If I Am to Have a Daughter: A Women’s Month Tribute

If I am to have a daughter,
I pray she doesn’t inherit the chains of this world.
Wait.
Sorry,
I mean I pray she doesn’t inherit the claims of this world.
I PRAY
She doesn’t have to hide behind men’s clothes
To walk down the road
‘Cause then she’d just be another black man
Walking down the road and she’ll know,
She’ll know she might not make it back –
But I guess that’s better than being a black woman walking down the road isn’t it-safe
Has become a privilege even amongst ourselves.

If I am to have a daughter,
I pray she doesn’t inherit the chains of this world.
I PRAY
She doesn’t inherit the claims of this world
‘Cause that’s all man has ever done.
Claimed all that was not his
And chained for all to see.

Image by: Pryncess’s Mind and Emotions

Should South African Women Stop Celebrating Women’s Day?

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OPINION – In South Africa, the 9th of August and indeed, the month of August in its entirety is a time when women and the institution of womanhood is celebrated, appreciated and most importantly, protected. It is a time when all the issues that South African women face daily are finally addressed.

It is a time when all the prejudices and disadvantages that dehumanise and threaten the lives, health and success of women (simply because they are women) are debunked and dealt with by the government, private companies and other organisations powerful enough to institute change. Am I right?

Wrong!

That could not be further from the truth. Yet, that is what we have been led to believe. Somehow, a single day of a so-called women’s day celebration is supposed to be enough. A celebration which in reality, feels like a disingenuous attempt at placating South African women.

For years now, women have complained that it is truly not enough and naturally, this complaint continues to go unentertained by the organisations whose responsibility it is to take action. As a result, in 2018, many South African women have simply decided to ignore the very existence of the day and rightfully so.

Until such a time when sincere, effective and permanent efforts to tackle the plight of women in this country are finally in place, South African women ought to continue to ignore and even condemn any half-baked pseudo celebration of our place on this country.

Until the extremely high statistics of gender based violence in all its forms, femicide, unequal pay and other acts of discrimination against women in this country are addressed and dramatically reduced;

Until legislation that seeks to make the aforementioned a reality is enacted and acted upon;

Until the contributions of women to our history and development as a nation are given the weight they deserve in the form of statues and renamed landmarks;

Until an honest widespread conversation about gender roles, sexism and patriarchy is effectively engaged on;

Until all these and more, the women of this country should not recognise such unimpressive and isolated events like women’s day because they do very little for our cause.

Image source: Kelley Felix

Here’s A Toast To Remarkable Women

OPINION – We grew up taught to only associate the colour pink with girls and blue with boys. Yet today, your favourite colour might be reliant on your mood, fashion trends or even the weather. We also grew up taught that girls should be seen and not heard. Yet today, even if you’re the loudest person in your circle, your friends still adore you. So I guess how we use the things we were taught to find our own uniqueness is what defines us as people … as women.

Every August, when we celebrate women, our minds first drift towards famous women who achieved something so remarkable that they now have a shiny spot in our nation’s history. However for once, if not for the first time, let’s take a moment to celebrate our own success.

Let’s celebrate the old lady that runs a soup kitchen from her house and the high school teacher who always made you feel like you were worth something more.

Let’s celebrate the church lady who constantly says that she is praying for you and girl who got pregnant at sixteen but didn’t let that stop her from chasing her dreams.

Let’s celebrate our mothers and motherly figures who taught us how we should be treated and that friend who made the decision to get out of a toxic relationship because she realised that she deserves so much more.

Celebrate the cool aunt that let you get away with everything and the random girl who unknowingly made your entire day better because she complimented your hair.

These and many more, are the women that need to be celebrated.

Most importantly, celebrate the reflection in the mirror. Celebrate the fact that she is not the person she was three years ago. Celebrate her amazing ability to feel broken inside and still be able to mend someone else with her smile. Celebrate that one day she is going places even though it might not seem that way right now. Her imperfect life might be someone else’s greatest inspiration.

Applaud her.

Be proud of her.

See, we often compare ourselves to others and end up feeling insignificant and inferior. We measure our success and beauty to that of women with different backgrounds and circumstances when the only real measure of success and growth should be against the woman you were yesterday.

Raise a glass of sparkling pink champagne (or grape juice for those of us with different diets) to yourself and the remarkable women in your life.

Cheers and happy women’s day to all of you, my fellow sisters.

Image source: Valento Gouws Photography

Deaf Ears or Closed Ears: On-Campus Rape Incident (Again)

This one hits close to home. I cannot even remember the number of rape protests I’ve attended at Nelson Mandela University (NMU) with the cry for one thing which is protection of my female body. I’ve been here since 2016, marching since 2016, but when has NMU ever prioritized women’s safety?

All we ever get is a correspondence talking about how the matter is “receiving attention” and that of how awareness in the form of initiatives continue to run to combat the matter. How is it that for 3 years we have been talking regularly, normalising a dark side to university life, walking over issues of rape and continuing with life after the momentum that came with a hashtag and a march has died?

It is obvious that the security at our residences is under-equipped to deal with the repeated accounts of rape experienced by students. The initiatives and campaigns that were launched for such purposes are clearly out of the question. So, what must a student do now? How do we stop the rape cycle in our own safe spaces? A place that is intended primarily for privacy and habitation?

A student has been raped in her own room by another student of the same university, and now as we shut down the University and beg once again for protection, the student will be the one who must bump into their rapist at a test venue or at the gym, while investigations are pending right?

Rape is a real thing, as real as the way a victim is treated afterwards.

Stop brushing this off until the next one happens, stop keeping us silent by giving empty promises simply because of our vulnerability. Something has really got to be done.

Enough has been enough, we are exhausted.

Are our cries not being heard simply because of our communication, or are our cries just being blatantly ignored?

Image by Tembelihle Menziwa