For example, there are men out there who still believe that women are out to get their money; that they have no place in serious business environments and are better suited to “lighter” pursuits such as public relations and so on. By the same token there are women who believe that the measure of success is showing off a R70 000 engagement extravagance from her “tycoon” fiancé and driving around in a BMW X5 paid for by the said banker, consortium chairman or newly moneyed cat with buddies in the government. I used these and other examples but my explanation was nonetheless lost on my friend who felt I had insulted women and was not sure if I was the man she has always known me to be. Whenever this pops up in conversation I maintain my stance and attempt to elaborate further in the hope of one day being understood. The importance of my resilience in this pursuit cannot be underplayed because there is a war going on out there and it is icier than the White House and the Kremlin in the days of the war that never was. It is the war between black men and black women.
I’m a journalist, my middle name is cynical – but some sort of platform for dialogue between black men and black women is urgently required if we are to unite to uplift a nation that was built on sacrifices by both sexes.
We need to start talking about our differences, and I speak not of the usual directionless, rowdy debates that end up creating more of a rift than effecting change. Both sides of the debate offer valid points but also present plenty of hogwash born from lack of understanding. Such a debate would strip down the clutter and hone in on the appropriate areas.
peace not war.
sister not slave.
“Who doesn’t want to be validated and respected by other human beings? Some men think the answer to that is: ‘WOMEN, OF COURSE’.
By Yazeed Kamaldien
I’m starting to wonder why men hate women so much. You see, the more I read newspapers and monitor what’s happening in our country, the more I feel that men must have something against women. If they don’t then why are they constantly abusing, raping or dehumanising women? Of course it’s not every man who behaves like this. But statistics are scary enough to make one wonder…
The government-funded Medical Research Council (MRC) released research findings earlier this year indicating that at least one South African woman is killed by her intimate partner every six hours. It also found that coloured women have twice the risk of being killed than other racial groups in our land with its brilliant and much hyped about constitution. Now that’s scary. Last year the MRC also found that women in abusive relationships with intimate sexual partners are more likely to get HIV from these men who deny them the right to be happy by instead making them their physical and emotional punch bags. This research study was done in Johannesburg’s biggest township, Soweto. The MRC found that half of 1 395 women interviewed experienced physical violence from their partners while 20 percent also experienced sexual abuse. A third of these women were HIV-positive and reported sexual violence more than others interviewed.
Okay, numbers aside, the bottom-line is that women are getting a double blow from men. Not only are they being abused but they’re also being infected with the incurable HIV-virus. Something seems rather unfair about all of this, don’t you think? It seems we are burying women alive in South Africa. It’s like we have no issues simply shoving them around. Sure, there are some shining examples of women who have made it in a seemingly man’s world. But that’s not the face of the majority of women, who live normal lives outside the bright lights, and who don’t have much.
By now we have to be asking ourselves some serious questions. Why are we allowing young girls and women to be raped in this country every day? Why are we allowing men to continue abusing women? What is it that we need to do to ensure women break free from oppressive men and stand on an equal footing as male counterparts?
And yes, you’ve already heard that old saying that respect is a two way street. Men demand respect and a platform and recognition and support not because they are men, but because they are human beings. And they get what they want because, unlike women, they automatically feel entitled to privileges – a right that society seems to bestow upon them from day one. But who doesn’t want to be validated by other human beings? Who doesn’t want to be respected? Who doesn’t want to feel that they are worthy of life? Some men clearly believe the answer to that is, ‘WOMEN, OF COURSE’.
And clearly it’s time we change the way some men think. So roll up those sleeves. We have work to do.
*These articles by two young South Africans were widely publicised in the local press during the first part of this decade. Revisiting them now (as South Africa prepares for the yearly August Women's Day celebrations) revealed to me just how much they are still factual and relevant not only to South African society but also to other countries in Africa (e.g. Angola!...) and elsewhere in the world.
[Full articles here]
First posted 28/07/10