through the window:

“Woman, I’m not banging because I want to come in, I’m banging to wake you up, and I need you to go to my drawer and collect my condoms and the money there and pass them to me. The prostitutes at the bar are advertising a half-price sale for the next hour, and I have to get back there quick before they are all taken!”

Well the wife was furious at this, and threw on her clothes and stormed to the door, opening it and shouting:

“You get in here you stupid man; you get in this house immediately you are not going anywhere.”

Smiling, the man entered the house and went straight to his bed.

Prompted by this joke, I think it’s about time I introduced some of the issues surrounding gender in South Sudan, it’s a fascinating subject and one that impacts heavily on the work that I do here, and of the work of development in general.  If you are interested in finding out some of the bizarre, sad, interesting and downright depressing traditions, laws, rules and expectations of women in South Sudan then I’ll cover this in the next blog post which will be published on Thursday 22nd November.

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