||ka-Manzi, Faith (2008) Women of South Africa Unite . Centre for Civil Society : -.
||Men deal with their inferiority complexes by taking advantage of the weaker sex, the very women who as mothers cuddled them and who nurtured them as their girlfriends, wives, colleagues, sisters.
The battle rages on. South African women are among the most violated and
abused in the world.
When the monsters who permeate our society destroy our space, our voice,
our movements and our sense of security, the forces of law and order are
no better help to women.
Traumatised rape survivors face rude policemen (note not policewomen)
who are intimidating. Policemen in this country also count amongst the
perpetrators of violence and abuse against women.
Recently, in Inanda, I was viciously attacked by two men after I had
dared to answer them back when they swore at us. While one repeatedly
hit me with a plank, another held me down and strangled me. I can hardly
use my left hand as I write this.
It’s not going to change unless a new generation of women rise up and
say, as in the last line of the Communist Manifesto, “Women of the world
unite against the atrocities and injustices committed against you”.
Our mothers fought for the vote and equal rights, to see their children
having a better life than they did. Thus the dreams they fought for
became a reality in their lifetime.
Remember when our mothers marched to Pretoria, or when women burnt their bras, until their relentless battles were won.
Does our generation have enough strength not just to attain seats in
parliament and Cabinet, but to actually reverberate women's interests
through the highest offices of the land? Have we been violated so much
that we have accepted it as part of our daily life?.
Of course many reasons are given for making life miserable for women.
“Women dress in skimpy, revealing skirts”, we hear. So this is
translated to women forever feeling like schoolgirls always chaperoned
When are men going to learn that women more often than not dress in what
first make them first feel happy and good about themselves, and that the
rest of the world is invited to join in as long as they are aware that
we are doing for ourselves? And then respect that?
I am in my forties and as a kid was always teased as skinny. So I
couldn’t for that reason flaunt my body (how envious I was of
well-endowed women). But now at this age if I had a body to show, I
would certainly do it and I hoist the flag up high for sisters who do
so. But I still have my own creative ways to show off because it feels
great. Because it is great to be a woman. And that no matter how much
men demean us and make us feel guilty for being beautiful and sexy, the
pleasure we take in our womanhood will never change.
Early one evening as I walked towards a girlfriend’s flat, I felt anger
that even though it was still early evening, I couldn’t walk through
Bulwer Park. That route would have been a shortcut to my friend’s place.
It angers me that I do not feel safe in my city, in my township,
I feel as if I am being held ransomed in my private space where I should
feel the safest. South Africa is my country – it’s my private space. And
it scares the shit out of me that my private space, instead of being my
refuge, is actually my hell!
South African men have made our private spaces hell if one in nine women
are raped in this country. I bet most men in our prisons are there for
something related to having committed a crime against women. One isiZulu
weekly newspaper reports religiously once a week about the sentencing of
men, most for life terms, as a result of crimes against us.
And we woman, what messages are we sending out to our daughters? That
violence is all right. I know that I may be skinned alive by some
women’s organizations for this. I am not ignorant nor do I look down on
the inroads made by women’s groups against this great injustice. But for
Chrissakes, I am not saying let’s burn our bras in public because they
will sjambok the hell out of us. But isn’t there a way there could be an
awakening of women united front against this pandemic. Where is our
We are always saying power to this cause and power to that cause. So how
about for a change we use our power to us as women to get rid of this
scourge? The proleteriat rose up, slaves rebelled, South Africa had its
negotiated ‘liberation’. Workers have their rights, there are social
grants for this and that.
How can we fail, then, if we rise up against being held hostage in our
private space for no other reason except that we are women. We are being
persecuted for celebrating our womenhood. It feels like gender cleansing
or sex shedding, this vendetta against us. When workers want something
and negotiations do not meet their demands, they go to the street until
whoever needs to listen does, from nurses to security guards.
So it means we can drive this country to the point of being ungovernable
if we also take to the street. If we can rise up like our mothers did,
we would be facing challenges and win this battle that is raging against
us. We would be doing justice to our daughters by ensuring that in
future they will be in a much safer South Africa, because their mothers
fought against this evil seeking to annihilate women’s hard won
Men want us to regress and become dependent on them for our safety. They
expect us to ask for their approval for our dress code. I listen to a
lot of isiZulu community talkshow radio stations. And most men decry the
sight of a sexy woman as corrupting their innocence. “Women should tone
down on their dress gear, we cannot control our feelings”.
Simply translated, the violence and sexual abuse committed against
women, is their fault. From an infant wearing a napkin to a 100-year-old
woman wearing long skirts.
Men violate us emotionally and pyschologically. They also violate us
physically whether sexually or passing sexual comments which make me
feel uncomfortable. Of course there are some men I like very much when
they declare in public spaces how sexy I am and hug me and run their
loving hands behind my back.
Those privileged to do that, are most cherished men-friends which I have
respectful friendships with and who have my best interest in their
hearts. Men who would not harm me at all and who allow me to be their
equal and let me be sexy without feeling guilty. So sisters this is a
clarion call for unity against men who have invaded our private space
for so long. Let’s get up and fight this battle!
Bantu Besifazane Hlanganani
Zulu Translation by Faith kaManzi
Ukukhuluma ngokuhlukunyezwa kwabesifazane akungabi-nje into eyenzeka kanye ngonyaka ngenyanga kaAgasti Akube yinto yansuku zonke ngobe sekuyinsakavuleka kuhle kwesidwaba. Abantu besilisa banezindlela eziningi ababhekana nazo lapho bephelelwa ukuzethemba njengokuhlukumeza isilili ezibuthakathaka – abantu besifazane. Kusukela komama bethu ababagona ababancelisa kuye kuthina izintombi zabo, omama bezingane, ozakwabo emsebenzini kanye nodadewabo..
Abantu besifazane baseNingizumu Afrika baganye ababalelwa esibalweni esiphezulu salabo abahlukunyezwayo emhlabeni jikelele.
Lezigilamkhuba ezigcwele emiphakathini ethu zilwa nenkululeko yethu lapho sihamba khona, ukukhuluma ngokukhululeka kanye nokuzizwa singaphephile. Nabomthetho nabo ababasizi abesifazane. Abantu besifazane abahlukumezekile isikhathi esiningi babhekana namaphoyisa esilisa abangenalo uzwelo futhi abakhuluma nabo ngesankahlu. Ngeshwa namaphoyisa esilisa nawo lapho ezweni lakithi abalwa phakathi kwawo lamadoda anesihluku kubantu besifazane. Ezinyangeni ezimbalwa ezedlule ngahlaselwa abesilisa ababili emva kokuba ngibe nesibindi ngabaphendula lapho besithuka singabantu besifazane lapho sasihlezi khona sizipholele.Lokhu kwangiqinisekise ukuthi thina Bantu besifazane akufanele sizikhulumele.
Futhi lokhu ngeke kushintshe ngaphandle kokuthi kuqhamuke isizukulwane esisha sabesifazane esizovuka umbhejazane sithi “Abesifazane baseNingizimu Afrika (nomhlaba wonke) abahlangane futhi balwe nalesisihlava kanye nokungabikhona kobulungiswa.”
Omama bethu noGogo Fatima Meer, Florence Mkhize kanye nabanye abaning besifazane balwela ukuthi sivote futhi sibenamalungelo alinganayo, futhi umzabalazo wabo bawubona ukhiqiza izithelo.
Ngabe isizukulwane sethu asisiboni isidingo esanele sokunyakazisa iPhalamende? Ngabe sesihlukumezeka kakhulu sesize sakwamukela njengempilo yansuku zonke?
Vele ziningi izizathu abesilisa abizishoyo ukwenza izimpilo zethu zibe lusizi. “Abesifazane bayasiyenga, bagqoka izikhethi ezimfishane –( into eyaqala kudala ngeminyaka yama60’s emazweni aseNtshonalanga)”. Manje sekuphele iminyaka engamashumi amane kwaqalwa ukugqoka izikhethi ezimfishane kodwa eNingizimu Afrika yeNtando yeNingi abesifazane bakhona bahlukunyezelwa lokho. Kuchaza ukuthi singabantu besifazane akufanele sizihlobise ngendlela esiyithandayo. Kufanele sihlale selisusiwe kuhle kwezinkomo.
Bazofunda nini abesilisa ukuthi isikhathi esiningi uma sigqoka singabantu besifazane sisuke sigqokela ukuzijabulisa thina kuqala ngoba futhi lokho kuyasinamisa nokuthi umhlaba wonke umenyiwe ukuthi ungasibuka futhi kumele basihloniphe ngalokho. Noma iyiphi indlela abantu besilisa abasiphoxa ngayo ngeke siyeke ukuqhenya nokugabisa ngobuhle bethu.
Ngelinye ilanga ekuqaleni kokuhlwa, kwangicasula-nje ukuthi angikwazi ukunqamulela ePaki ukuze ngisheshe ngifike. Kuyacasula ukuthi angizizwa ngiphephile edolobheni lakithi, elokishini engihlala kulo nasesikhungweni semfundo ephakeme engisebenzela kuso kanye nawkezinye izindawo.
Ngivele ngibona sengathi ngivalelwe ejele endaweni lapho ekufanele ngabe ngizizwa ngivikelelekile khona. INingizimu Afrika izwe lakithi kulapho kufanele ngizizwe ngiphephile. Kuyasabisa ukuthi esikhundleni sokuba ngizizwe ngiphephile, ngivele ngizibone ngisesihogweni!
Abantu besilisa sebenze izwe lethu layisihogo umangabe emunye wesifazane kwababayishagalolunye uyadlwengulwa eNingizimu Afrika. Futhi ngingafunga ngigomele ukuthi izigebengu eziningi ezidonsa izigwebo emajele yingenxa yamacala okugcweleza abantu besifazane
Thina-ke sizukulwane samanje, umuphi umyalezo esiwuthumela kumadodakazi ethu? Ankusho ukuthi ngiwubukela phansi umsebenzi omkhulu owenziwa ngabantu besifazane ukulwa nalesisihlava. Kodwa angisho ukuthi asishise obra bethu emphakathi ngoba lamadoda ayosiqoba ngezagila. Kodwa sisho ukuthi ayikho indlela lapho kungaba khona ukuvuka kombhejazane kwabesifazane ukulwa nalesisifo esibhebhetheka ngokungalawuleki.
Ngokusihlukumeza abantu besilisa bakhombisa ukuthi abawahloniphi amalungelo ethu nokuthi njalo ukuzimele kwethu kufanele kuhlale kuncike kubona. Bafuna sicele imvume yokuthi sigqokeni Emisakazweni yemiphakathi njengeZwi loMzansi abantu besilisa bahlale bekhala ngokuthi, “Abakwazi ukulawula imizwa yabo uma sigqoka esikuthandayo.” Lokhu kusho ukuthini ngoba ayikho lembudane yokuthi umuntu wesifazane udlwengulwa ngoba egqoke into emfishane. Pho ingane esagqoka amanabukeni nesalukazi esigqoka amaphinifa ahusha phansi badlengulelwani bona?
Bantu besifazane ake sivuke emaqandeni sivikele amalungelo ethu ngokubhekana nalenkinga
|| cast your net a little wider...