Tarime woman caning: young men directed to ‘mate out’ five strokes of the cane each
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Lusuga Kironde
Typography

The recent caning in public of a 38-year old woman in Tarime has drawn worldwide condemnation and it is heartening to note that public authorities are taking action against the perpetrators of this outdated practice.

The Daily Blog (January 12, p. 3), in a story titled “Tarime Woman Caning Strongly Condemned”, relates the reaction of the Coalition of Women and Constitution whose spokesperson had this to say: “We want the culprits to face the law and the victim to receive justice for the brutality and shaming she suffered”.

What happened to this woman? Apparently, she had disowned her mother, accusing her of being a witch. As a result: “The traditional council directed six young men to ‘mate out’ five strokes of the cane each to the victim, right before the public that had turned out to watch and listen, causing her injuries, humiliation and psychological trauma”.

“Mate out?” No. “To mate” is a verb usually used with relation to animals. If animals mate, they have sex to make babies. The question of mating does not therefore apply to this poor Tarime woman. The young men were not directed “to mate out”, but rather “to mete out” five strokes of the cane each to the woman.

To “mete out” a punishment to somebody means to give that person a punishment. We trust that a harsh punishment will be meted out to those who ordered and who carried out that outrageous act against a fellow human being.

From Tarime we fly back to Dar es Salaam. Travelling in this city is a challenge. The Good Citizen on Sunday (January 8, p. 9) carried a photograph which illustrates the problem of commuting that many of us face.

The caption accompanying the photograph reads as follows: “A Dar es Salaam resident passes through the window into a commuter bus on Thursday at the Simu 2000 Bus Terminal in the city ‘in a bit’ to ‘ensure he secures’ a seat”. “In a bit to?” No. It is: “In a bid to”, meaning “in an effort or attempt to achieve or obtain something”.

Moreover, we are told that the Dar resident who entered the bus through the window did that in a bid ‘to ensure he secures a seat’. In this case “to ensure” and “to secure” mean more or less the same thing. So the writer could economise on words by dropping one of these.

Thus the caption could be rewritten as follows: “A Dar es Salaam resident passes through the window into a commuter bus on Thursday at the Simu 2000 Bus Terminal in the city ‘in a bid’ to ‘secure’ a seat”.

A caption accompanying another photograph on the same page of the Citizen also makes interesting reading: “Tumain University students ‘listen attention’ to Mwananchi newspaper’s foreign editor HI during a study tour of Mwananchi Communications Limited Headquarters at Tabara Relini in Dar es Salaam on Friday”.

What does ‘listen attention’ mean? We can see from the photograph that the students have their eyes and ears trained on the editor. Does that mean they were “listening attention?” Most likely not. We can drop “attention”, or change “listen” into another word. Version one of the caption could be: “Tumaini University students ‘listen’ to Mwananchi newspaper’s foreign editor HI during a study tour of Mwananchi Communications Limited Headquarters at Tabata Relini in Dar es Salaam on Friday”.

In this version we have dropped the word “attention”. Version two could read as follows: “Tumaini University students ‘pay attention’ to Mwananchi newspaper’s foreign editor HI during a study tour of Mwananchi Communications Limited Headquarters ……”.

My suspicion however, is that the writer wanted both: “listen” and some version of the word “attention” to appear. In which case the caption could read: “Tumaini University students ‘listen attentively’ to Mwananchi newspaper’s foreign editor HI during a study tour of Mwananchi Communications Limited Headquarters at Tabata Relini in Dar es Salaam on Friday”.

Please note as well that we have made corrections to the spelling of proper names Tumaini (from Tumain) and Tabata (from (Tabara). Have a nice weekend.

lusuggakironde@gmail.

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