The problem with hating Pokello

Do we really hate Pokello? Photograph taken from

I am still recovering from the disbelief I experienced earlier today when I read an opinion piece forthrightly titled ‘Why women Hate Pokello’.

An anonymous writer, a Zimbabwean woman I presume, enters into a long narrative about why ‘we’ Zimbabwean women HATE Pokello Nare, one of the Zimbabwean representatives in the Big Brother House this year.

We hate her because she is full of herself and her good looks a la Kim Kardashian, the writer states. We hate her because she isn’t humble and constantly affronts us with her palpable sex appeal. We hate her because she is a ‘porn star’ (such a myopic and misguded perspective), or ‘Pornello’ as she has come to be derisively referred to since the sex tape she and Stunner made was publicly leaked a while ago.

Summarily, the author writes, the women of Zimbabwe hate Pokello because “we love humble women that play down their beauty and sexuality and play up their intellectual talents and abilities!”

I am a woman of Zimbabwe and I take great offense to this article and how it orders women, women who dare to be different in our pseudo-conservative environment, as active detractors to some imagined unifying cause to save – and serve – Zimbabwean womanhood.

The greatest irony for me is in that the author chooses to remain anonymous and yet speak on behalf of a nation. Whose opinion was sought in the writing of this article? Was a sound sampling technique employed to arrive at the conclusion that the majority of Zimbabwean women felt this way? If the writer is so convinced of their findings, why have they chosen not to tell us who they are?

One of my biggest peeves in addressing women’s issues is the perpetual homogenisation of  the African woman’s experience. The African woman, if we are to accept this representation of ourselves, uniformly thinks the same way as all of her other ‘sisters’, reacts to issues  in the same manner and needs exactly the same kind of intervention(s) regardless of her location, socialisation and experience of her feminine identity – which, mind you intersects with a range of other factors such as race, ethnicity, class and religion.

For me, this is what is wrong with this writer’s logic; that s/he chooses to believe that because a few women s/he may have had an intense discussion about Pokello with felt negatively about her, this represents the totality of Zimbabwean women’s opinions.

No, it does not.

And it is these collective and blanket sorts of utterances that patronisingly position women as being unable to be free thinkers and doers, as Pokello obviously is.

The author of this article at one point states that we women (all 6.5 million + of us) feel cheated by Pokello because she uses her sexuality to get ahead. The author then goes on to call on the female doctors, lawyers and engineers who “work so hard to get recognition in their fields” as people who should feel especially disenchanted by Pokello’s ‘get rich quick’ strategy.


I am not a doctor, lawyer or engineer and I can appreciate how much work it takes to get recognition in these codes which have a historically male dominance. But I will speak from my own experience here being a woman in media, a sector which is equally male-dominated. The fact that I work so hard to get to the top of my field is NOT affected by  Pokello; and I don’t think anyone’s livelihood should be. How exactly? Has she taken us a step backward in the fight for ‘equality’ by having sex, not by herself, but with her man, for her pleasure? How come whoever leaked this tape gets off without so much as a rap over the knuckles? Isn’t that the person we should be harping on about?

This is not Hollywood so I doubt Pokello has enjoyed a direct and monetary windfall since this sex tape leaked. And the last time I checked, I thought she ran a boutique anyway.


It is also really interesting that the writer chooses these three professions as markers of women’s success because this orients success towards technical and historically male-dominated spheres of operation. And this just adds weight to holier-than-thou judgement scale that says success = being a doctor/ lawyer/ engineer. Failure = Pokello, Bev and I suppose any other woman who embraces or owns her sexuality.

Most Zimbabwean women aren’t doctors, lawyers, engineers, or Pokello or Bev… so once again, I ask, who are these women who have been claimed for the purpose of this article?

And then we are to hate Pokello for the sake of her son, and the sake of our own daughters. We are told that Pokello’s 10-year-old will have to “… live with the fact that the world has watched his mother not only having sex but having unprotected sex with a man that is not his father.”

Three problems here.

Unless Zimbabwe became the world, I don’t know about this statement. I for one never saw the tape.

Secondly, the issue of unprotected sex. Remember, it’s not like Stunner and Pokello were making a PSI advert about safe sex. It was a leaked video; as in it was not meant to go public or viral. And if our writer’s concerns with their unprotected sex have to do with the viral (in terms of HIV) health of the couple, this really has nothing to do with us. This was a private affair, as sex usually is. And we have zero context to understand or pass judgement on their lack of use of condoms.

The third point is the biggest for me. We are to feel our hatred towards Pokello roused even more because her child will live with the fact she slept with a man other than his father?

I bet no one would pass that judgement on Stunner if the child was his, not Pokello’s.

So in essence, are we saying that a woman who has a child/ has had sex with another man is banned from further sexual endeavour? Because this is not just about Pokello, but a lot of Zimbabwean women – single mothers, women who’ve fallen out of relationships, women who aren’t interested in settling down, women who want ‘no strings’ sex (yes, this type of woman lives among us).

Writer, you may find that in speaking on behalf of all Zimbabwean women, you have just demonised a large proportion of your supposed constituency.

I don’t usually spend this much time on issues arising out of Big Brother. This is because I do not follow the show and have no interest in it. But this fanatical and emotional response to the show is really counter-progressive, especially when it is cloaked in patriarchal and pseudo-conservative speak that only reveals a deep rot in women’s perceptions of each other.

We do not live to, or subscribe to, the same moral codes. We are different in our thoughts, actions and world views. We are individuals with individual experiences of the intersections of our Zimbabwean and feminine identities.

If you seriously have time to hate Pokello, you have chosen to other and discard her experience of these identities. But more importantly, you have reinforced the status quo that so many Zimbabwean women are riling against in pursuit of an authentic self, in search of the ‘I’ who is often lost amid the collective cultural norms and roles that have been used to identify us.

It’s high time people stop speaking on behalf of others, but for themselves. Writer, I would not have felt so compelled to articulate my thoughts in this response had you just been transparent enough to write as you, and not hide behind an amorphous collective of Zimbabwean women who do not necessarily agree with you.

29 thoughts on “The problem with hating Pokello

  1. Leave Pokello alone..she was having fun with her boyfriend. Just unfortunate that tape leaked.
    She is smart and educated. Majerasi chete vakadzi vemu Zimbabwe. Isu we will support her in the BBA to end…VIVA Pokelo


  2. The writer of the other article may not have spoken for every last Zimbabwean woman but she certainly spoke for many. I’m neither a hater nor a fan of Pokello but the other piece is more factual than this one.


    1. considering that as many as 75% of Zimbabwean married women cheat on their husbands I dont see a problem with an unmarried Pokello leaving as she wishes – its her body after all


  3. These two articles seem like just another claw fight to me. From a spectator’s point of view, Poky is human and humans make bad choices sts. She made a sex tape which in the long run bit her in the arse=bad choice, unprotected sex = bad choice, sex out of wedlock=bad choice. We all make bad choices sts. To condone these choices however is to be ignorant of their effect on our culture and morals, image and children. But to hate her for making them,,..that’s just silly. What do you get from hating the poor girl and for what? Is she not human? While I think a public call to hate Poky because of her wrongs or because she is not a lawyer but a beauty is jus dowright silly, but to stand back and tell our teenagers her choices are OK as is the impression I am getting from the above article is a total NO NO. Her life her choices yes but when they become public business we say what needs to be said to point our teenagers’ undeveloped minds in the right direction. I hope Poky responds productively to media and takes a lil responsibility to some of the negative media directed to her. If it talks like a Kardashian, acts like a Kardashian, thinks like a Kardashian…it may as well be a Kardashian and people will call it as such. If u chose to be a public figure you either give a good example for our growing minds to look up to or you face the music when people bash you. that’s life. opinions are like bums everybody’s got one. If u are in the public eye ul have to learn to surf out the opinions that build u and ignore all else but do not expect the world to sit by and condone any of the bad choices you make that will impact our next generation, our morals, our image as Zimboz. That being said we love u Poky. and we wish you the VERY bestest in big bro n everything else and we do not expect you to be miss perfect either.


    1. Lets not use culture guys hat culture is in Zimbabwe now who doesnt have sex outside marriage. i think sex outside marriage is now part of culture. is it necessarily a bad choice to have sex outside marriage come one guys this Zimbabwean culture you talking about exists in some people’s minds


      1. helllll no. sex outside marriage is never part of our culture and it never will be. having many people do it does not mean that it has been accepted as a culture. Our culture says we must abstain until we get married then we can have sex not have sex and eventually get married. Get yo facts rite. yo comment just left a cold chill down my spine


    2. Are you frikkin kidding me!!!!! I don’t think Pokello woke up and wanted to be a role model for the countries ignorant youth. if you cannot raise your own children well enough such that they use their own common sense in making decisions that affect THEIR lives- don’t pin-point Pokello and say that she is the cause of the youth being misguided and that she acts like a Kardashian.
      About the bad choices you say she made, we (the public) are not in a position to tell ANYONE when they can and cannot have unprotected sex with their partners (bearing in mind that she and Stunner dated for three years), sex out of wedlock….not the public’s decision either. if you got married virgin, it doesn’t mean the country should follow your saintly ways. I am sure your parents are proud but for you to then tell us kuti Pokello having sex out of wedlock is a bad choice shamwari get serious…she already has a child out of wedlock!!!!
      About your image as Zimabaweans, the only thing that i know for certain is the the country only wants to stand by those that people like you think deserve appreciation- if it was Kirsty Coventry in a sex tape would you have am opinion about it?? and would it matter because for her to become a national swimming champion nobody was there, not you, not the government that praises her, not the media- she had a coach and her family. Shit happens, we as Zimbabweans should be willing to help each other grow from mistakes like these, so that we can be an example to our next generation-teach them to forgive and accept responsibility…not to hold grudges and belittle every action and mistake others make in their lives. the reason we dont grow is because we don’t have that compassion for each other- Americans like to see the under dog come up on top-Zimbabweans like to punish the under dog till death.


  4. Thank you for this article. The debate around Pokello has obviously illuminated how we as Zimbabwean women are still far from accepting difference and sexuality, as well as understanding the real meaning of gender equality. Patriarchy is so deep set in our society to the extent that we are so busy undertaking other women surveillance, to uphold it. Pokello might not represent the ‘idealized’ version of Zimbabwe woman, but at least she represents the kind of woman who refuses to be locked in a was about time we had someone like her on a public platform so we can begin to move away from the illusion of a homogenous Zimbabwe woman


  5. I do not see the rightness or wrongness of each article. Both are opinion! Fact is there are many women who dislike Pokello for one reason or another so after reading the first article i see possible reasons for their feelings. For the most part it makes sense. There has been a general discussion of why facebook pages etc are popping up to bring Pokello home. For some reason some zimbabweans do not want Pokello to represent them (however misguided they are we cant ignore the fact that they find Pokello disagreeable)
    her). I dont particularly feel its right to dislike women for the reasons given


  6. I do not see the rightness or wrongness of each articles. Both are opinion! Fact is there are many women who dislike Pokello for one reason or another so after reading the first article i see possible reasons for their feelings. For the most part it makes sense. There has been a general discussion of why facebook pages etc are popping up to bring Pokello home. For some reason some (not many but
    some) zimbabweans do not want Pokello to represent them (however misguided they are we cant ignore the fact that they find Pokello
    disagreeable) i dont particularly feel its right to dislike women for the reasons given in that article but i can see how a segment of Zimbabwean women given cultural and religious backgrounds can feel this way.


  7. I heard some women were jealous when they saw how good she loked in bed. That video was leaked . It was not meant for public consuption so to judge someone on what they do mu bedroom mavo ah taitovenga munhuwese mu Zimbabwe


  8. I am not a woman, but I can also comment I presume? Pokello has made the most of the wrong things that have been identified to describe her, so she is WHOLLY to blame. What propelled her to fame? a sex tape, leaked purposely or mistakenly, I have a feeling its been a blessing in disguise for her. and on top of that, when she was finally interviewed, she boasts of having hundreds of pairs of shoes, and spending on average 2000 UNITED STATES DOLLARS per month on shoes? I mean, so what? Unless you want all Zimbabwean women to be pompous and self centered and vain, then those who do hate her, are fully justified for it. And my guess is they are not few at all.


  9. I think Pokello or whatever her name is, is a victim of brainwashing, just like many other girls of her age growing up in this time and this society. She has watched too much junk TV and was told she can become famous by videotaping herself having sexual intercourse with a fairly well-known musician. Now she has taken the gig to another level, to the BBA show where the focus is on ephemeral beauty, nudity, possible sex and other purely hedonistic and somewhat fetishistic pursuits.(There are photos out there of BBA participants having showers and such). I would never watch such a show, even if i got paid to do it. I would rather crack a book and chill. Fungai is supporting this Kardashian-sque lifestyle hahaha! Champion of women’s rights indeed!


  10. She was just an adult having fun. Thats all there is to it. You all do some freaky stuff in your bedrooms, lord knows what, so stop pointing fingers just coz some arse decided to make public what was private. Haters!


    1. there is no adult who is that irresponsible. have you ever seen a leaked tape of your parents having sex? my guess would be n. And y? Coz they would never want to record such an act, they want to be held with dignity in their societies and strictly its between the two of them and for the world world to see. And to have unprotected sex with a man who is not your husband i mean thats just plain crazy and immature. i dont hate her but what message is she sending to young kids and all other people out there. if anyone decides to record a sex act make sure you have a safe with codes that only you know and keep it secured by the best IT practitioners.


  11. i dnt thnk pokello dd anythng wrng by slipin wf stunner unlesst we tek t via a biblical eye,neitha dd she do wrng in being unprotectd cz we ts nt like a must to wear condoms,wat f ey wer tryn 4 a kid?and i dnt thnk any1 shld bear e blame e tape “leakd”,i supoz u wldn in yo normal sense ‘act’ 4 yoself to watch.wat xactly z e purpos of a sextape f nt for others to c?(i wld’ve sed public consumption).m suppoz ppl watchd ths 1 and cld nt stop tokin cz ey knew all e actors featured. I dn hate pokello 4 t,i rather hate her 4 being zpf


  12. I am very male. I must point out at the outset that this Poky woman doesn’t attract me at all. To quote the late Ugandan poet, Okot p’Bitek, her mouth looks like a hyena’s after devouring prey. Black women just don’t look attractive in red lipstick. It’s too garish. Tell her to take fashion 101, please. As for her sex tape thing, tell her there is at least one heterosexual Zimbabwean man who refuses to watch it because he is disgusted by her red mouth.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s