The University of Zambia has retracted a notice urging female students to dress properly when using the library.
The said notice had received strong backlash from female students and other civil society groups in the country.
Titled ‘Notice to female students,’ the controversial poster read: “It has come to our attention that some female students dress half-naked as they use the library, a situation which is disturbing the male students.
“We therefore advise the female students to dress modestly as you use university facilities. Modesty is the way to go!”
Retraction and apology barely 24-hours after BBC report
The ‘half-naked’ notice as it has come to be known was carried by the BBC on its Africa LIVE page on Monday.
Barely 24-hours later, an update to the story as filed by its reporter said the authorities had pulled down the notice and subsequently apologized to people who felt offended.
Christine Kanyengo, the university’s librarian, said in a new notice: “We would like to unreservedly apologise to our female library users for any offence caused.
“The said poster does not reflect who we are; we are a space that promotes access to all our library materials to people from all walks of life. We urge all our female University of Zambia Library users to feel comfortable when using their library.
“The University of Zambia has no dress code. Tolerance and diversity is the bedrock of our institution; the University of Zambia Libraries will not tolerate old discredited misogynist views in our space.”
Zambia’s morality policing
The southern African country is a conservative society that is predominantly Christian. Zambia is very strict with its laws especially on morality.
Same-sex proponents are not welcomed in Zambia as is usually the case across much of the region. Homosexuals have routinely been rounded up by police.
One of the biggest morality issues months back was the issue of sex dolls. The police warned that the items were illegal under existing laws and threatened to arrest persons who were caught in possession of these dolls.