Friday, December 05, 2008

Why women might never rule the world

I used to get angry when I heard the saying “This is a man’s world” and when guys at tertiary would tell us that women would never be leaders because we’re too emotional and think with our hearts instead of our heads, ‘til just this past Saturday, I refused to listen to this notion.

I set in a room packed with women of all classes and prominence and yet sitting in that room I felt ashamed and wanted to hide. For two days we set there pointing fingers, blaming everyone, talking at each other instead of with each other. We trampled on each other’s hearts, criticised and not once did we affirm each other as feminists should.

For centuries women have had problems working together, everyone wants the fame but not the struggle that comes with it. We want to shine by bringing others down. We suffer from a serious case of PHD (Pull Her Down) syndrome and yet we don’t see it. We see this with the many forms of feminisms that exist or have existed, it shows that when women disagree they see this as a reason to go off and form their own little groups; today we have womanists, revolutionarists and so forth and yet all we all want is the emancipation of all women.

Another good example is when the ANC Women’s League decided to collude against each other and vote for a man as President, a man we all know as the epitome of patriarchy and male chauvinism and yet our own mothers who claim to be fighting for women and women’s rights sold us all out and voted us straight 20 years back.

During the Zuma trial when he was accused of rape, there was evidence that “he slept” (he was acquitted of rape) with an HIV positive woman without using protection and took a shower so he wouldn’t get infected. When this happened, I thought the women of South Africa would wake up and see him for what he really is but to my shock and dismay there were women with “Zuma” T-shirts hurling slurs at the women who were on the other side with placards that read “Against her will, against the law”, it was our mothers that were burning the picture of the victim and spitting on it instead of standing together in solidarity.

How are we ever going to rule the world when we can’t even support each other through such painful times? Most African leaders have let women down for centuries and yet they continue to rule because of our votes. In countries where war is rife, women and children are the ones suffering the most…I watch the news everyday and my eyes water from the pain I feel for those women and I ask myself a question “how soon ‘til we’re next”, we sit here with all the opportunities to come together to make sure that our children and their children never face such famines, such pain, such hurt and scars that will be with them forever but yet we still fight over petty things like ownership and wanting things done our way.

When I set through that meeting, my heart was bleeding, not from the things said and not from the criticism but from the lack of thinking, the lack of timing and seeing such intelligent women reduce themselves to petty queens and a bunch that can’t stand change, especially when change happens without them and not on their terms.

The struggle within this sector is still a long way from revival and change will happen, younger activists and feminists will continue the struggle in their own terms, it’s inevitable and unstoppable and we should learn to let go and give credit where credit is due.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

The lost Continent

Ten days ago, sitting in my flat, I would have never thought that the country I was once proud of would spin out of control in the way that it has.

The hatred and barbaric behaviour that South Africans have shown, is quite clear to me that we’ve lost respect for each other and the personhood. Why do I say the ‘personhood’? It’s because if we saw each other as human beings first, all these crimes against humanity would not exist.

These scenes that I’ve witnessed in the past few days are not new to this continent of ours. We’ve seen them in Rwanda, Burundi, Kenya, Uganda, Darfur, Zimbabwe and other African countries where Human Rights violations are the norm. Only when these acts are closer to home do we speak out and respond to crisis but when it’s happening to others, it’s okay because it’s not us that suffer. Are we ever going to learn to stop responding to crisis and work at eliminating all forms discrimination that might lead us to such. Prevention is better than cure.

These act of evident hatred did not start 10 days ago but they have been happening for years, it is only now that the visuals are so disturbing that everyone is feeling repulsed, shocked, ashamed and condemning these acts. For example, Sizakele Sigasa, Salome Masooa, Zoliswa Nkonyana and recently Eudy Simelane, these are women that have been brutally raped, tortured and murdered in the past two years in this country and all because they were different and the rest of the country disagreed with their lifestyle. No one said a single word to these injustices because in the eyes of Africans…they deserved it.

Today another form of hatred has shown its ugly head, xenophobia, and people have died including some South Africans and all because they look different. When are Africans going to learn that killing is not the answer and no one deserves to be treated like an animal regardless of their sexual orientation, race, colour of their skin, country of origin and all other factors that are different in every human?

For as long as we don’t learn that Human Rights are indivisible, we will have such acts of barbarism occurring everywhere and all the time. Tomorrow we will be killing other because they’re ‘short’ and we don’t like it and we will find a justification for it.

As women’s rights, lgbti rights, children’s rights defenders we should start acknowledging that all these rights we are fighting for, are Human Rights and we need to come together and fight these injustices for a better continent free of hate and discrimination in all its forms.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Cry my beloved Country

What has happened to this once beautiful country and its people? I’m asking this with my head hung in shame; it is painful and heartbreaking to see our people being reduced to animals like this.

I was once a proud South African but now I’m even ashamed to be called one or be associated with this country. As a person that travels a lot to other African countries, I’ve never as a foreigner in their countries been treated the way we have been treating them.

My heart bleeds to all my brothers and sisters and especially because as a lesbian woman, I can relate to the discrimination they’re facing. Discrimination in all its forms is rife in Africa. It’s time our people realised that Human Rights are universal and indivisible and all human kind is entitled to them regardless.

I’m going to be blunt and realistic about us as South African people, you might not like what I’m going to say but it is a fact that we are all aware of.

South African men in particular, have lost their minds (I’m not talking about the minority that still have their senses because I know a lot of good guys, it’s sad they have to be packed with these idiots). These are the same people that expect ‘foreigners’ to come to South Africa in 2010 and bring their money. We are busy killing our own black brothers and sisters, I don’t see any Chinese, Italians being attacked instead I see my own reflection on TV being burnt and killed.

These idiots even have the guts to appear on television and justify their inhumane behaviours. Our damn so called President is silent (I’m sure he sees no crisis), all other politicians are silent too, they have nothing to say or they just don’t want to take any responsibility. A state of emergency needs to be declared and the army must intervene or a lot of people are going to die for nothing. I am so angry that I have about a million emotions going on in me.

My beloved country is going down and its people are not even aware, soon we will be like the likes of Zimbabwe, Darfur, Rwanda because this is headed towards a civil war. Our brothers have lost their minds and we can’t do anything about it.

They claim foreigners are taking their jobs and houses but I know very well that they don’t have jobs because of their laziness and not wanting to work for anything in their lives. They want handouts and that’s how it has been for years.

I walk in the townships and see brothers sitting in corners, smoking and drinking with no care in the world. They have the opportunity to go to schools but no, school is too formal for them. Schools have rules…they don’t want to be told what to do so they sit in corners and feel sorry for themselves and blame all their problems on everyone else except themselves.

First it was “blame everything on apartheid”, now it’s “blame everything on foreigners”…what will it be tomorrow?

In the news one of the residents of Alexandra mentioned that “foreigners take our jobs, they steal and they rape our women”. Now something is wrong with this statement, I don’t know what you think but something is really wrong here…let’s go back to what we’ve read in the news lately:

It is our South African fathers and brothers that are raping women, murdering women, beating women up and stealing…yes, a couple of times I’ve seen a foreign name appear in the news for crimes but it’s always been our own South African men and no one else. My fellow sister, Eudy Simelane a Banyana Banyana player was not gang raped and murdered by 7 FOREIGNERS; it was 7 brothers from ekasi (township), brothers she knew. Sizakele and Salome were not shot execution style and raped by FOREIGNERS …it was by brothers they knew. Gugu Dlamini was not stoned by foreigners but by her own community. Zoliswa Nkonyana from Khayelitsha was not stabbed, clubbed and killed by FOREIGNERS; it was 20 boys from her neighbourhood…SO WHAT THE HELL IS THIS GUY GOING ON ABOUT?!!!

I’m angry and amazed by how far South Africans will go to abdicate responsibility for their own lives and laziness.

We are heading towards self destruction and we don’t even see it.
MAY GOD BE WITH ALL OF US, we need holy intervention because we’re not going to get it from our politicians.

Friday, April 18, 2008

The existence within me

Ever wondered what this thing called love is? Many times I’ve set and wondered and ended up more confused than I was when I began thinking about it.

I look at all the people I’ve been with in the past and that I’ve loved or atleast I thought. I’ve toyed with the feeling for years searching for goosebumps, my heart to skip a beat, my knees to go weak or to think about nothing else but the person but then with every person the feeling is different.

Sometimes I even wonder if I’ve ever been in love or know what love is at all. I mean according to chick flicks and romance novels; love never goes away or fades away, but hell! Mine has faded more times than I can count (I’m sure everyone is nodding in agreement with me on this point). Think about it, as much as I’ve loved all the people I’ve been with, I’d never go back to them – the goosebumps have been replaced by a smooth skin, my knees are as strong as the pillars of a church. So was it love? Did I invent it in my little head or big heart, I don’t know.

But let’s admit it; the thought that some feeling or force can whisk you off your feet and render you stupid is very appealing. I find always being in control very boring and stale. Ever dated a stiff? Someone you wondered whether they have feeling at all, a plain zombie when it comes to emotions. I haven’t and thank god.

See I identify as something between butch and femme, some people refer to it as androgynous and some would say ‘soft butch’, whatever you call it, I’m IT; I’m emotional, sensitive, a total woman and I cry over a romantic moment in a chick flick or a sad scene in a drama, so yeah, I’m all woman and love it.

I’m what you’d call a total believer in love, sucker for love and all it stands for. Loving someone and being loved is a wonderful feeling; it’s like floating on a cloud.

Now back to its existence. I’ve watched my parents for years, watched how they communicate, do things and even though they don’t walk around looking like love-struck teenagers, they epitomise love as I believe it to be. As much as my father acts all serious and unmoved, I know he’d die for my mother as would my mother for him. 30 years of being together, living together and raising three beautiful children with more love than we can ever get from anywhere else and still they’ve kept it tight, but please don’t get me wrong, not without obstacles, heartaches and pain.

What is it about us youngsters or lesbian women that is lacking to the point that we can’t even last ‘til the end of the movie. A 5 year relationship with us is like a lifetime achievement, we run out of fuel or the will to make things work and we just let it go. I think most women still believe in ‘Mrs Right’ or ‘Mr Right’ if you swing that way and we forget to focus our energies on what we have now, we are always looking for the next best thing. We don’t like reality much either; when a relationship is still in its baby steps, where your partner still opens doors for you or rubs your feet when you get back from work, we’re at our peak but once things start to slow down, we whine and complain and focus on all the wrong things they do instead of accepting that the honeymoon is over and it’s time for some real work – communicating your needs and putting more effort in loving than documenting the wrongs.

Well, in my many years of loving, I’ve learnt that nothing is certain but that love truly exists whether for a moment or a lifetime. How did I come to this conclusion you wonder; did I get goosebumps? Did my heart skip a beat? Did my knees go weak? Yes, yes, yes but the feeling doesn’t last forever, soon reality kicks in and it’s time to work and keep the flame burning. Once in a while I look into my baby’s eyes and a brush of weakness in my knees pops up and time stands still as my heart skips a couple of beats and right there and then I’m reminded that loves lives in this heart of mine, I hold my baby tight, close my eyes and thank the lord for this existence.
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