Georgina Guedes

ANC Women’s League marches in support of the patriarchy

2015-10-27 10:46

Georgina Guedes

Trigger Warning: Rape and unquestionable support of the patriarchy

I would like to put forward that the ANC Women’s League should be renamed as the ANC Women in Support of the Patriarchy League. It would be hilarious that the acronym would be the ANC WISP League, and it would also be a truer reflection of their activities.

This body, which has the intention of organising women “for the reconstruction and development of South Africa, promoting a democratic, non-racial, non-sexist society”, has somehow chosen, as their most lauded champion, the president of our nation himself.

Marching to uphold (ahem) the dignity of the presidential penis

The fervour of their support for our president runs so deep that this Friday, the ANC WISP League will be marching to the Union Buildings to defend his honour, apparently “especially in light of a recent painting by Ayanda Mabulu, which shows a naked Zuma receiving oral sex,” according to a statement.

The statement goes on to say: “We condemn the denigration of the image of President Zuma by so-called artists. For example, recently the portrayal of the president's genitals in the mouth of a woman. The country was silent and even failed to condemn the imagery of violence against women.

"Women reaffirm the leadership of President Zuma as the champion of the revolution. The leadership of the movement leading the national democratic revolution is represented by the face of its president, therefore, by virtue of this fact he is the human face of our revolution.

"The ANCWL, therefore, regards any attack on the president as an attack on the revolution and the organisation - the ANC."

Public office doesn’t relieve you of accountability

If I’ve ever heard an example of more frantic toadying to the patriarchy, then I can’t remember it. Simply put, they are saying that this male leader cannot be questioned because he is a champion of the revolution and a head of the ANC, and anything he does must therefore be right, and anyone who questions him is attacking the virtue of the revolution and the sanctity of the ANC.

That’s kind of like saying that because Bill Cosby is the human face of the great Cosby Show and has done so much to raise the public’s perception of the black family, that he can’t be held accountable for 35 cases of alleged rape. Because, you know, patriarchy.

When we have more respect for someone’s public office or public perception – and if that person is male – then we are dealing with entrenched patriarchy. To be absolutely clear, ANYONE should be accountable for their actions.

And let’s not forget that it’s Zuma’s actions that inspired the painting by Mabulu (thanks for including his name in your statement, ANC WISP League, it helped me to find the painting to have a look at it) – and if you organise a march to defend his dignity, you’re defending his actions as well.

I  was also amused (by which I mean not at all amused) by their attempts to discredit Mabulu’s profession by calling him a “so-called artist” – as if he can be disbarred by the Institute of Fine Arts Professionals for making a political statement (never mind that that’s exactly what art is supposed to do).

So-called women’s rights

While we’re on the topic, I can think of a few other things that are “so-called”. Let’s start with the ANC WISP League’s support of so-called women’s rights or so-called “promotion of a non-sexist society”, while supporting a president who has been accused of rape, has confessed to adultery and who has four wives, countless girlfriends and at least one child born out of wedlock while he was married to all those other women.

And before anyone starts ranting at me about “culture”, let me point out that equality for woman requires a direct rejection of almost all global cultures. So if you claim “non-sexism” as one of your goals, at some point you’re going to have to accept that a president who treats women as possessions isn’t the best “human face” of your own revolution, and his honour – and that of his penis – is not really worth upholding.

In the words of Mabulu, “Come on, we are people, we are human. There is no culture that says you can’t question the president because the president is a cultural man.”

- Georgina Guedes is a freelance writer. You can follow @georginaguedes on Twitter.

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Read more on:    anc  |  ancwl  |  ayanda mabulu  |  jacob zuma

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