28 May 2020


Phindile wearing the famous read hat, standing with her dad and sisters


Hyenas live in a matriarchal system whereby the females are ultimately in higher rank than males and each pack is led by a dominant female. On the contrary, in human nature, most countries are governed by patriarchal systems. Though South Africa is overtly raising women empowerment by appointing females in top executive positions, men continue to remain in power. For as long as there are still grandmothers who raise young girls to be “marriage worthy”, humanity will primarily succumb to patriarchy. Even though we live in a time where women now have equal opportunities as men, at times slightly more, the man will always be the overall head of the family as created by God.

Though a man is the head of the family, there are certain “rights” that are automatically transferred to the wife or females in general. For instance, a husband could be the one buying groceries but the wife manages these to ensure that there is enough left for the whole month. The wife will cook most of the time and wisely prepare meals in well-considered proportions that will sustain the family until the next paycheck. So why am I talking about hyenas, male dominancy, and all that jazz? I’m very intentionally and innovatively getting to the conversation of the “keys to the fridge” but I had to make you understand in part, the roles that wives and husbands play in the family context – I hope you understand though I’m sure a few feathers might be ruffled at this point.

Having keys to the fridge refers to the breadwinner in a family structure. The one who buys the food and thus determines how much each family member will eat and when (this doesn’t need to be a male figure) If there are 15 biscuits in a box of eet-sum-mors that simply means that the breadwinner takes 8 and the rest of the family members can distribute the other 7 amongst themselves. The one with the keys to the fridge maintains a certain power in the house and determines the lifestyle and culture of that family. This can include: how frequently other family members eat, dress code, the house curfew, which television programs are watched, how snacks are eaten between meals, what jokes are laughed at, and so forth. Once you become the breadwinner in your family, you automatically get the keys to the fridge, which gives you control to govern the family. It becomes funny when people start doing things behind the breadwinner, in an attempt to gain some form of freedom or to do what they want without having somebody nag them about it.

So, my dad had a rule in our home when we were still young i.e. no eating upstairs. He and my mum had just put carpets in the house and they didn’t want any food there for hygienic purposes. I struggled to obey this rule especially because I’m a late-night “snacker” and I get really hungry after supper. After eating dinner downstairs as a family, dad would watch tv with mum whilst we sat upstairs. It became a problem when my tummy would grumble and I knew there was absolutely no way I could sneak a snack upstairs with the breadwinner bodyguard in the form of my dad watching, so, I devised a plan with my red beanie. I would simply go to the kitchen and discretely shove everything up my hat and walk back up without a trace of anything edible on me – getting back up unnoticed was a real victory.

Do you also know the moment when you feel hungry and just as you walk to the kitchen to make something to eat, you find them making their food and; all of a sudden you have to downsize your meal in an attempt to avoid the heavy eyes that sit on your back mathematising every ingredient you use to make your meal? I know I’m preaching to someone here today – hahaha.

Why is it though that money and power are in the same Whatsapp group? Why does our behaviour change when we start getting a bit more money and we can afford to buy more expensive things? Think of someone right now that you’ve known for years who you’ve seen both with and without money – I know you’ve got a picture of someone in your mind by now. Can you see the difference in their behaviour when they had more money in comparison to when they didn’t? Was this change positive or negative? What positive changes can you make once you have the opportunity to get a bit more money? Meditate on this and make sure you loosen your grip on the keys to your fridge and instead invest in making sure that perhaps another family has a fridge to choose from.

***”Eet-sum-mor” are Bakers biscuits***


  Lots of Love, Phindy xxx