‘She’s got a baby’ is one of the songs on a gospel mix tape by local rap artist, Charles Kaemba who is known as WordzMyth in the music circles. The song on a gospel mixtape titled, ‘Behave, God is watching’ talks about a man who has decided to marry a single mother and is telling society to accept his decision. I had an interview with the artist and he shared more about the stories behind the song.
DJ: What is the song about?
CK: The song is basically talking about two people, two different people. These are two different scenarios that I brought together to make a song.
DJ: Who are these people?
CK: My friends, the guy got married to a woman who has a child already. My other friend the lady is a single mum who at the time was with somebody who had promised to marry her, even though she had a child before. So they were both coming to me saying, “I got a guy who wants to marry me with kid and I’m so happy.” My other friend, the guy actually took in a single mum with her daughter and married her. So I took both scenarios and wrote a song about somebody who is saying to a woman, “You know what, I’m getting you with your child and I’m going to take care of both of you
DJ: Who are these people?
CK: My friends, the guy got married to a woman who has a child already. My other friend the lady is a single mum who at the time was with somebody who had promised to marry her, even though she had a child before. So they were both coming to me saying, “I got a guy who wants to marry me with kid and I’m so happy.” My other friend, the guy actually took in a single mum with her daughter and married her. So I took both scenarios and wrote a song about somebody who is saying to a woman, “You know what, I’m getting you with your child and I’m going to take care of both of you.
DJ: Why was this issue of interest to you?
CK: It was of interest because, where I’m from it’s taboo for a lady who has a child by another man and is raising that child alone to find someone else who says, “You know what, I’m accepting you with your child I’m going take care of you and your child. If I love you then I love your child because you are inseparable from your child. And it’s considered taboo for a man to say he is taking a woman who has a child by another man. People would tend to say, “What man does that, how weak are you, or did she do something to you? In Shona they may even say. “wakadyiswa” (You were bewitched) because those scenarios never really happen. In the society I grew up in, it never really happens for a man to marry a single mother. That is why I took a keen interest in the situation and wrote a song. That’s the best way I could talk about it.
DJ: Why do you actually think it is taboo?
CK: Because naturally people would say get your own girlfriend or get your own boyfriend, get married to them later and start a family with them. They wouldn’t initially say get a single mother or a single father. But in most cases if it is a woman who has a child from another relationship, they would say to the man who wants to marry her. “You are a weak man, why would you take care of someone else’s child whether son or daughter. They would say, the child is not your blood, they will not carry your last name. Why would you take care of a child who may not even remember you, you are going to waste your resources. The people who will look at you like that, will start looking down on you. Those men will look down on you, now that you would have taken a woman who has a child by another man.
DJ: If it is that bad, why do you think you friend insisted on getting married to a single mother?
CK: It turned out that my friend had dated this lady in high school. After high school, they broke up and things happened. They maintained contact though and later on the guy owned up and said yes I have been dating other women but I still love this lady. At that time, I was also guilty of reminding him that she has a child by another man, and I asked what he meant by taking her. He said, “I want to marry her and I’m going to love the child. He really sat down and decided he wanted her in his life and he was going to take both the mother and the child and take care of them as a family, the next thing I knew was that they were married.
DJ: Did your female friend also share with you why her then boyfriend had decided to marry her?
CK: Apparently, the guy did not marry her in the end but she had told me that it was difficult for her to get a man who could trust her and accept her together with her child. She said even after telling the man about her background, he would still judge her that she had been up to no good which is why she got the child. She explained that whether one has a child from another relationship or not they are still the same person. And I think all that one needs to do is to look at their partner differently and say that, “I hope that you are a better person and we can actually have a family together.
DJ: In your song, what do you mean when you say, you were asked, “Is she complete?”
CK: The question was why would you want to be with someone who has been with someone else? Why would you want to be with someone who has done it with someone else and they have evidence to show that. That’s what most people would say. I wonder why people treat won’t a person as a person without considering whether they have or have not had a child.
DJ: In your Chorus you say, “They don’t really know anything about my baby”. Who is ‘they’ and what is it that they don’t know?
CK: By ‘baby’, I mean the woman. There is a stereotype that single moms are the worst women any man can ever come across. After having known a person, by spending time with them you get to know the person and understand the person. You can explain who the person is rather the community who just see the person but don’t necessarily engage with the person so that they know about their life instead of assuming. That is what I meant by, “They don’t really know”.
DJ: In the second verse you sing, “life would be different if all women understand”. What exactly should women understand?
CK: I look at every woman as a treasure; I don’t think that man would be complete if they were no women. If women understood that whoever they are, they are very important. No matter what a man brings or does not bring they should know that they add value to whatever a man brings into a relationship. That is why men always try to be where women are or they try to draw women closer to them. That is why I am saying women add value to a man not that a man adds value to a woman.
DJ: Are you saying if he has a car, she adds value to his car?
CK: I’m not talking about monetary value, but I’m saying women should value themselves and not think that their value will be determined by what a man has or what he has done.
DJ: As a man yourself, what do you think it should it take for a man to accept a single mother?
CK: I cannot speak on behalf of all men, but I think one just has to understand that a child is a child. The child could have been you. The child is a new life that is innocently coming into the world. You can take up that child and treat them as yours, it makes no difference whether they are yours or not. The fact that a child will carry your name does not necessarily mean that when they grow up they will act like you want them or like you. So you can take care of child by another man as yours. It just takes the heart for someone to say, this child needs a chance in life. If you can take the child and give them the opportunity to be in a good family that is all that it takes for a man.
DJ: In your opinion, why do you think single fathers are more acceptable in society than single mothers?
CK: I’m actually still trying to figure that out because I have seen it happen quite a lot. A man can easily tell a woman that he has children. I think what happens in most cases is that single fathers are successful in getting into relationships with women who do not have other children. This is because men can easily ask their mothers to take care of their children or they actually leave their children with their biological mothers. They are not always as directly involving in the raising of a child. Unlike women who are almost always staying with the children and assuming their duties, men can go freely. You cannot separate children from their mother. The woman is with the child, everywhere she is. I guess that’s why.
DJ: What is your general message in the song?
CK: Basically I’m saying love really does not cost a thing; people should just fall in love no matter who they are. We need to stop the stereotypes. We say, “You have a baby and I don’t”, or “I’m a virgin and you are not.” If there is love involved and two people decide that they are going to raise a family that is going to feed into the bigger community, then let’s do that. I’m just encouraging people to stop the stereotype.
DJ: What motivated you to write the song?
CK: I don’t think I have another reason for writing the song, except that when my friends where explaining their issues to me, they were really happy. I could tell, for instance when my female friend was telling me about her problems the situation and what goes on. The guy was also saying, “My family doesn’t think it’s a good idea but I know that I can handle this”. I guess it’s two things that motivated me, the story that was there to tell and just wanting to let people know that this is actually quite possible and I don’t see it as a bad thing. Maybe it has negative effects but I am yet to see them.
DJ: What type of feedback have you received from the people who have listened to the song?
CK: The song didn’t go very far because it is five years old now. The few that have listened to it have come to me and asked me where the child is and where the mother is. They think I’m the one involved in that situation that I sang about. The response has been really good, from the few people that have heard the song. Those I have spoken to were really astonished, they like it. They are saying, “You know what you are taking about is a really tricky situation, they imagine it as really awesome but they hardly see it happen. They have embraced it, they think it’s quite possible but they have not seen it happen in the communities they live in.
Main image used with the permission of Charles Kaemba