Doris Lessing just won the Nobel Prize for Literature—you can view her unscripted reaction to the news here. She wrote a piece in 2003 about Robert Mugabe that I found online at an African website—here's a sample:
In fact, "our customs" are strongly valued when they have to do with the subjection of women. The law of the land may say one thing on paper—Zimbabwe's early Marxist phase, as in other Communist countries, imposed many kinds of equality. But "our customs" still make sure that a woman has no right to the money she has earned, or to her children. She is her husband's vassal. When Mugabe was met at the airport by hand-clapping and kowtowing maidens, and he was criticised (in the early days) for this sign of backwardness, the reply was "it is our custom."
A man in a three-piece suit, in a government job, will still beat his wife-or try to; the women are fighting back. And he will consult soothsayers and shamans. Superstition still rules. It is "our custom" to look for the evil eye when a family member gets sick or a cow falls lame and then pay the witch doctor to exact revenge. It is becoming "our custom" to try to find virgin partners if you are HIV-positive, for to have sex with them will cure you of AIDS. (AIDS has spread widely in Zimbabwe.) The use of human parts in medicine goes on; it is the custom.