||Violence against women permeates society and households, and the levels of abuse are dangerously high
Nwabisa Ngcukana's appalling assault at the Noord Street taxi rank in
Johannesburg has been described as an "exposure" of the realities of
gender-based violence. I would argue that "exposure" is a weak means of
describing an ongoing phenomenon of violence and prejudice against women.
Why does something assume high-stakes importance only when it is
graphically illustrated through the media?
The Noord Street taxi rank incident has sobering parallels with the
University of the Free State race uproar, which has resulted in the
country being engaged in a high-level social and political furore. The
terrible sight of five elderly black women forced to play touch rugby,
drink beer and eat urine-soaked stew on their knees triggered an
avalanche of condemnation from all sections of society.
But the humiliation and shaming of elderly black women is nothing new.
After all, privileged South Africans who employ domestic workers know
this very well.
As degrading and shocking as the incident was, the sad reality is that
we know incidents such as this one are simply part of the fabric of
South African life.
Ngcukana's assault has received widespread media coverage as well as
high-level political attention.
A special briefing was held by the Gauteng provincial portfolio
committee on community safety.
It was featured as an item on the agenda of the meeting of the Gauteng
legislature. The Department of Transport, the Hawkers' Association, Men
for Change, the taxi drivers' union and South African Transport and
Allied Workers' Union engaged in a series of talks on the issue of
respect and safety for women commuters at taxi ranks.
Certainly 25-year-old Ngcukana's assault was horrific. She was publicly
humiliated and physically attacked by taxi drivers and informal traders.
The perpetrators went as far as ripping off her clothing and dousing her
with alcohol. She was a victim of the twin evils of violence and sexism.
Unfortunately violence and sexism represent a way of life in South
Africa. Daily, thousands of South African women are humiliated, shamed,
assaulted, raped and murdered.
Moreover, we suffer perpetual unwanted attention from men in every
sphere of life, from the workplace to the household.
Homophobia is rife in South Africa and lesbians reveal their sexual
orientation at their peril. It will soon be a year since lesbian couple
Sizakele Sigasa and Salome Masooa were found raped and murdered in
We remember the horrific death in 2006 of Cape Flats teenager Zoliswa
Nkonyana, raped and clubbed to death while walking home.
More recently Simangele Nhlapo, a member of a support group for women
living with Aids, was raped and murdered; her 2-year-old daughter was
raped and left with her legs broken. In another incident, 16-year-old
Madoe Mafubedu was raped and stabbed to death.
Let's not forget that millions of women across the world suffer as
pervasively as we do. The advance of fundamentalist Islam has dealt
women's rights a tremendous blow.
Take Iraq, for example. Historically seen as a fairly permissive and
modern society by Middle Eastern standards, sectarian warfare has now
become the norm and Iraqi women feel the brunt of this in the form of
harassment, kidnapping and death threats.
Likewise, in Somalia, where women who are seen as inappropriately
dressed (exposing parts of their skin or faces) are physically attacked
and beaten in the streets.
Afghan women are similarly beaten in the streets.
In certain parts of Indonesia authorities have the right to arrest women
on charges of "prostitution" for wearing makeup or failing to wear
headscarves. Women found in public with "unrelated" men may be publicly
Honour killings are common in Pakistan, where women are murdered as a
means of restoring their family honour.
Young girls, often minors, are forced into what are known as
"compensation marriages" in different parts of the Middle East and
sub-Saharan Africa, to repay debts or offset disputes between men of
Women are caught up as victims of war in conflicts, such as those in
Sierra Leone, the Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo and
Afghanistan. They are raped and enslaved. Trafficking is rife in the
Ukraine, Moldova, Nigeria, the Dominican Republic, Burma, and Thailand.
Women are bought and sold like pieces of meat and forced into prostitution.
This violence permeates grotesquely at the level of the household.
Rates of domestic violence in countries such as Pakistan, Peru, Russia
and, of course, South Africa, are dangerously high.
Women are locked into battle on so many different fronts. Yet the
horrific violence, cruelties and injustices they face on a daily basis
rarely make headlines in the media. The press habitually under-reports,
ignores and underplays gender violence in all its manifestations.
So when one young woman wearing a miniskirt is stripped and assaulted,
it briefly stirs the collective furies of the nation. It is almost
certain that the crowds will bay, the politicians will hector and
inevitably, the hue and cry will die down before life resumes its normal
state of violence and chaos.
We need to remember that this violence is being reproduced on a daily
basis in every sphere of human relations across the globe, that we must
be mindful of it and we must acknowledge and denounce it whenever we can.
# Annsilla Nyar is a researcher at the UKZN-based Centre for Civil Society.
Ukuhlukunyezwa kwabesifazane kungenele kakhulu emphakathini kanye nasemakhaya, futhi amazinga esihluku aphezulu ngokwethusayo Impilo yabesifazane impi engapheli
Ihunyushwe nguFaith ka-Manzi
UAnnsila Nyar no Faith ka-Manzi bangababhali nabacwaningi baseCentre for Civil Society eUKZN.
Isihluku sokuhlaselwa kukaNwabisa Ngcukana erenk yamatekisi aseNoord eGoli kuchazwa njengokudalula “iqiniso ngesihluku esibhekene nalesilili”. Nganingasho kodwa ngithi “ukudalula” igama elibuthakathaka uma umuntu echaza ngalensakavulela yesihluku nokucwasa abesifazane.
Yini indaba into ibaluleke ngoba isichazwe ngonondaba?
Isehlakalo saseNoord sicishe sifane nesehlakalo sobandlululo sasesikhungweni semfundo ephakame eFree State, esenze ukuthi izwelonke liphikisane. Ichilo lokubona abesifazane abadala abamnyama abayisihlanu bephoqwa ukuthi badlale ubhola lombhoxo, baphuze ubhiya futhi badle isobho eliciliswe echameni beguqe ngamadolo kwadala isiwohlololo sokugxekwa yizozonke izinkalo zomphakathi.
Kodwa ukujivazwa nokuphoxwa kwabesifazane abadala abamnyama akuyona into entsha. Phela bonke abantu abanothile kulelizwe baqasha lababantu besifazane futhi bakwazi kahle kamhlophe lokhu.
Noma kuhlaza kakhulu lokhu okwenzeka, iqiniso elidabukisayo ukuthi izimo ezifana nalezi ziyingxenye yempilo yaseNingizimu Afrika.
Ukuhlaselwa kukaNgcukana kwamukelwa ngesasasa ngabezindaba futhi ngisho nangabezombusazwe
Ikomiti lezokuphepha komphakathi eGauteng lahlangana ngokushesha ukuzokhuluma ngokuphepha komphakathi.
Kwaba udaba olibalulekile lapho kuhlangana isishayamthetho saseGauteng. Abazokuthutha, abadayisi basemgwaqeni, abesilisa abalwela ushintsho, inhlangano yabashayel bamatekisi kanye nenyunyani yabazokuthutha bahlangana ezinkulumweni ezimbalwa ukuzoxoxa ngokuhlonishwa kanye nokuphepha kwabesifazane abangabagibele bamatekisi ezikhungweni zamatekisi.
Noma kanjani ukuhlaselwa kukaNgcukana oneminyaka engamashumi amabili nanhlanu kwakuxhaphazelisa izibilini. Wajivazwa emphakathini futhi wahlaselwa ngabashayeli bamatekisi kanye nabadayisi basegwaqeni. Abahlaseli bakhe abagcinanga lapho, baqhubekela phambili baklebhula izingubo zakhe futhi base bemthela ngotshwala. Waba ngumhlatshelo wamawele esihluku kanye nokucwaswa ngobulili.
Ngeshwa isihluku kanye nokucwaswa ngobulili iyona mpilo yaseNingizimu Afrika. Nsukuzonke, izinkulungwane zabesifazane ziyajivazwa, ziphoxwe, sishaywe, zidlengulwe futhi zibulawe.
Ngaphandle kwalokho, njalo-nje sihlale sinakwe ngabesilisa kuzozonke izingxenye zempilo, kusukela emsebenzini kuya emakhaya.
Ukubandlulula ngobungcingili kuningi eNingizimu Afrika futhi abesifazane abathandana nabanye abazishoyo ephakathini bakwenza lokho bedayisa ngezimpilo zabo. Sokuzophela unyaka lapho abesifazane abanjalo ababethandana uSizakele Sigasa kanye no Salome Masooa batholakala bedlenguliwe futhi bebulewe eMeadowlands, eSoweto.
Siyakhumbula futhi ukufa ngesihluku kukaZoliswa Nkonyana eCape Flats ngo2006, owadlengulwa wayesebulawa ngokushaywa ngesagili ngenkathi esendleleni eya eya ekhaya.
Maduzane-nje. uSimangele Nhalpho, oyilunga labesifazana abaxhasanayo besifazane abaphila nengculaza, wadlengulwa wayeseyabulawa: indodakazi yakhe enminyaka emibili yadlengulwa yase iphulwa imilenze. Kwesinye isehlakalo, uMadoe oneminyaka eyishumu nesithupha bamdlengula base beyamgwaza wafa.
Singazikhohlwa izigidi zabesifazane umhlaba wonke nazo ezihlukumezekayo njengathi. Ukukhula kwenkolo yabasulumane kwenzele phansi inqubekela phambili enkulu emalungelweni abesifazane.
Njengase Iraq, njengesiboniso. Ngokomlando lelizwe belibonakala njengelizwe elinozwelo kwabesifazane, kodwa lempi engapheli yanze abesifazane balutheza olunenkune ngokuhlukunyezwa, ngokuthunjwa kanye nangokusatshiswa ngokubulawa.
NaseSomalia, lapho abesifazane, bebonakala sengathi abagqokile kakhe(ngokuveza izikhumba zabo kanye nobuso) bayahlaselwa futhi bashaywe emigaqweni.
Abesifazane baseAfghan nabo bahlalwe beshaywa emigaqweni.
Kwezinye izingxenye zaseIndonesia abezomthetho banelungelo lokubopha besifazane ngamacala “okudayisa ngemizimba” uma bepende ubuso noma uma bengagqokile izikhafu. Abesifazane abatholakala emgaqweni nabesilisa “abangahlobene nabo” bashaywa phambi komphakathi.
Ukubulala kwenhlonipho kuniningi ePakistan, lapho abesifazane bebulawelwa ukubuyisa isithunzi somndeni.
Amantombazane amancane, ayaphoqwa ukuba ashadele “ukukhokha izikweletu” kwezinye izindawo kwezinye izingxenye zaseMiddle East kanye nezinye izindawo eziseAfrika, ukukhokha izikweletu noma ukuqeda izingxabano phakathi kwamadoda emindeni ehluekene.
Abesifazane baba imihlatshelo lapho kunezimpi, njengaseSierra Leone, eSudan, e Democratic Republic of Congo kanye naseAfghanistan. Bayadlengulwa bese benziwa izigqila, Ukudayiswa kwabesifazane kubhidlangile kulamazwe eUkraine, eMoldova, eNigeria, eDominican Republic, eBurma, kanye naseThailand.
Abesifazane bayathengwa besebedayiswa kuhle kwenyama futhi bese bephoqwa ukuthi badayise ngemizimba.
Lesisihluku kodwa siyabonakala kakhulu futhi emakhaya.
Amazinga okuhlaselwa kwabesifazane emakhaya emazweni afana nePakistan, nePeru, neRussia, yebo, neNingizimu Afrika, makhulu ngalendlela esabekayo.
Abesifazane babhekene nempi yonk’indawo. Kodwa zonke lezizihluku, unya, ukungabikhona kobulungiswa ababhekene nakho nsukuzonke akuvamile nje ukukhishwa abezindaba. Abezindaba ngumkhuba wabo ukubika kancane, nomabazibe noma bakwenze kungabaluleki ukuhlukunyezwa kwalesisilili kanye nempiphumela yakho.
Ngakho-ke umangabe owesifazane osemncane ezigqokele isigqebhezane ekhunyulwa futhi ehlaselwe, lokho kunyakazisa kancane-nje isizwe. Akunakuphikiswa ukuthi isizwe siyadinwa, abezombusazwe nabo bathinteke kodwa ekugcineni, kuhlele kukhohlwe bese impilo yesihluku nodlame iqhubeke.
Sidinga ukukhumbula ukuthi lesisihluku sikhiqizwa nsukuzonke kuzozonke izigxnenye zempilo yomphakathi emhlabeni jikelele, ngakho-ke kufanele sihlale sikwazi lokho futhi sikufenyise.