feeding my own misguided insanity

Exposing Botswana's Love Vocabulary

When it comes to subtle complexities in relationships, sex, love, dating or friendship, nowhere have I found a descriptive vocabulary so intricate as in Botswana. As is the case with many African countries, the moral high-ground plays little in the way of monogamy. In fact, many cultures have thrived on a rich diet of promiscuity and polyamory.

When I first arrived in the country some years back a colleague of mine sat me down to explain this in more detail. The following list is by no means exhaustive, but it will serve as good primer.

  1. BIG HOUSE — this is the person you are with — husband, wife, girlfriend, partner. This is a public relationship where everyone (friends, colleagues, family) knows you are a couple.
  2. Small House — this is the person or persons (as a one can have more than one Small House) that you are cheating on the BIG HOUSE with. There are a number of rules that the Small House is bound by a number of rules:
  3. Rules for Small House
    • Small House knows about the BIG HOUSE (but BIG HOUSE must never find out about the Small House because one does not want to “shit on their own doorstep”).
    • Small House (can) aspire(s) to become the BIG HOUSE, however the Small House knows their place and if they cause “shit” with the BIG HOUSE then this could ultimately lead to them losing their status as Small House and be replaced by another Small House.
    • Small House must never be too demanding.
    • Small House must not cause any scenes if BIG HOUSE and the Partner are together in public. Remember Small House, BIG HOUSE calls the shots.
    • Small House is not “Public Knowledge” and the relationship is known by only a few close and trustworthy ‘friends’.
    • BIG HOUSE must be kept in the dark about Small House for as long as possible. There are some who will opening proclaim to BIG HOUSE that they have a Small House but this is not wise or advisable.
    • Note: Even though an individual may be a Small House for another, they could easily be a BIG HOUSE as well (and maybe someone else is dogging them).
  4. KICKING IT (with Someone) — Someone you are doing the “horizontal mambo” with. You are both single but have a “no strings attached relationship” This is your BOOTY CALL person. You can call them for action anytime. You may both end up at the same party and be trying to “KICK IT” with someone else, but hey if luck is not on your side then you both have each other at the end of the night.
  5. HANGING (with Someone) — Someone of the opposite sex that you like in your company — this is not a sexual relationship A companion to accompany you to events, functions, movies or parties. However, in this scenario it sometime turns out that one wants to take the relationship further. This may not be good if the other individual is not willing to go further.
  6. STOP OVER (for the Travellers) — If you travel often then you could be someone’s STOP OVER; a person in a country (or countries) that you call up to get with — sexually of course. That person could be notified that you are coming to the country in advance or you can let them know when you land. Communication with this individual is kept to a minimum during other times. It’s important to note that neither party wants a relationship other than when you are in that country for the brief visit.Remember, this person is not a BIG HOUSE, a Small House nor are you KICKING IT with them. This is not a long distance relationship either.

Happy loving :)

, , Africa, Humour, Travel

10 Comments → “Exposing Botswana’s Love Vocabulary”

  1. Boitumelo 13 years ago   Reply

    You know us well Sir!

  2. Boleng 13 years ago   Reply

    Hehehehe I like I like! ***Stop over*** just wondering….

  3. Dr.Shem 13 years ago   Reply

    I will be conducting more interviews over the next few days.

  4. Arnulfo Jira 12 years ago   Reply

    Some genuinely excellent blog posts on this website , appreciate it for contribution.

  5. lamar mickens 12 years ago   Reply

    hey doc, i hate to break it to you…But these vocabulary terms have been around in the US for more than 3 decades…Some even longer….

    • Dr.Shem 12 years ago   Reply

      I guess whether Botswana lays claim to the terminology or the US isn’t really that important. I imagine that tracing the roots of the vocabulary would be quite the task. Good point nevertheless.

  6. nyatze 11 years ago   Reply

    One thing you missed is nyatze, the name for the person you are cheating on your big house with. My sources say it literally means something similar “to hate” because your nyatze hates your big house relationship.

    You can joke that someone has dinyatze diintsi “lots of nyatzes”!

  7. otenyo 10 years ago   Reply

    great stuff!

  8. Gene 10 years ago   Reply

    This is why a fourth of the adult population has AIDs..

  9. ChickAboutTown 8 years ago   Reply

    This is so true of many East African countries I have lived in as well! Sad but true….

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