South Africa commemorates Women’s Month in August as a tribute to the thousands of women who marched to the Union Buildings on 9 August 1956 in protest against the extension of Pass Laws to women. At least 20 000 women were counted in, as part of this historical march. It’s been over 61 years since women stood up with one voice, to oppose the the extension of pass laws against women and to demonstrate the power of unity against their oppressor. The question is one, how are women treated and esteemed in our society today?.
Truly speaking until this day many women are still struggling and living under humiliating conditions even in this era of a democratic government. As a nation we commemorate women’s month without a clear understanding of the message behind it. I strongly believe that women were not only demonstrating their disapproval against extension of pass laws. However they were also demonstrating their strength and capabilities for achieving anything they put their mind too without any fear. However until this day as a nation we fail them, by not punish necessary resources towards them.
We have to initiate initiatives that empowers them and make them competitive in all angles and levels. “Because empowering a men is empowering a household, but empowering a women is empowering a community. Those who grew up in a loving, caring and sharing families they know what it means to share a loaf of bread with the community.” Granny could cut everything into half to share with our neighbors, and neighbors didn’t laugh each other for asking things that were almost free like salt. Women are a true symbol of Ubuntu, for nation building.
“A women is not just a women but a significant symbol of motherhood. A women carries a child for 9 months, gives birth and focuses on the upbringing of a child without any means. When we fail to appreciate women it simply means we fail to appreciate motherhood, and failing to appreciate motherhood is as good as failing to appreciate life its self, failing to appreciate life itself, then we are a doomed nation without any morals and values to uphold.”
As a nation we should unite against women abuse and other daily struggles they encounter, to make every efforts to easy their burden. Then we shall be a blessed nation, a nation that takes good care of the womanhood. We should refuse to be bystanders. But we should bring forth the change we wish to see. “That’s the reason we call our country a motherland because without a mother these no country.” Our laws should strongly protect the women, our government should empower them and enforce justice, dignity and equality for all as the bill of rights demands.
Because justice, dignity and equality are just mere words to many women rather than a daily reality. I have personally experienced last year April that women are abused physical and some emotionally, in some cases even by the very same people who should protect them. I was arrested last year April and was charged with 5 counter charges. Just because I refused to be intimated by some people who demanded respect just because they have senior police friends. So their friends stepped in and created a case against me. Despite all my efforts in being a good role model. And empowering my community more especially the youth. Police armed with big firearms in nine vehicles stormed my home to arrest me. The same police officers fail to arrest drug dealers that are destroying our communities.
The nightmare became worse when my grandparents were arrested few days after my arrest. I couldn’t believe it but it was a reality not a dream. I am talking about elderly women, who are pensioners. They were charged with the same charges. I guess the objective was to hurt me, but they didn’t realize that they are abusing women, not just women senior citizens. Tell me what could justify an investigation officer to fetch a pensioner with 8-9 police vehicles, a day after my arrest. What harm could a pensioner do to police to need such backup?. When I complained to seniors of the investigation officer, I was just told that I will go for civil claim if police are at fault. My question is; Can civil claim restore dignity, more especially of my grandparents?.
After a 14 months trial, this year on the 3rd of August we were found innocent of all charges. And all charged were dropped. We were all justified in women’s month. In my culture it’s a “taboo” for an elderly person who was never arrested in life, to be arrest in her old age. So on the 9th of August a sacred ceremony had to be held at Holy Faith Family Church to cleanse and restore the elders dignity. This bad experience made me realize that women are still disregarded in our nation. If senior police officers did this to innocent elderly women, just to please their friends. Then what do we expect from young man, what kind of example are we showing them?.
My grandmother never got an opportunity to go to school. But she made sure that her children, grandchildren and disadvantage children within our community never miss this golden opportunity despite all odds. So instead of her to be celebrated she was actually disgraced just because she is related to me. I am not considering to be involved in inspiring change, but I’m already involved. Our nation deserves leaders who have “sucked their mothers breast very well”. Leaders who know the sacrifices and pains women endure to build families and communities. Leaders who will uphold morals and values taught by our forefathers. Leaders who will create and enforce laws that will protect all women despite their race and background. Leaders who will respect and honor women, not just because they are women but because they are an inspiration a perfect symbol of strength and hope. “Indeed you strike a women, you strike a rock.”