Home » Governance » Misihairabwi-Mushonga Plots Challenge Against Wives and Kids Taking Fathers’ Surnames

“I don’t want to continuously apologise for being Ndebele because somebody has decided that your definition is Shona because the sperm that produced you came from a Shona man.

“The last (survey) result that we had showed that 72 per cent of local men were duped of paternity.”

FIREBRAND MDC legislator and feminist, Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga says she plans to formally challenge a requirement for children to adopt their fathers’ surnames as opposed to those of their mothers.

Misihairabwi-Mushonga said she planned to use her own case, where she was born a Misihairabwi, but will switch surnames to Ncube, her mother’s family name.

“I am actually going to change my name to my mother’s name,” Misihairabwi-Mushonga told NewZimbabwe.com in an exclusive interview weekend.

“I want to deal with this notion that says when a child is born, they are a father’s child, which is ridiculous because a father is actually a ‘may-be’; the person you really know is actually your mother.”

The MDC top official said she had no issues against her dotting late father, a Shona from Mashonaland Central’s Chiweshe area, or her husband Christopher Mushonga (also late), whose surname she pairs with her own family name.

Misihairabwi-Mushonga had no children with her husband.

The lack of spawn, she added, has buttressed her resolve to permanently abandon his name whose continued use she admitted was unnecessarily dragging the deceased’s surviving family members into controversies she occasionally runs into as MP.

The tough speaking legislator said her new stance would pave way for younger Zimbabweans who feel the same but fear the consequences of challenging a cultural norm.

“I think that that debate needs to come to the centre,” she said.

Although she hails from a Shona background, Misihairabwi-Mushonga was cultured into a Ndebele system under her mother Laiza Theresa’s family.

She explained: “I don’t want to continuously apologise for being Ndebele because somebody has decided that your definition is Shona because the sperm that produced you came from a Shona man.

“I am not saying that the sperm did not come from Misihairabwi. It could very well have; but it may not necessarily have been. If the definition of Priscilla is by her name, then I am going to get a Ncube name.”

Attention seeker?

The former MDC secretary general denied attention seeking and trying to stir controversy.

“I am not joking,” she said, “This is going to be serious debate. I am going to get a Ncube name! That is my mother’s name. It is my name. It is in my blood line.

“I am certainly going to be doing that just to make that point to say there is nowhere where it is written that you have to take your father’s name only and that the definition of who you are as a person is by your father’s name.”

Misihairabwi-Mushonga said she planned to strengthen her argument from recent statistics availed to the Harare magistrate’s court where 72 percent of men who challenged paternity through DNA tests were found to be negative.

“I am not necessarily choosing between the father and the mother. I am just basically saying that these two people have equal rights to this person that they brought to the world,” she said.

“My comment about the insistence of people to give a person a father’s name as that it suggests the mother is a lesser being.

“is that in fact biologically correct? The person that you genuinely have hundred per cent connection to and do not need to do a DNA is your mum.

“Just like the last result that we had, 72 per cent of local men were duped of paternity.

“So if we need to use those figures, then we will have a debate right now on whether children should be carrying their fathers’ names because we don’t know.”

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February 2018
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