Kids make silly choices. That stating the obvious but its a natural side effect of not knowing any better and consequences being a far notion in relation to present gratification. I came across a story about kids sharing a blow job selfie (why, oh why? and also there were other people watching!?!) but it makes me think of a local Zambian case where a “well known” musician Bobby East and his partner in crime Ruth Mukanga made a “sex” tape (that is in quotes because there is debate on whether there is actual insertion which incidentally led to brief spate of BobbyEasting being a thing) . While my consumption of Zambian music is low, I am generally aware of artists even if I cannot identify their music but the only time I heard of Bobby East was due to his “mishap”.
First, a step back. Pornography is illegal in Zambia. Making of it (either for personal or commercial use) is considered “corrupting public morals” and obscene plus you can face jail time.
Bobby and Ruth decided they would record their “activities” on his phone. I obviously cannot provide a link to the video but they are both apparently clearly identifiable. The video somehow started getting shared around and lots of people were talking about… I kid you not, police on TV and in the papers were talking about it, the cell phone and internet regulator/authority (ZICTA – Zambia Information and Communications Technology Authority) even made statements on how they can track that video being transferred which they later retracted.
Anywho, their defence is they made it for their own personal use and only after his phone got stolen did it get shared around. Unfortunately the theft wasn’t reported and the couple have since been convicted of corrupting public morals and await sentencing later today. Now, he is 25 and she is 21 (I stand to be corrected) and that is still young enough to believe life is so long you can outrun your own foolishness. Life still has a rosy tinge (unless you’ve led a harder life than most) but generally, you believe you own the world at that age. Life is good! Its in those Life is Good moments that sadly, being silly can cripple you.
This isn’t the first porn “scandal” that’s made waves here but it is the first that I am aware of that has resulted in a conviction. Now, Zambia prides itself as a moderate conservative society. We are slowly getting used to the idea that women wearing minis doesn’t mean that she is a harlot, and while you may go to a funeral wearing all black, you are inappropriately dressed if you aren’t wrapped in a chitenge (even if it is loud or garishly printed).
We recently celebrated 50 years of independence and my own observation is that it would be more meaningful if we had an actual self identity to celebrate (among other things but that is the seed to it all). That may seem like I am running away from the topic but there’s a method to my madness. See, that moderate conservatism is slightly out of touch with the growth that society is generally going through. In urban areas, young children spend more time exposed to ideals that do not match with the morals their parents grew up with and may want to fling at them when they are present. But parents are also so busy working to attain the same “material standing” that these “perverted ideals” present as an elevation from what moderate conservatism supports.
Does that make sense? Let me try again. What I mean is you have parents that want to live lifestyles that generally idealise not only how much money you spend but how “full” your life is with experiences at odds with conservatism. For example, working for a major commercial that supports family values on paper would probably come with networking at functions where alcohol consumption is high and illicit affairs the norm. So you spend your time schmoozing and schtupping other people while your kids stay at home watching unrestricted channels on DSTv or going to other people’s houses where they have access to that. You’re never home because you have to work and chances are its both mum and dad working because who can afford having a stay at home parent in this day and age?
So adults are going through that change, teens are watching it and children are living it. What we actually glorify is the “glam life” but we still want to hold on to that conservatism tag because of religious purposes and this case is “proof” that we are still a moderate society and youthful sexual exuberance should be quashed.
Is what Ruth and Booby did wrong? I don’t think so, they were simply stupid. Recording your exploits is risky business even in places where pornography is illegal (iCloud anyone?), so doing it in a country where it in fact illegal is quite risky. Do I think the law has better uses than policing porn, absolutely.
Kids do foolish things all the time, sometimes there’s malice. Blowjob selfies with an audience doesn’t seem like an action with love in mind even if it is puppy love. Private sex tapes that people make because they think it’ll be “fun to do” is simply silly. Jail time wont correct their morals. There are worse crimes than foolishness.