I heart Jozi: For every good brother, there’s a bad one lurking around on his own mission

2011-06-23 10:10

I have always prided myself on my level of independence. I’m a new-age young woman who is all for gender equity and women’s liberation, and I have always been one to defend my black brothers because, truth be told, they really aren’t all bad.

But the past weekend has taught me that there is nothing like a good mugging to throw one’s identity politics into complete disarray.

At midday on one of our lovelier Sundays, I’m walking down a quiet street, 9th Wonder belting from my earphones, I’m enjoying the “me time” and have started planning the lunch I’m about to cook for a couple of friends.

There’s only one other person on the road – an ordinary guy on his own mission. I’m comfortable. I have nothing but Sunday lunch on my mind and am finally less than a block away from home.

The guy who had been unassumingly walking in front of me for quite a while now turns and says, “dumela ousi (good day sister)”.

I return the greeting but before I can walk past him, he pulls out a gold and silver knife and kindly requests I give him my phone.

Now I’m a pansy at the best of times, especially when a sharp blade is resting against my skin, so I offer no resistance. I hand over my phone and run home trying to hold back tears (I lost the battle).

A few days after the mugging I’m still not comfortable leaving the house without an escort, a male escort, and I find it hard not to look on with great suspicion as men walk past me in the street.

So to the next brother who has the misfortune of sharing a road with me, let me apologise in advance.

I’m sorry but the memory of that experience makes it hard for me not to think it could happen again. It’s hard to look at you and think “ah well, he’s just another guy on his own mission” without thinking that mission might just be me.

But to the brother who tried to give chase and get my phone back and to that brother who willingly walked me to and from work, thank you.

Thank you for making my gender politics a little easier to navigate and making the society I dream of living in that much more real.

» It’s now been a few days since the incident and I’m happy to report that this lil’ neo- (maybe pseudo-) feminist is back to walking to work, all on her own. *takes a bow*

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