I recently talked to a Motswana friend of mine who told me that there is a sex tape going viral on Facebook and I got curious about it: It is a twenty minutes long movie who shows three people having sex together. Two men and one woman in their early twenties. The movie was made with a smartphone and then was posted on Facebook. In this movie you can see them having sex in different sex positions and you can see their genitals in close-ups very often.
You have to know that the trafficking of so called obscene material is illegal in Botswana. So the three people have been arrested but released on the same day without being charged so far. After that, there was the news on different websites that the women accused the two men to have raped her. A while later the press said it was the mother of the young woman who went to the police. On the Facebook site of “The Voice Newspaper Botswana” (The Voice Newspaper Botswana 2015), users discussed whether this could have been rape or not. Most of them said that it was not rape:
“Rape? But how….she started by geting on top of dat guy….she f**kd him…she suckd their d**ks….wat rape?….mo iseng ha kgotleng a ye go kgwatha..she is wasting our resources
Infact..she raped those guys! (Mo 2015).
Some who said it was rape argued that she was saying that it is painful and that they should stop recording. But they didn’t stop and the person who wrote this on Facebook also wrote:
“Two guys fucking you and you try to fight them they end up killing you so she was going with the flow” (Morewagae 2015).
But it was not just about the question wether it was rape or not. Others said that they also don’t believe that they had unprotected sex which is very careless. And yet others put it in terms of morality:
“im failing to understand really cause the last few mins e fela she was moaning and drawing the guy closer…and the Ronnie guy mentioned something about Tshepang lasting for an hour the previous day..does it mean she was raped twice?…anyway these kids need councelling cause im sure NACA doesnt like this @ all instead of you people rating Ronnie as a starring he should know what he did is wrong Aids and prostate cancer are still very much alive so lesang go boka ngwana le re wa itshelela people should back off..they need to know what they did is wrong we all make mistakes but this was definetly a wrong turn..what you say to them should be something to build them for the better….anyway God be with them” (Burton 2015).
If you follow the print media one thing is very clear: it is a question about morality: The Voice Newspaper Botswana titled one article with “Whip the porn stars” and refers to the corporal punishment within the traditional law. The chief of the village Modipane, where those three persons come from, appointed a kgotla (a kgotla is the central assembly point of the village as well as the traditional law court. The kgotla comes together to discuss issues of communal interest.) meeting with the elders. There, they agreed that the three persons should be whipped to teach them a lesson of morality (Matota2015).
Despite, it is not just about morality but also about botho. When I read this I thought: “Wow, if it comes down to botho then it has to be a big thing because botho is one of the cornerstones of setswana culture. In short, botho is derived from the setswana word motho which means human being and botho refers to that as being labeled as a good human being. The Botswana Embassy summed it up like that:
“The yardstick for botho is a package of positive human attributes, including good-manners (maitseo), kindness, compassion, humility, respect, and living up to the expectations of society and one’s particular role.” (Botswana Embassy).
As I do research about sex I ask myself what exactly is immoral about this sex tape? It is because it is a threesome? Is it because you see the genitals in close ups? Is it because sex has to be a private matter and should not been shared in public or even worse on the web? Or is it immoral just because it is sex? Does it mean that sex is always somehow immoral?
When I saw some scenes of the movie I was like: “Ok, it’s people having sex.” Like I said they had sex in different positions but nothing fancy, nothing crazy…well, at least, I would say so. I also would say that this kind of sex (probably except of the threesome part) happens most of the time when it comes to have sex all around the world. So, again: what is shocking about it?
Maybe it’s not about the sex act at all but about what else sex is surrounded by. The theoretical approach of my current research projects has the presumption to say that there is no sex before culture* which means that if it comes to sexual intercourse it cannot be seen or understood without including a various set of things and ideas, practices and values, interactions and beliefs. If one looks upon sex like that the sex tape does not only show three people having sex together it is a reflection of norms and values, of understandings what is assumed to be right or wrong.
Whatever is immoral about that video, one thing is for sure: sex is viral.
* get more information about this approach HERE
Botswana Embassy (without year number): Beliefs, Practices and Values. Online at: [http://www.botswanaembassy.or.jp/culture/index3.html]. Checked on 2015/03/29.
Burton, Missy Macheng (2015): im failing to understand. Online at: [https://www.facebook.com/TheVoiceBW/posts/10152913137299086]. Checked on 2015/03/29.
Matota (2015): Whip the porn stars. From: The Voice Botswana Newspaper. Online at: [http://www.thevoicebw.com/2015/03/20/whip-the-porn-stars/]. Checked on 2015/03/29.
Mo, Biquè (2015): Rape?. Online at: [https://www.facebook.com/TheVoiceBW/posts/10152913137299086]. Checked on 2015/03/29.
Morewagae, Tsaone Katlo (2015): I agree it was rape. Online at: [https://www.facebook.com/TheVoiceBW/posts/10152913137299086]. Checked on 2015/03/29.
The Voice Botswana Newspaper (2015): Modipane sex spree turns into rape. Online at: [https://www.facebook.com/TheVoiceBW/posts/10152913137299086]. Checked on 2015/03/29.