Subdued Valentine’s celebrations

Source: The Herald – Breaking news.

Subdued Valentine’s celebrations 
LOVE IS IN THE AIR . . . Mr Sydney Musabuyana holds flowers decorated with dollars bought as a Valentine’s present for his wife in Harare yesterday. — Picture: Tinashe Chitwanga.

Valerie Mpundu in HARARE and Bongani Ndlovu in BULAWAYO

IT was a generally subdued Valentine’s Day yesterday with some people receiving gifts and others not, while florists and restaurants said they did not record great business.

Valentine’s Day is celebrated in most parts of the world on 14 February, when lovers express their affection with special greetings, cards, and gifts.

Traditionally men are the ones who buy gifts for women, but 2024 has been an exception, it is a leap year, meaning the burden of coming up with something romantic falls on the shoulders of women. 

Men over the past weeks have been denouncing gifts such as socks, underwear, roll-on deodorants, saying they would prefer tyres, bricks, cement, or something substantial than the fleeting gifts that they have been subjected to over the years. 

Yesterday, a small number of people, including women, could be seen in most towns wearing the usual red, white and black associated with Valentine’s Day.

Some men said Valentine’s Day is one of the many ways designed by capitalists to milk people of their hard-earned cash.

But it was not doom and gloom as some couples could be seen at eateries and some women were carrying gift bags while some men had an assortment of gifts, ranging from roses, colognes, shirts, mugs, chocolates and varying bottles of expensive whiskey.

The Herald yesterday caught up with an excited young father, Mr Sydney Musabuyana, whose wife had just given birth and was rushing to hospital to see her.

He was holding a beautiful bouquet of flowers that had a couple of US dollar bills.

“I am so excited about this day; I am actually rushing to the hospital to see my beautiful wife who has just given birth.

“It is now a special Valentine’s Day for me and I can’t contain my joy,” he said.

A lady who identified herself only as Angela, said: “It’s a great day for me. Imagine I had not dated in three years and it’s so amazing to finally find love at my age. 

“I really want to wish you all and the rest of the world a happy Valentine’s Day.”

A lady who elected to remain anonymous said: “It’s a relevant day during which people get to share their love and share affection but I am not celebrating anything today.”

Mr Tendai Katai said Valentine’s Day was a “Western idea” that some Africans have embraced. 

“We are Africans and we really do not believe in all this. Mbuya Nehanda never celebrated Valentine’s Day and we should take after her so that we observe and preserve our culture as Africans,” said Mr Katai.

Mr Jeffrey Muporeri said Valentine’s Day is “just an ordinary day, why exaggerate it?”

“If you love someone, you must be able to show it every day. You don’t have to wait for the calendar to tell you.

“I do not believe in all this crazy stuff going on around town where people are buying gifts, including flowers,” said Mr Muporeri.

But one elderly woman said she does not understand “this whole initiative”.

“It’s a waste of time and money. Why wait for someone to tell you how to love someone? I do not believe in Valentine’s Day,” she said.

Ms Tariro Kaseke said February is a month of love and was glad to have received her gift from her loved one.

“We should appreciate our partners and in most cases people forget to do that. Somebody out there dedicated this month for lovers and we are glad that people are observing the day,” she said.

Mr Vladimir Kasere said he grew up in a loving home and was taught to love and share.

“So I am just emulating what I grew up experiencing. Charity begins at home and so does love. I am going to treat my woman today (yesterday),” he said.

In Bulawayo, some men did not want to talk to our news crew or even reveal the source of the gifts.

Some ladies like Miss Nesisa Nyathi were giddy with delight as she carried a huge bouquet of roses and a hamper filled with beauty products and said she was happy to have received the gifts from her loved one.

“I have received a gift from my loved one. I feel so happy, appreciated, and loved. I have no words to express my happiness,” said Miss Nyathi.

Another woman who did not want to be named said Valentine’s Day has been great for her and she would always cherish the gifts she is given.

Those in business said traffic was low, with some in gift shops saying they were disappointed that women would enter shops, complain about how expensive prices were, and leave.

Ms Shalom Ndlovu from a gift shop in the Bulawayo city centre said she was disappointed that even though it was a leap year, a few women were buying gifts.

“I am very very disappointed. Most women are coming and not buying, but complaining that the gifts are expensive. However, the men who come in here don’t even cry, they just buy,” said Miss Ndlovu. 

A florist, Ms Sanelisiwe Sibanda, who works at the Large City Hall said business has been low this year compared to last year.

Business is low this year. I think it’s because it’s a leap year. But the men are continuing to buy flowers for their women. I have seen some people who are my yearly customers coming to buy their women flowers. And also the number of women has not increased although I thought they would since it’s their year to buy,” said Ms Sibanda.

Another who only identified himself as Mr Mkhwananzi said he was in the same predicament as his flowers by midday had not sold that much, compared to previous years.

“Business this year is very very low, as there are still flowers that haven’t been bought. By this time if there is business, I would have sold half of the flowers that I have, but this year it seems that it’s hard. There were one or two women who came and bought in the morning, but the trend, as always, is that men are the ones who are buying,” said Mr Mkwananzi.