Building a healthy marriage and raising a strong family takes commitment and black couples in Africa face unique challenges.
Renewed Love, a new Christian television series showing on Ezekiel TV at 16h00 on Sundays is all about looking at your love with your spouse with fresh eyes — and it takes on special issues that married couples in Africa face such as lobola, ukukotiza and ukunyamezela.
Show hosts Rest and Neziswa Kanju who have been married for 11 years and are blessed with three children have been running marriage seminars since 2005. Together with their special guests each week they will encourage couples with input on a wide range of marital and family issues including finances, communication; handling conflict, inlaws and sex.
The show is shot at different lodges and game reserves in South Africa and includes a music segment featuring different established and new worship groups .
The structure of the programme utilises the hosts’ strengths with Rest in the tourism sector and Neziswa’s experience in front of the camera as an actress in television productions such as Kwazidenge (played the part of Notizi); The Day of the Two Suns (played the lead role of Nongqawuse) ; Mindset Learn and Mindset Health and various theatrical productions.
Commenting to Gateway News on the uniquely African marriage challenges, Neziswa says the lobola issue was initially a good and honourable practice but it has been turned into a moneymaking opportunity by some families and into a tool to exert control on wives.
“It is not unheard of to hear a husband expecting his wife to do some demeaning things or to ‘just obey because ndikulobolile’ (I have paid lobola for you),” she says.
“There is a particular attitude that exists in our communities; a line of thought that I was also subjected to when I got married, that says that as a woman you must endure marriage as if you are about to go a prison.
“The culture of ‘ükunyamezela’ (enduring the hardships of marriage) is something that is encouraged and taught to young women. You are hardly supported as a wife if anything wrong happens or hardships come — as they will in any marriage. What the Black society does is to blame the women 95% of the time without hearing the full story. This attitude has made the ‘modern women’ look down ON marriage as they do not see why they should get married if marriage is all about suffering…”
Neziswa emphasises that the show does not only deal with African issues but with issues relevant to married couples and those about to be married.
“This week we will be dealing with purity before marriage. In our sex-crazed world where the general norm is for young people to engage in sexual activity outside of marriage, it take takes love and commitment to the Almighty to make a decision to remain a virgin (and to keep that commitment) until marriage. It is indeed more challenging for young people these days to live a sex-free life with all the opposing voices and images that they get exposed to in the media,” says Neziswa.
“We will be joined Granny Mohlala and Archie Mohlapudi, a 28-year-old woman and a 29-year-old man who are still virgins and are leaving a holy life for God.
“In other episodes we will be dealing with a couple who are working together and how they deal with conflict, communication and working together. We will also be joined by a couple where the wife is juggling studying (she has already obtained her first degree and honours), motherhood and marriage. At times the husband has had to lend practical support to his wife by taking care of the children and to coordinate things at home. This is still frowned upon by the majority of Black Africa where a man should not concern himself with such duties.”
Neziswa says she and Rest feel called to the marriage ministry, particularly marriages in Africa.
“Marriage is a blessing and not a place where one is called to endure and where one is treated as a semi slave. We need to shift this mindset and renew our minds as married couples in this continent,” she says.
If other ministries want to advertise their upcoming events and Christian businesses at the end of the programme they can email Neziswa at firstname.lastname@example.org or call her at 074 561 4209.