Being a woman in South Africa…

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Woman, the most revered being there ought to be…

Woman, the most vulnerable being the world has borne…

Woman, the most resilient being that has lived….

Woman, the most abused being the world has seen…

 

The South Africa woman has been exposed to an array of challenges, in the workplace, at home and in the public. At times curbing her free spirit from rising and going beyond the horizon.

 

For the South African woman, beyond the horizon, lies a dark place…

A darkness that may rob her of her femininity.

Her femininity that is continually confronted by misogyny.

Misogyny that believes the woman is an object of their amusement….

 

The South African woman struggles to find her own place even where the light shines. A few days ago, walking in the parking lot of an upmarket shopping centre, I saw a vehicle driving towards me. My mind racing with thoughts and ideas of what could possibly be awaiting me in the vehicle should the occupants manage to “get hold” of me.

 

As the window slid down, my eyes quickly started searching for an escape route when the gentleman said “Hello Sisi”. Politely I responded though briskly walking around the car. The gentleman obviously aware of my abrupt response and what has been happening in the country quickly said “Ga ke batho ba le ba ba tsamayang ba bolaya basadi” loosely translated, “I’m not those people who go around/ are going around killing women”. Thought this man could have been genuine, I found myself ripping apart what he was asking me…But he could have genuinely been looking for a Wimpy as he had remarked.

 

As soon as I reached my destination, I thought this is what we have been reduced to…We don’t know who is genuine and who is not, every man on the street is likely a danger, we live in houses with them, they are our neighbours, our “friends”, partners, uncles…

 

We are not to blame for what is happening to us, but what really have we done to deserve this? Is our sin and crime being a woman? What danger do we possess to humanity that we ought to be subjected to this trauma and ill fate?

 

When called for an interview on Saturday, many would say, but who conducts interviews on a Saturday? We cannot tell an opportunity from a fib anymore. We have been crippled, confined to small spaces with very little room to explore beyond the horizon….

 

Driving on the N1 on Saturday evening, I could not help but think…in one of these cars next to me, is likely a body of woman in the boot being kidnapped, battered or lifeless…

 

Meeting with my friend on Sunday I could not help observe how aware we were of our surroundings. We would walk and talk and thinking of escape plans. She later confided in me that she asked her husband to drop her off at the mall for our rendezvous, not because she couldn’t drive herself, but felt safer driving with a man in the car.

 

And that’s where a South African woman finds herself. Trying to be empowered yet disempowered by a man…..and equally needing a man to feel safe.

 

Woman, the most revered being there ought to be…

Woman, the most vulnerable being the world has borne…

Woman, the most resilient being that has lived….

Woman, the most abused being the world has seen…

 

—- Thabiso

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